Planning a bridal shower can sometimes be confusing (who to invite, who hosts, what activities can you do), so we’ve put together a list of some of our most frequently asked questions about planning your bridal shower. Planning your bridal shower just got easier.
Bridal Shower Planning FAQs
- Who should host a bridal shower?
- When should the shower be held?
- Who should be invited to the bridal shower?
- How many people should be invited to the bridal shower?
- What should the invitations be like and when should I mail them?
- When should guests RSVP by?
- Should the bridal shower be a surprise?
- What order should events happen at the shower?
- What food should be served at the shower?
- How long should the bridal shower last?
- Does a shower have to have games?
- Are bridal shower favors for guests necessary?
- How does one throw a co-ed shower?
Question: Who should host a bridal shower?
The bridal shower should be hosted by a close friend of the bride or the maid of honor. It is considered improper for a family member of the bride to host the shower since bridal showers are primarily a gift-giving event. However, family members can certainly pitch in and help in the planning. If the maid of honor is the bride’s sister, as is common, it has become acceptable in most areas for her or a family member to host the shower. If it is a family only bridal shower having a family member host the shower would then be acceptable, too.
Traditionally, the maid of honor hosts the bridal shower, so if you want to help in planning, be sure to check with the maid of honor first she may already have one in the works.
Question: When should the shower be held?
Bridal showers are usually given about 1-2 months before the wedding. This can be a very busy time for the bride, so be sure to ask the bride when for a good time for her when setting the date. The shower can be held earlier if the bride is very busy, but it can be more exciting if the shower is held closer to the wedding date because everyone has wedding on their mind. If at all possible, avoid having the shower too close to the wedding day. The bride’s schedule is likely to be extremely busy and it’s usually a very stressful time. If you are holding a surprise bridal shower make sure to consult the bride and groom’s parents to find a time the bride will be free.
Question: Who should be invited to the bridal shower?
A bridal shower is a special time to celebrate with the bride on her upcoming marriage. The wedding party, close friends of the bride, as well as female members of both the bride & groom’s immediate family should be invited. It is best to talk the guest list over with the bride to make sure anyone special to her is there. Remember, anyone invited to the bridal shower normally would be someone that is invited to the wedding, too so as not to have mis-understandings or hurt feelings. Nothing is worse then a guests sitting through a bridal shower knowing she isn’t invited to the wedding. However, everyone invited to the wedding does not have to be invited to the bridal shower, too.
Question: How many people should be invited to the bridal shower?
A bridal shower is a celebration of a special event with friends and family. Typically a bridal shower has about 5-20 guests although there can be more or less. Remember bridal showers are a time when people get to spend time with the bride before her big day, so make sure that the number of people keeps the shower somewhat intimate. Many people even have 2 showers, one for family and one for friends to keep the showers smaller and give the guests time with the bride.
Question: What should the invitations be like and when should I mail them?
Bridal Shower invitations do not have to be as expensive or elaborate as the wedding invitations. They should reflect the personality of the bride and of the shower. A formal bridal shower can have simple and elegant invitations, while a fun filled bridal shower with games and cake could be whimsical and informal. You can usually find inexpensive bridal shower invitations at your local card store or even use a computer print program to create custom invitations for pennies.
Make sure you give guests enough notice of the bridal shower as well. Invitations to out-of-town guests should be mailed out about 3-6 weeks prior to the shower and for local guests atleast 2-4 weeks prior. Nothing is worse then planning a shower and finding out half the guest list is busy on that weekend.
Make sure to include the following information on the invitations, too.
guest of honor’s name
shower date and time
hostess’ name and phone number
address of shower
map of shower location (optional)
RSVP date and phone number
shower theme information (if applicable)
couple’s decorating colors for future home
Question: When should guests RSVP by?
A good guideline for the RSVP deadline should be 2 weeks before the shower, but that is not always done by guests. More than a few bridal shower hostess has found an extra 5-10 guests at their shower who didn’t RSVP until the day before, so be sure to plan for guests that RSVP late or not at all.
Question: Should the bridal shower be a surprise?
