Updated: Feb 9
20 Steps to plan the BEST Bridal Shower!
Okay, so you're engaged and time is flying by! The wedding is just around the corner and it's time to get to all of the bridal festivities! A traditional bridal shower is a get-together including the bridal party, mothers of the couple, and any women close to the bride invited to the wedding. A typical bridal shower theme is a brunch party, afternoon tea, or a daytime affair. Your mind is surely racing with questions such as;
Who plans it?
How much does it cost?
When should I have a bridal shower?
What do you even do at a bridal shower?
What do I wear?
You guys loved our previous blog "What to do after you get engaged"! So of course, as your online maid of honor, I had to spill the tea regarding all the details you need to know to have a bridal shower for the books! I am heavily involved in the wedding industry and I have been for almost a decade! Which means I have picked up a thing or two!
We specialize in Lash Extensions at Siroki Lash Studio in Jacksonville, FL, I also do Hair and Makeup professionally. So let me assure you, I have heard all the stories! I have learned from my prior brides, so you don’t have to! Get that planner or notebook, and let's get into it!
The Bridal Shower Planning Check List
Pick a theme (Pinterest helps)
Create an attendee list
Choose a location
Set a time
Figure out who is helping out with planning
Make sure you have a day of helper
Contact any vendors necessary
Download The Hobnob app for invites (Thank me later)
coordinate colors for wedding party attendees
Plan a few games
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
Ensure there is seating for everyone
Plates, cups, cutlery
Flowers (if desired)
Makeup and hair plan with enough time
Clean up time
1. Pick a theme true to the bride
Most Bridal showers have a soft theme. Although, there is now a trend to go all out with a theme for the bridal shower! Keep the bride's personality in mind and remember this day is meant to be a fun celebration with the ladies. So it can truly be whatever theme you want.
A common and cute idea is to have a tea party! Everyone can get dressed up the food is usually pretty easy to pull off and the tea set is a cute theme! As a Maid of Honor the theme decided was "Pop the bubbly she's getting a hubby". Pinterest and amazon have so many ideas if you just browse through them. We incorporated tea by serving a Boba Tea to go at the end of the party. Get it? Bubbles!
2. Create an attendee list
This is a celebration after all, right? If you are the bride reading this, write down a list of all the people you want to be there. Or if you are the person throwing the shower for the bride make sure to get the list of invitees from the bride.
This will set the stage for you to begin
planning accordingly. Remember even if you invite 30 people and all 30 RSVP, life happens, and more often than not, when planning an event, the total list does not always show up!
3. Choose a location
Alright, now that we have the list of invites we need room for all of these people, the food, the snacks, the drinks, and the festivities.
Make sure to think of accommodations for those on your attendee list if they need help getting up and down stairs etc.
Often times the bridal shower is held in a home. However, some people book venues, rooms, or host at a restaurant that allows you to rent out space.
4. Set a time
A typical bridal shower is held at brunch or lunch times. Think of a mid-day event. However, if a dinner works best for you and your attendees that's okay too. Think about the list you made prior. What is the availability of most guests?
Try to set the time on a date and time that will work best. Remember when you pick a time you need to add time prepping the event, getting ready, and cleaning after the bridal shower.
These factors should all be taken into account while planning the bridal shower. If you are booking an event for your bridal shower the venue will typically give you a set amount of time.
5. Figure out a designated helper for the day of the event
Okay, I know, I know! You got this! But listen! You do not have any idea how fast time will fly right on by while your preparing for this event! A helper will make your life so much easier. You need someone you can rely on and make sure the person you choose will actually show up.
Heck, even if you select a few people to designate tasks too that will help a lot. Just, again, make sure the people are reliable. Things you may need help with include; hanging decorations, decorating, picking up food, making food and beverages, getting ice, and moving furniture around... The list goes on!
Trust me this bridal shower I just threw took eleven hours from start to finish! Yes! Eleven, you read that right eleven hours! I do not know what I would have done without all of the help!
6. Contact any vendors you will need
Speaking of help vendors are the way to go if it is in the budget! Bridal Vendors to think of that make a huge difference on days like this include but are not limited to; Event Decorators, Ballon Arch specialists, Sign Makers, Charcuterie makers, Florists, Photographers, Bridal Coordinators, Caterers, and one that could be a little sneaky and even a bit helpful for the
day of, Hair and Makeup!
