How to Throw a Bridal Shower

I love to host parties.  I love to host parties for selfish reasons; all the guests come to me and I can drink as much as I want since I don’t need to drive afterwards.  Also, I get to pick food to serve that I enjoy eating and (as always) planning is my forte. Recently, I planned my sister’s bridal shower and thought I could pass along some suggestions for planning a bridal shower without spending a lot of money.

Pick a Theme

I always like to start planning a bridal shower by selecting a overall theme.  A theme doesn’t have to be that specific, it could be as easy as selecting certain colors to feature, picking a meal time to plan around, or types of gifts the guests should bring for the bride-to-be.  A theme doesn’t have to be all-encompassing, it just helps give you a starting point.

For my sister’s bridal shower we chose to go with a brunch theme.  We thought brunch foods were much easier (and cheaper) than a lunch or dinner.  Plus, who doesn’t like mimosas? This theme helped me determine what foods I wanted to serve and the time of the day to have the shower.  Did I incorporate the brunch theme into every part of the party? Definitely not.  I gave flower seed packets away as favors, super cute – nothing to do with brunch.

Doughnuts and a yogurt bar.
You can’t go wrong with doughnuts on a stick and a yogurt bar.

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Gather the Guest List

Make sure to ask the bride who she would like invited to the shower.  Obvious guests are all the bridesmaids, female relatives, and close friends of the bride.  Definitely don’t invite anyone who is not invited to the wedding!

Send Out InvitationsShower Invitation

Invitations can be very inexpensive if you are on a budget (I always am).

  • If you are purchasing invitations through a website such as Minted, Wedding Paper Divas, or Snapfish make sure to wait for an awesome sale and of course go through Ebates first to get your cash back.  These sites are constantly have great sales and promotions, use those promo codes!
  • You can also purchase an invitation template from a website such as Etsy and either print the invitations at home or at a store like Office Max.
  • I wouldn’t recommend e-mailing invitations for a bridal shower, that is just too casual for this type of event.  If you really want to save money send a postcard invitation, the postage will be less than a regular invitation.

Decor

Depending on the venue you are hosting the shower at you may need a lot of decorations or very little.  I am not a super crafty person and definitely live by the motto “quality over quantity” so I tend to go very minimal on decor.  When in doubt, decorate with beautiful flowers, pretty tablecloths, and the essential “bride-to-be” banner.

Another frugal idea is to print out pictures of the engaged couple to place around the party.

Food

mini muffinsIt will be a lot cheaper to make your own food.  This idea may or may not even be an option for you.  If you are hosting the shower at a restaurant or venue that insists on using its own caterer, the bill can get quite large very fast.  In this case, hopefully you are splitting the cost with other bridesmaids.  If you have the option of providing your own food you get to set the budget!

Maybe plan the shower for a time of day when guests wouldn’t expect a full meal – cheese trays, appetizers, cute cookies, etc.  Like I mentioned before, sticking with brunch foods will definitely save you money.  We had two different egg dishes, a yogurt bar, mini muffins, and doughnut holes – no one left hungry.

Entertainment

Oh, the dreaded shower games!  I can’t stand cheesy games, the next time I have to play Bridal Bingo I will lose my mind.  That being said, what else is there to do at a shower full of guests who don’t necessarily know one another?   Games are a bit essential so I would stick to games you would actually enjoy playing.

I really enjoyed making a Bridal Jeopardy game about my sister, her groom, and the two of them as a couple.

Bridal Jeopardy

I started by mixing up the guests into groups of people they hadn’t been sitting by during brunch.  By mixing up the guests I figured each guest in a group would be better at one of the categories.  My five categories were “Bride, Groom, Couple, Fun Facts, and the Wedding”.  I included questions such as;

  • How old was the bride and how old was the groom when they first started dating?
  • In what city is the wedding?
  • What is the groom’s least favorite household chore?
  • What is one of the couple’s favorite television shows?

I made sure that each question had a corresponding point number in terms of difficulty.  The more challenging questions were worth more points and I included one “daily double” question.   I received many compliments on the game and it seemed to help shower guests get introduced to one another.

Another game I thought went over well was “Would the Bride Rather?”.  I started the party with this game to help everyone get more acquainted with the bride since the party was for her.  Each question had only two answers to choose from, that way guests who didn’t know the bride as well could just guess between the two answers and still come away with a pretty good score. For example, would the bride prefer a beach vacation or ski vacation?

I did include a third game that did not go well.  I read romantic movie quotes and each guest was supposed to write down the title of the movie the quote was from.  I thought the game was incredibly easy . . . the guests did not.

flower pots

Suggestions – stick to only two games maximum, make sure to include information/questions on both the bride and groom, and have prizes for the winners.  I used the flowers that were currently part of the decor as prizes for the winning guests to take home after the shower.  Just make sure to have a box or something for the winners to transport the flowers in.

flower seed packets
For favors I gave out flower seed packets – not my favorite idea but very cost effective.

Favors

I am also not a huge fan of favors.  Personally, I think favors are a waste of money and guests usually don’t care about them.  Still, favors are often expected at a shower.  If you feel the need to have favors for the guests here are a few cheap suggestions;

  • Food (everyone actually likes food) – put a cookie or chocolate-covered pretzels in a cute take-home package
  • Nail Polish
  • Mini Champagne Bottles

Please no personalized koozies!

Happy Planning!

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