Hosting a surprise bridal shower is up to you. Depending on the bride it may not be a good choice (particularly in regards to the guest list, you may need her to give it to you!). The bride may want to be able to choose who is invited and you will need to consult her schedule to find a date, her wedding is right around the corner so her weekends may be booked up. Many brides may even assume they will have a shower and approach you with the idea. If you do decide to host a surprise shower, be sure to contact the bride & groom’s mother to find out what family members to invite. If a surprise bridal shower is something you really want to do you can always surprise the bride with a second shower with only her closest of friends or just the family.
Question: What order should events happen at the shower?
There are many variations on showers, but here is a general “schedule” for bridal showers. You can add/remove any part and re-order it to your liking.
* Greet Guests – serve light appetizers
* After all or almost all guests have arrived, go around the room and have each guest introduce themselves and identify how they know the bride.
* Play 2-4 Bridal Shower Games. It is good to play games at the beginning as ice-breakers. Remember some guests may not know *anyone* but the bride.
* Let everyone go get whatever food may be available and then once everyone has been served, the bride can begin to open her gifts. Be sure to have someone write down each gift and who it is from. It will make sending thank-you notes a lot easier.
* People chat and usually leave a few at a time. Make sure the bride gets to say goodbye to everyone and the hostess thanks the person for attending. If the hostess has shower favors, they should give this to the guest now.
Question: What food should be served at the shower?
Bridal showers do not typically have a meal served,?instead simply finger-foods are offered. Fruit or veggie platters, chips, pretzels, ice cream, pie, cake…just typical snack or dessert foods. There should also be coffee, tea, punch or soft drinks?available for the guests. The type of food also varies with theme, be creative. Many people choose to have formal teas or barbecues as well which is a nice touch and can allow people to stay longer and mingle with the bride.
Question: How long should the bridal shower last?
Depending on what type of shower you are hosting the time may vary. A formal tea party may be over within a few hours, while a casual barbecue could last all afternoon. With a typical bridal shower, figuring in games, snacking and opening presents, two hours is a good estimate. Things may wind down early or they may likely continue on as guests chat together.
Question: Does a shower have to have games?
No, there does not have to be games at a bridal shower, but games are a fun and entertaining addition. It’s also a great way to break the ice with guests who may not know each other. If the bride is older or just not into games, you may choose to have a nice dinner or tea at a restaurant or at your home. The key is to find out what the bride would like and go with that, remember it is her day so if she dreads games it’s best to leave them out.
Question: Are bridal shower favors for guests necessary?
Giving Bridal Shower favors varies from area to area. In some parts of the country, giving favors is unheard of, they came to shower the bride, not get presents. Yet in other parts of the country, it is a must-do, it’s rude not to say “Thank you for joining us” by giving them a bridal shower favor. It’s best to make your decision on what you have seen at other bridal showers you have attended in your area or ask close friends and find out what they think.
If bridal shower favors are not done in your area but you still want to give them out, you can give bridal shower favors out as bridal shower game prizes, each game can have 1 or 2 winners each getting a prize and runner ups getting smaller favors.
If you do have bridal shower favors, some ideas are scented candles, personalized sewing kits, silver “love letter” openers in a gift box or candies in a beautiful favor box. The choices are endless and with a little imagination you can come up with some very memorable gifts your guests will use and keep.
Question: How does one throw a co-ed shower?
A co-ed bridal shower is usually more a get together or party than a shower. For a co-ed bridal shower having a barbecue is popular, but a formal afternoon tea might leave the guys feeling bored. Guys aren’t usually interested in the “normal” bridal shower events, such as opening gifts, and might get bored during this part so having another activity for the guys during this time will make for a better celebration. Setting aside a place for the guys to talking “guy stuff” and maybe smoke a cigar in celebration with a drink would be a good option during the “girl type” events.
Depending on the group of guys invited, games maybe out for them as well. There are plenty of bridal shower games that work well for a co-ed shower though, so if you think the guys might be up for it you might want to give it a try. Asking the bride her ideas on the subject will help, she probably knows if her soon-to-be husband will be accepting to the games or what types of things he would enjoy, too.