Wedding 101: How to throw a Bridal Shower

Okay. We’re taking step back from being the “bride” and talking about something a little bit different this Wednesday evening. Suppose you’re on the other side of the wedding planning process, and now you’re under pressure to throw a perfect shower for your dear sister/friend/cousin etc. It can be a seriously daunting task. I remember when I first found out I was helping plan a Couples Shower for my cousin and his soon to be wife getting so anxious. I wanted to make sure it was perfect, and everything they would want, and I’m not going to lie, it’s HARD to plan when there are so many other people involved.

I instantly started making a list in my head of everything we needed to do, buy, and make. As the list started getting longer and longer, I wished I’d had a guide to help me through the party planning. So I’ve rounded up the things that I remembered, forgot and everything in between to help make planning a shower a breeze for you. You’re welcome in advance 😉
  1. Who is Planning? Put that Bride Tribe to good use people. While the Maid of Honor usually is in charge, the rest of the wedding party will be a HUGE help. Now, if you’re from a big Catholic family like myself, the planning committee might be a little bit different. It is tradition in my family (and many other Catholic families) that the Bride or Groom’s AUNTS throw her/him a shower. Our Planning Crew: My mom, my two aunts, me and my cousin (the only other girl in the family) planning.
    The Happy Couple 
  2. Ask The Bride to Be Questions. Don’t ask the groom. Ever. Showers are mostly for the bride. So find out… does she want a traditional shower? Does she want shower games? Who would she like there? In our case, Lisa did not want a traditional shower, and we were all so excited! If you ask me, Couples Showers are way more fun, laid back and less pressure. (Next week, I’ll be talking more about this… so be sure to check back!) Questions We Asked: What kind of shower do you want? Who do you want to be there/ is just immediate family okay? Do you want it inside or outside? What dates work best for you?p1090789
  3. Pick the Date. Before you do anything else, pick the date. BE SURE THIS DATE WORKS FOR YOUR BRIDE. I mean, how can you have a party when the Guest(s) of Honor can’t be there? Find out a time that works for them too. We gave her a list of weekends that worked for us, and asked her to choose two that worked for them. This way, we had a little wiggle room for booking a venue. Our Date: August 28thdsc_0003
  4. Make the Guest List. This can be tricky. You have to make a cut somewhere, otherwise, you’ll be throwing a Shower for the entire wedding guest list too. We chose to stick with just immediate family and close friends. Talk about it with the bride to be, then stick to whatever decision you make. Our Guest List: Immediate Family and Close Friends.
    Trev and I enjoying the view
  5. Choose a theme! Remember how I’m pretty much against the idea of themed weddings? Well, I’m totally for a themed bridal/couples shower. Plus, it makes planning SO much easier when you’ve got a theme and need to buy party supplies, plan the menu and choosing a location. If you’re stuck on a theme idea, head over to Pinterest. There are HUNDREDS of adorable ideas. Just don’t make it corny, and remember a simple theme is totally fine. Our Theme: I Do BBQp1090781
  6. Choose the location. Before you start planning anything, choose the location. The location is going to be a deciding factor for many parts of your party. Our Location: State Park Shelter House (This is the view from the shelter house. Can you guess why we picked here? HAHA)img_3955
  7. Invitations. Once you’ve nailed down a date, time, location and theme, you can get the invitations. There are tons of adorable invitations on websites like Minted. (Highly recommend them for any paper goods. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them!) You can also find great invitations on Etsy that you can download and print yourselves. However, we chose to make our own. Our Invitation: How cute are these? I made them on the computer, and then my mom and I tied ribbons on before we sent them out. I just LOVE how they turned out.img_4948
  8. Decor. Once the invitations are sent out it’s time for the biggest part of planning your shower. See below for more on Decor!img_3897
  9. The Menu. The most important part of any party is the food… am I right? Choose a menu that you know the Guest(s) of Honor will love, and that goes with your theme. Think about if you’re going to have it catered, if you’re going to do the cooking, or if you’re going to have it “potluck” style. Remember, you don’t need to serve a 4 course meal. You can even only have snacks or just desserts. (One of my Aunt’s had a dessert only shower for me because she knows dessert is my favorite part of the meal.) Just be sure you choose the menu with your time in mind. If your shower is at noon, chances are, people will be expecting lunch. Our Menu: Pulled Pork, baked beans, mac n cheese, corn on the cob, hot dogs, potato salad, my Aunt’s apple taffy salad and CUPCAKES. My aunt made these beauties 😍dsc_0013
  10. Activities. ONLY PLAN GAMES IF YOUR BRIDE WANTS THEM. Yes. I’m shouting that at you. Some people HATE bridal shower games. And there is no point in playing them if the bride doesn’t want to. It’s so important that you make this a good experience for your guest(s) of honor. You don’t want to make them feel any more uncomfortable than they already might. (Again… more on this next week. Coming from a super shy person, bridal showers can end up feeling like the most awkward things ever.) But, don’t take this as having nothing for the guests to do. If you’re not playing shower games, maybe have lawn games set out. Our Games: We didn’t play any shower games, because the couple didn’t want them. We did have lawn games set out on the lawn over looking the lake.dsc_0009
  11. Gifts. Sometimes at bridal showers everyone brings their own gifts, other times, the hosts start up a collection and give a joint gift. The decision is really up to the hostess of the party. Personally, I didn’t care either way. One of my showers had a joint gift, and because of it, we got literally ALL of our whiteware that was on our registry. My other two showers, everyone gave us what they wanted. We got a mix of things on our registry and things not on our registry. Honestly, we loved that too. If you think your bride will have a preference though, you should ask for her opinion. I was a super laid back bride, so it didn’t bother me either way. Other brides however, may want it done a certain way!img_3896
The Decor. Something so important, it gets a paragraph all to itself. HAHA. But seriously, the decor will either make or break your party. If you’re lucky like us, you’ll have super crafty, DIY people in your family. These ladies will be there to help you make the shower everything you could imagine. When we talked, we knew we wanted plaid table cloths, sun flowers, fall colors, signs, and lots and lots of pictures. (My cousin and his now wife met when they were in 6th grade. How could we not feature photos of their cute little 6th grade selves??) Here are my simple Dos and Don’ts of Decor.
  • DO use Pinterest. There are so many great ideas! But…
  • DON’T go Pinterest crazy. When you log onto Pinterest, there are going to be SO many ideas that your head is going to start spinning. So..
  • DO create a SECRET Pinterest board of all of your favorite things. Be sure to include all those planning the party in on the board. But…
  • DON’T try to do everything. If you do, it’s going to look like Pinterest exploded all over your party. Choose a few of your favorite ideas, but then forget about everything else.
  • DO use signs. Signs are always a good idea. Have a welcome sign, a sign about the couple, and signs for any specific instructions. I’m also a big fan of labeling. So I say… label the sh*t out of the food and drinks!
  • DON’T try to buy everything you need in one setting. It will cost you a fortune.
  • DO shop at dollar stores in your area, and Big Box stores and party stores for the best deals on things like plastic serving ware, table cloths, napkins. You know, all the typical party things.
  • DON’T go down the wedding isle at Michael’s. You’ll end up spending way more than you want to because you’ll think that you need all the super cute stuff. If you do head down that magical isle, make sure you’re prepared to choose only one or two things. Speaking of spending…
  • DO set a budget and stick to it.

And just like that, you’re bridal shower will be planned. No stress. No hassle. And it will be perfect.

Trev is back tomorrow with another guest post! It’s a good one. You won’t want to miss it!


3 thoughts on “Wedding 101: How to throw a Bridal Shower

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