Ideally, you volunteered about three months ahead of the main event. This gives you time to plan a shower that will take place 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding. Of course, it doesn’t have to take that long! Showers, especially among intimate friends, can be pulled together on practically a moment’s notice.
Here are some steps to help your bridal shower planning go smoothly.
1. Talk with the bride to see if she has any dream shower ideas. If possible, incorporate as many of her desires as possible into the plans, while also leaving room for some surprises. Also work with the bride to develop a guest list and to get addresses and emails for invitations.
2. Select the date and time. Bridal showers are normally 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding, but this can vary widely. Showers are generally held on weekends, but they can also be during the week. Try to make the time and day convenient for as many as possible, including important out-of-town guests.
3. See if any of the bride’s family wants to help plan. While the mother of the bride is probably focused on the wedding itself, a sister, aunt or grandmother might be especially glad to contribute to the shower.
4. Set yourself a budget. If you’re a member of the wedding party, see who else of the attendants might want to chip in. Don’t forget the groomsmen! Especially those in the bride’s family.
5. Decide the shower theme, such as lingerie or house ware. Good themes can also revolve around the bride’s or the couple’s interests, so everyone can see the connection. Also, will the shower be girls only, or co-ed? This will impact your invitations and theme selection.
6. Finalize the guest list, and send invitations. Try to do this at least a month before the shower itself so people have time to reserve the day. Invitations are a fun first step in communicating the party’s theme. Also, while it’s still considered best to send paper invitations, you could follow-up with an e-vite from an online invitation service. These services, which are often free, can help keep track of who’s coming and what they’re bringing. Be sure to include an RSVP date!
7. Plan what refreshments to have. Both theme and time of day “feed” into this planning, along with the number of guests. Do not try to outdo the last shower you attended. Make this a day of relaxation for the bride, her guests, and yourself. Consider the amount of time and room available for the shower, as well as any special dietary needs of the bride and her guests.
8. Determine the location of the shower. Choose a location that is easy to get to and will accommodate the needs of the party. Consider also matching the location to the theme. By now, people should have RSVP’d, so you’ll have an idea of how many people are coming before arranging any final details.
9. Plan any games or entertainment. Every fun bridal shower includes at least one game. And don’t forget the prizes! Also, be sure as guests arrive, they are introduced to one another. One way to break the ice is to provide name tags with a small note, such as, “I was in the high school play with Stephanie.” This is a sure way to get conversations going.
10. Be sure to get your own gift for the bride! Doing this sooner rather than later will help relieve the stress of the day itself for you. You’ll want to be as relaxed as possible on shower day.
The best bridal showers, like the best weddings, are planned to the smallest detail ahead of time so that once things are set in motion, the planners can step back and enjoy themselves. Plan ahead, so you can enjoy. If you’re having fun, the bride will, too.