How to Plan a Bridal Shower + FREE Printable PDF Checklist

Planning a bridal shower can be an overwhelming task. Not only do you want to give your bride the best day ever, but then you also have to think about manage the guests, coordinating the menu, arranging for games, handling RSVPs and so much more!

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Luckily thriving through chaos is one of my specialties and I’m here to give you my quick and dirty run down for how to plan the most incredible bridal shower ever.

If you’re looking for a great resource to help you plan your upcoming bridal shower, check out my FREE Bridal Shower Planner PDF at the end of this post!

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Ready to plan your bridal shower? Here we go!

1. The Basics

The first step is to really nail down the basics:

  • WHEN
    • Talk to your bride to nail down a date (or potential dates) that she and her closest family and friends are available. You obviously can’t ensure that one day will work for everyone, but you want to make sure the most important people (mom, grandma, sisters, bridesmaids, etc.) can make it, or at least the majority of them.
  • WHERE
    • Does the mother-of-the-bride want to host it at her house? Do you want to throw it at yours? Do you want to rent a space at a restaurant or winery? Talk to the bride to see what she would prefer, but then as the host you can certain pick what you think would work the best for your vision as well.
  • WHO
    • Ask your bride to send you her guest list and provide either email addresses, phone numbers or mailing addresses for invitations and to collect RSVPs. If she doesn’t have all this information at once, at least ask her to give you her guest list so you can begin anticipating how many people will be there.

It’s important to start with these items first so you don’t begin planning an intimate party at a small winery and then realize your bride wants to invite 50 family members after you’ve paid a deposit. Keep the lines of communication with your bride open during this portion of the planning process so everyone is on the same page about the party.

2. The Details

After you’ve establish the basics of the party, it’s time to move onto the fun parts – the details! Some things to consider include:

THEME/COLOR SCHEME

It’s important to get a theme and color scheme decided early so the rest of your planning has a guide to follow. There are TONS of ideas on website, blogs and Pinterest of course, but make sure you also pick something that represents your bride too.

If your bride loves all things wine, a wine-themed shower would be perfect. If your bride is really into margaritas and Mexican food, maybe a fun fiesta would be right up her ally. I threw my friend Brooke an amazing Bubbly & Brunch shower to go along with her champagne obsession that was truly the best day ever!

MENU

Once you have a theme in mind, your menu planning will be pretty easy, but a good rule of thumb is to have some hot and cold dishes, something salty and something sweet, and if alcohol is going to be flowing, make sure you have plenty of food on hands so your guests don’t get too tipsy! Also, make sure to keep in mind you guest list so you have an adequate amount of food for everyone.

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While cheese & crackers and mini sandwiches are always fun, it’s good to do something a little outside the box too! For example, at Brooke’s brunch shower, we made a fun donut cake and also set up a yogurt bar too.

BEVERAGES

It’s always fun to have some sort of drink to go along with your theme. For example at Brooke’s shower, we made a big Prosecco Punch to serve to all the guests, but also had plenty of champagne available to go along with our “bubbly” theme. (Get my awesome Lemonade Prosecco Punch recipe here!)

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Definitely make sure to have some non-alcoholic beverages available as well too. You can stick to soda and water, or get some La Croix and fresh fruit for a fancy, non-alcoholic option your guests will still love!

GAMES

Not everyone loves bridal shower games, but as corny as they are, they are a fun and interactive part to every bridal shower. One game I highly recommend is Bridal Bingo – it’s a great way to keep your guests engaged while the bride opens all her gifts, which can usually be a total snooze fest.

You’ll need blank bingo cards and have your guests fill in each square with a gift they think the bride will receive. As she opens her gifts, guests will mark off their entries and whoever gets five in a row wins a prize! It’s a good idea to have a few prizes on hand to let a couple different people win, since the gift portion can take a while.


FREE BRIDAL BINGO PDF PRINTABLE

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You can download this Bridal Bingo PDF for FREE to use at your next bridal shower!


Definitely check out Pinterest for other great bridal shower games, and be sure to ask your bride or other bridesmaids if they’ve played any good ones at other bridal showers they’ve attended. Also, it’s a good idea to have some “prizes” for your game winners. A great go-to is a mini bottle of champagne or a fun treat.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

It’s a good idea to have a few other activities happening at the show so people aren’t just sitting around. One thing I loved doing at Brooke’s shower was having guests sign a giant photo mat that served as her “guest book” but also made a great keepsake once it was completed!

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I’ve been to other showers where guests fill out cards to suggest great date night ideas for the couple, or share their favorite recipes to help the bride create her own recipe box.

DECORATIONS

The last important piece to consider are the decorations you want at the shower to really bring together the theme. While Pinterest can certainly make you think you need to drop $$$$ on every adorable Etsy decoration there is, keep in mind that just a few cute pieces here and there will be enough.

I think it’s great to invest in a tassel banner and some sort of of word banner, and extra points for getting something generic enough to use again! I actually made this bubbly bar banner myself to help save some money and splurged on a “Mrs. Chapman” banner, but we were able to use both of them again at Brooke’s bachelorette party, so it was a worthwhile investment.

I think a decorative piece many people don’t think about are photos! If your bride and her hubby-to-be got engagement pictures done, go ahead and print some off and use frames you already have lying around your house to decorate your food or gift table. This is a great way to fill up space but also showcase the gorgeous couple you’re celebrating.

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FAVORS

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to think of some sort of cute gift to have your guests take home with them. Again, Pinterest has some amazing ideas available, but I’ve seen everything from mini wine bottles and nail polish, to DIY sugar scrub!

This is definitely a great place to tie in the shower’s theme again. For Brooke, I had champagne shaped sugar cookies made and attached a cute little tag on them thanking guests for helping them “pop” the bubbly for Brooke that day.

Once all the planning is done, it’s time to execute your amazing shower! Be sure to recruit a few people to help you the day-of with food prep, set up and clean up too. While you may want to do everything yourself, it’s best to delegate tasks to other bridesmaids or family members so everything can get done in time to start the party.

If you’re looking for a great way to organize and plan for your next bridal shower, check out my FREE Bridal Shower Planner! This will help guide you through the entire planning process, as well as give you a structured checklist to stay on task the months and weeks leading up to the big day.

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DOWNLOAD NOW

Download your FREE Bridal Shower Planner today and good luck with your amazing party!

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