Your friend is getting married! What better reason do you need to throw a party? Throwing a wedding shower is meant to help the bride prepare for life with her new groom. But wedding showers don't have to just be about gifts. You can host a shower anywhere, with any theme, and ultimately, all planning should have the bride's best interests in mind.
As her friend, you know her best. What are her hobbies? Where would she feel most comfortable? When you begin planning, try to pick a venue, guest list, and theme that will make the wedding shower almost as memorable to her as the wedding itself. Bridal Shower Timing & Planning
Before choosing a theme, it's important to get the timing and guest list in order. Showers should be held about two months before the wedding. Too close to the big day and the bride may be distracted with planning and guests may struggle with buying gifts for both events in such a short time frame. The bridesmaids should all come together to plan the wedding shower, but traditionally, planning the event and paying for the festivities are primarily the maid-of-honor's responsibilities.
Deciding whom to include on the guest list depends on the size of the venue and who is hosting the shower. For example, the bride's boss may throw a shower consisting of just coworkers or a sorority sister may throw a party inviting all of the bride's college friends. The bride could be thrown several showers if she has large groups of friends in other cities or in different social groups. If you're a bridesmaid, do your best to find out if another shower is being hosted and focus on close friends and family for the guest list first. Ask the bride or mother of the bride if they’d like to extend an invite to the groom’s family as well. Choosing a Location & a Theme
Think about the bride, her personal style, and how she envisions her future. This will give you clues to find the perfect location. What are her hobbies? If budget allows, you can even go outside the box and consider a formal event hall, a botanical garden, hotel suite, or sporting event.
The location you choose can naturally lead to a theme, but there are many themes that work for any location. Think about how the bride and groom like to spend their free time and unite guests in their favorite activity. If you're stuck, these creative bridal shower themes are always fun: Lingerie Shower
The lingerie shower is an old favorite, but you can shake it up by asking guests to come dressed in their pajamas, serve slumber party snacks and candy or brunch favorites, while the bride unwraps her gifts – sexy lingerie pieces for every night of her honeymoon. Honeymoon Shower
The honeymoon shower can be as creative as you make it. Decorate the party in the style of the honeymoon with exotic foods and decor. If the couple plans to honeymoon in Hawaii or another exotic beach location, create a sandy luau and hand out grass skirts and leis for each guest. Suggest that guests bring gifts such as sunscreen, sunglasses, beach towels, and bathing suits. If your bride has a European honeymoon in mind, guests should bring travel gifts like journals, cameras, power adapters, and translation books. Serve foods reflecting the culture of the country or state being visited. Making Memories-Themed Shower
If inviting both families, help your guests get to know the wedding couple better with framed pictures or collages of the happy couple to decorate the party (and later, their new home). Give picture frame gifts, photo albums -- maybe started with their parents' and grandparents’ wedding photos, and scrapbooks. Serve their favorite foods – family recipes or dishes prepared by mom or grandma – to enhance the personalized theme and to bring the two sides of the family closer together. Relaxation-Themed Shower
Bring the bride and her guests together for a day of indulgence at a local day spa or rent a mobile spa for massages, manicures, and facials. Take-home gifts can include nail polish, at-home manicure and pedicure sets, facial products, towels, or flip-flops. Serve decadent treats like chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne to top the day off. Cooking-Themed Shower
Best for small groups, this fun, interactive shower allows guests to get in on the action. At either a private home or a cooking school, guests arrive with their baker's hats on, for a cooking lesson. Learning to make a new dish with her closest friends and family is great for foodie brides or brides who don’t have a clue in the kitchen, but want to learn. Baking essentials and cookware make excellent gifts, especially if guests enclose a much-loved recipe for the bride to build her cooking repertoire. Stock-the-Bar Couples Shower
Having a couple’s shower? Consider hosting a stock-the-bar party to appeal to the groom's male guests. Does the couple prefer wine or cocktails? Let guests know their preferences in advance so they can gift a variety of wine, beer, or spirits to help build their collection. Glassware, blenders, and other bar equipment can also be given. It goes without saying that part of the party will be to taste various cocktails or wines chosen from among the couple's favorite drinking pleasures.
Whatever the theme, as long as the bride is surrounded by friends and loved ones, her shower will be a memorable one! Ready to get started with planning? Check out our lists of local vendors for locations, decorations and invitations.