Planning the perfect bridal shower can be as stressful as planning the perfect wedding, and it generally falls to the bride’s best friend to take on this formidable task. While the happy couple are busy hiring caterers, photographers, and florists, the bride’s best friend needs to be just as busy planning a fun filled evening for the bride and her closest friends and family. There’s much to do, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed, but with a few helpful tips you can throw a bridal shower that the bride and all of her friends will be talking about for years to come.

Step One – Enlist Help

The first tip to planning a successful bridal shower is to enlist help. Whether you’re the bride’s sister, best friend or bridesmaid, there is no need to go it alone. Recruit friends, family and other bridesmaids to help with the planning, and to act as co-hostesses. Put each one in charge of a different aspect of the party, such as invitations, menu, décor, party favors and games. This division of labor can not only help relieve some of the stress of planning a bridal shower, but it allows you to divide the cost of the shower between each of the co-hostesses ensuring no one takes the full financial hit.

Consider the Bride

A bridal shower is more than just a party, it marks a momentous change in the bride’s life. Keep the bride in mind when planning the theme of the shower, and when choosing decorations, menus and activities. The shower is meant to satisfy the bride’s tastes, not the hostesses. Also, make a point of consulting the bride about the guest list. This is her night, and it’s important to get the guest list right. If you are planning a surprise party, look to the bride’s parents or family for a list of people that must be included.

Invitations

It’s the digital age, and it may be tempting to to use an email chain to send out invitations for your bridal shower. In one word, don’t. A bridal shower is a major event in a young woman’s life, and it should be treated as such. Send out formal invitations, and include an RSVP so that you can get an approximate idea of how many guest will be attending. You might also include the bride’s gift registry information on the invitations. While it is bad form to include this information on a wedding invitation, it is perfectly acceptable to add it to a bridal shower invitation.

The Where and the When

Choose an appropriate venue for the shower. For larger groups, it is always wise to consider a professional event space, particularly if guests are flying in from out of town. A professional event space is designed for one purpose, to host events, and choosing to hold the shower at a hired venue can eliminate a number of headaches that may arise when planning a successful bridal shower. Make sure the venue you choose is centrally located, and that it offers plenty of parking. Include a map with all invitations so guests will have no trouble finding the venue.

Choosing a Menu

Depending on the number of guests you are inviting, you may want to hire a caterer to supply appetizers or a light buffet. This is a party, and you don’t really want a full meal, but you should provide some tasty tidbits for the bride and guests to nibble on throughout the evening. You will also want to provide a wet bar, with a trained bartender, so your guests can enjoy a few cocktails. Remember to choose the food and drink selections based on the guest of honor’s tastes, leaning heavily towards the bride’s favorites.

Games and Gifts

With the venue hired, the invitations mailed, and refreshments in place, all that is left is to plan the evening’s activities. Games are a central part of every bridal shower, but don’t get too carried away. Keep the games simple and fun, and try to personalize them whenever possible. While games are a traditional part of every bridal shower, be sure to leave plenty of time for appetizers, drinks and good conversation. When it comes time for the bride to open her gifts, keep it organized and moving at a brisk pace. A hostess should also be assigned to sit with the bride keeping a record of the gifts and the gift-givers. This way the bride will have a comprehensive list to refer to when sending out thank-you notes later.

The most important part of planning a successful bridal shower is making sure the bride has a wonderful evening spent with friends and family. With these tips in mind, you can throw a bridal shower that will have the bride and all of your guests talking for years to come.

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