If you need to make sure the bride is occupied for a few hours have her go get her hair and
makeup done, this always works out!
Some brides even use this hair and makeup appointment as a bridal trial. She will feel beautiful and she will be out of the way for the hectic planning and prepping for the day meant to celebrate her!
If you want to push it a step further have someone take her to get her nails done or
have her get her lashes done (shameless plug here).
Even her brows! These little prep services will surely have the bride feeling pampered and ready to celebrate! Beauty services are great gifts for this kind of event! Try looking around ahead of time and even adding beauty services like this to the registry! This will keep the bride preoccupied and get her ready all at the same time!
Look around for beauty service providers that offer gift cards, or gift certificates in the area and then link those in the registry. For example here at Siroki Lash Studio, we have an entire page dedicated to gift cards for instances such as these! You can find it here!
7. Download the Hobnob app
Alright, I'm going to be honest when the bride told me to get... yet another app! I shook my head and while annoyed I figured I'd check it out. This app made the communication and invite process beyond simple! Best part? It's freaking free!
I would have honestly paid for this app! It made the process so much better. You can add the location, the details of the shower, and the registry. It has a section that allows the invitees to RSVP. Then checking to see the headcount is as easy as a check of the app. It sends out automatic updates and reminders of the day and time. Have the bride add her invitee list and registry here. Thank me after! I'll be waiting to hear from you guys about how you like this one! Get it here.
8. Plan outfits
Think of this ahead of time, we ran into delays in shipment for the brides' outfit!
Obviously, we know the bride will be wearing her bridal gear! Something white, cute, and fun. Think of little moments to make her feel special.
A post will be coming soon linking so many cute little accessories for brides! I'll give you a tip here that shouldn't surprise you by now, Amazon!
Get her a headband, a veil, earrings, a sash, just something! Keep her personality in mind and make her feel special.
9. Choose a coordinated color for the wedding party
Doesn’t that photo remind you of the movie "Bridesmaids" I couldn't unsee it! Anyways,
Now, on to the bridal party, coordinate your outfits (we all wore blush pink)
This will make it easier for the attendees to pinpoint who is in the wedding and who to ask questions too! It also is super cute for the bridal shower photos!
Ohh, and it is yet again another simple way to make your bride feel special! You’re the bride tribe after all!
10. Plan a few games
You can find games on Pinterest, and TikTok has a lot of cute ideas! Make sure to get things to give away as prizes for whoever wins. We gave out bottles of wine, champagne, and a box of chocolates. We had 3 Games, I created a customized bridal game "How well does the Bride know the Groom?"
Ask the groom (or the other bride) a few questions, record his/her answers, and then print out the questions on a sheet of paper and hand it out. Have the attendees guess how many the bride will guess right! Keep track and whoever guesses the closest to the number she answers correctly, that person wins. Ask her the questions aloud in her bridal chair
(Yes, you should set up a specific chair for the bride to open gifts and play the games, it's worth it) then keep track of the correct answers while comparing her answers to those you the groom (or the other bride) asked prior to the party. Other games we played included; "Guess the dress" and "What would the bride do?".
11. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink list
Get an assortment of drinks for the occasion. We even made a signature pink drink. Pink Margaritas. You can buy it pre-made, I recommend looking into the pre-made mixed drinks. HUGE time saver! We made sangria, which was completely unnecessary but a yummy plus! When it came to the margaritas we even included pink rock sugar sticks rather than doing a sugar rim! Get creative. Check out Pinterest. That's what I always do.
They (Amazon) also sell edible glitter that you can add to the champagne. Super cute touch and it is extremely simple. Just add in a few dashes. I don't have photos because we waited until the end of the night but I will link it here!
Remember, after planning the alcoholic drinks include Non Alcoholic specialty options as well. We had a boba station and it was a hit at the end of the party! A Blog of everything we included is coming soon. Stay tuned!
PS. Don't forget water and simple beverages!
While planning the food think about the level of prep that will take place and what you want to eat the day of. You can incorporate food into the theme. Have someone prep food ahead of time and bring it before the party starts. Cater food, or even just finger foods.
We had a combination of family traditional meals prepared by the bride's mother-in-law and some finger foods from Publix (a Floridian grocery store). Oh, and of course Charcuterie! How could we not? If you know me you know I always love a good charcuterie board!
The life of the party! This is definitely a preference-specific decision. We decided to use the deserts as a moment to incorporate the theme of the party as well as a centerpiece.
