Here is a quick checklist that helps layout the foundation for the bridal shower. One important thing to remember when you are planning a shower for your friend, there are NO RULES. The most important thing is to have fun. This is a celebration, a party for the bride, and it is one that should give the participants fond memories for years to come. The biggest mistake is to get caught up on unimportant things that have a tendency to get blown out of proportion. So what if you can only get everybody together seven weeks before the wedding instead of eight. The following are simply tips to help you get through the party and enjoy yourself at the same time.
If you want to imagine a stressful situation read about the origins in the bridal shower history post.1. Planning
Like any event, planning is the most important part of the entire experience. It doesn't have to be a complicated micro manged party, but there are some things that should be laid out to make things go smoothly. The planning usually falls on the shoulder of the maid of honor or one of the bridesmaids. The organizer will work together with the bride to finalize the details of the party. If you are planning to surprise the bride with a shower then you will need to coordinate with her family. Sharon Naylor shares some excellent tips on how to plan a fun and memorable party.2. Setting a Budget
Since the host typically caries the cost of the party it is important to set a budget that won't break the bang. Nobody expects you to take out a loan to throw the party, remember the goal is to have fun, this doesn't have to cost a fortune. If you are in need of some help the bride's family will generally be happy to offer their home as the venue and help pay for the invitations. Set an acceptable budget and then stick with it. As the organizer it is your obligation to kept things within this limit.3. Guest List
As the party organizer you may not have to much to influence about who makes the list. This is usually handled by the bride and groom and their mothers. They will give you the addresses and other contact information (telephone, email address etc.) and then you will mail out the invitations. One thing that you will need to consider is if this is going to be a ladies only event or if you're throwing a coed party.4. Choose a Date and Time
The generally accepted date is eight weeks before the wedding, however, this is up to you. If you need to pick another date to accommodate the bride or a special guest then do so and don't worry about what people might think.
Time is trickier since the majority of your guest may be working. This makes morning and early afternoon showers during the week more difficult. If you want to schedule the party for the day consider holding it on the weekend.5. Send Invitations
Once you've got your guest list in hand and your date set in stone it is time to mail your invitations. Make sure that you include any and all important information in your invites. If you have any specific requests from your guests include them in the invitation. If you're throwing a kitchen shower include this in you correspondence.
If you have a very small group coming, especially if you personally know the guests, you may choose to call them. This is generally accepted method if you only invite family members.
Here are a few affordable invitations to get you started.Popular Invitations View More Invitations 6. Decorations
If you've picked out your theme it is time to get the decorations. Art supply stores and party outlets are a good place to secure the necessary materials. Though if you've picked a more exotic theme like the chocolate bridal shower you may need to look elsewhere.
Laurie Dewberry shares ten examples on how to throw a creative and exciting shower. Again remember you don't need to break the bank to decorate your party. Have fun and be creative, everything else will fall into place.7. Meal Planning
Are you throwing an afternoon party? An evening banquet, or a brunch? The time of day will influence the type of food you will be serving. If you're planning on serving a warm meal it is generally a good idea to keep it simple. The food is up to you and the bride (if she knows about the shower), it can be as simple as a cheese platter and crackers or buffet. The main goal is to have fun.8. Fun and Games
If you've been to a wedding shower you know that the games are a big part of the festivities. We've put together a whole page of the most popular games. If have an alternative bride on your hands Kathryn Calhoun has put together a list of 111+ games she might enjoy.9. Introductions and Refreshments
Since you are acting as the hostess make sure you have properly introduced everyone. You may need to recruit the help of the couple's mothers if you do not know everyone attending. This helps break the ice and engage the guests in conversations. Each guest should be offered a beverage or other refreshments depending on your shower theme. The goal is to make each of the guests feel as welcome as the guest of honor. This will ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the day, that includes you. When you're relaxed and having fun everyone else will be too.10. Clean Up
Unless you have have rented a room for the party where clean up is included it is important to make sure you leave the location like you found it. If the bride or groom's mother offered their home take some time to help them tidy up.