There were multiple options cake, cake pops, chocolate-covered strawberries, macaroons, fruit pudding, and donuts. Something for everyone. It's safe to say we love this part of the party!
14. Selfie Station
What's the saying? "Pics or it didn't happen?" Well, when it comes to a selfie station you can either go all out or keep it simple. We decided this was somewhere we would go all out and the party attendees loved it! We found a vendor that does balloon arches and signs! Follow along by clicking on my Instagram for the videos!
The sign we had made included the bride's name and the words bridal shower! A perfect memory moment! But, you don't have to go too big if the budget doesn't call for it. You can create little signs to hold up and decorate a wall. I mean, even just clear out space so you can stand in front of a white wall with props! Just make it fun and keep the bride and theme in mind.
15. Seating for everyone
Seating, seating, seating... Oh gosh! So, at first, we definitely overthought this one. Then we realized people will adjust and take over different areas. So just keep your headcount in mind and make sure there is at least one chair per person. The setup doesn't have to be anything too serious. If anything the mingling was better because we had multiple areas designated for seating and different options for people. Check out one of the seating moments at the actual shower in the photo to the right!
16. Plates, cups, cutlery
Get this all ahead of time and order extra. Each person will use more than one cup and maybe even more than one plate. This is the one time I will tell you to order more than you need and send back what you don't!
We almost thrifted all of this so it matched and went with a tea theme! Such a great idea and whoever executes it, I am sure it will be so pretty. However, by the end of the night... I was so thankful we just got disposable plates, cups, and cutlery.
The to-go cups of boba milk tea were a solid party favor all on their own. So get creative and think of things like this. We put the bride's name on the cups and the words bridal shower. I'm not great a DIY but if you know someone that is this would be a great place to have them assist!
Oh, decor, we love it, we hate it, we love to hate it! At least during the process. I will tell you now though every single effort you make when decorating for a party such as this will not go unnoticed! Think of signs, the theme, straws, and drink stirrers, anything and everything consistent with the theme is always good! NO MATTER HOW SMALL! Here, size doesn't matter! Hehe, you see what I did there? Make it special and go the extra mile you won't regret it and looking
back it'll be worth it. I promise!
When it comes to an event such as this, flowers are a beautiful touch. Flowers are a simple and easy decor hack. When it comes to flowers depending on the budget you have set for the shower you can hire a florist to come into the space with custom centerpieces, purchase pre-made centerpieces for the tables, or make your own floral arrangements.
Real florals are nice. However, I have also seen some pretty convincing false floral arrangements recently. There are so many options when it comes to flowers. They are another detail to incorporate the theme or colors. We even incorporated some florals into the ice! It was so easy and it was easily done for under $20!
19. Makeup and Hair
For some reason, no matter how long I have worked in this industry it happens all the time. EVERYONE underestimates the time it takes to get ready for an event. Please set aside at least two hours for your hair and makeup. That is just for hair and makeup. Not for transportation or anything else.
Just to get ready! As mentioned prior setting up Beauty Service providers for hair and makeup on a day like this will make it so much easier to build it into the schedule. Although, if you prefer to handle that part yourself that's okay too! It typically takes the same amount of time.
If you think two hours is just way too much effort. Maybe you're thinking "who has that much time to set aside?" Rest assured, I have some getting-ready time-saving hacks for you!
Get a blowout or blow-dry your own hair the day prior.
Go to sleep with your hair prepped in overnight heatless curls (there are so many hacks online, check out TikTok, Instagram, or Pinterest) Click here for a tutorial!
Leave the hair in the prep stage the entire time you decorate
Shower after decorating with a shower cap on to protect your hair
Shave the night before
Nails & toes done the day prior
Do your brows a few days prior
Get lash extensions a few days ahead of time (This allows you to skip out on the eye makeup and saves you so much time!)
Don't want to invest in lash extensions? Use DIY Lash Extensions the day before the event! They only take 15 minutes and you will have lashes for days!
Follow those steps and I promise you will get ready so much faster! 😘
20. Time to clean
After everyone is ready, the food, the drinks, and the decorations are set up, it is time to spot-clean any last-minute spaces. I would plan an extra hour for this prior to the time you plan to have guests show up!
21. Party Time!
You did it! Time to party, enjoy this moment, and take as many photos as you can!
" What happens at the bridal shower, stays at the bridal shower" -Unknown