With the big day on the horizon, a bridal shower is one of the first times family and friends can gather around the bride and celebrate her upcoming nuptials. It’s a chance to pamper her with gifts, food and champagne while she unwinds and takes a break from all the busy planning.
Traditionally organized by the bride’s family, maid of honor or wedding party, the best bridal shower ideas incorporate a mix of traditional customs and unique details that highlight the couple’s personality.
If you’re in charge of showering your best friend or family member, you may be wondering: what are some good bridal shower ideas to ensure a smooth day and unforgettable celebration? Explore our list below to begin.
As you sort through all the best bridal shower ideas, start by considering the following questions. Each will guide you and your team of planners for the days ahead:
1. How large is your guest list?
Speak with the couple about their preferred guest list for the shower. They may already have the necessary contact information gathered for their invite list. If the shower is a secret, check in with the parents of the bride and groom or the wedding planning.
2. What is your budget for the shower?
Determine your comfortable budget amongst the wedding party, team of planners or family of the couple. Though large parties can get pricey, there are budget-friendly options for keeping the bridal shower budget manageable.
3. What is the best date for your party?
Be sure to check in with the VIPS before choosing the date. Though you can assume about 30 percent of the invite list will politely decline, there are a few people worth moving the date for. This includes immediate family members, the bridal party and anyone noted by the couple that is important to the list.
Bridal Shower Ideas for a Beautiful Day
Peruse these eight bridal shower ideas to ensure that your celebration runs smoothly and shows off the beautiful personality of your bride-to-be.
1. Bridal Shower Theme Ideas that Showcase the Couple
Fun Bridal shower ideas can be unique and memorable without going too far off the rails. At the same time, this party is yours to plan. If your bride has a distinctive taste, the day should represent her. Adopt or discard any popular bridal shower ideas and traditions as you see fit.
Bridal shower themes will guide the party planning process from start to finish. By adding a specific slant to your bridal shower design, it’s a bit easier to choose decorations, plan a bridal shower menu and incorporate activities into the afternoon.
Shower themes range from decorating in a uniform color scheme to structuring the entire party toward a specific goal. For example, does the bride love to travel? Throw a shower to honor all the places she’s traveled both on her own and with her soon-to-be spouse. Is she a passionate foodie? Cater the gathering with local favorites or host the party in a nearby hip brunch spot. No matter what you choose, mirror the bride in your bridal shower theme with care and specificity.
2. Choose a Unique Location
The location of the bridal shower is often the largest factor that determines the number of guests and your budget for the day. Though the most common locations for a bridal shower include someone’s own home, a local restaurant or a community center, consider these alternative bridal shower meeting places for a unique event:
Beachside gathering: If you live right by the sea or a lake, set up a picnic on the same with blankets, picnic baskets and coolers for chilling the champagne and orange juice.
Check out the wedding venue: Speak with the upcoming wedding venue about their bridal shower space. Since the venue has already begun working with the couple, they will be familiar with their needs and preferences.
Brewery or Winery: Wine and beer tastings are an interactive way to both support a local business and have little need to additional décor.
Take a River Cruise: Enjoy an afternoon on the water as you jet around a local bay, lake or river. Many charter cruises offer all-inclusive party packages, taking the pressure off the hosts while creating an unforgettable afternoon.
3. Focus on the Food
Looking for some unique food ideas for your next bridal shower? Whether you’re cooking on your own or working with a catering company, consider these bridal shower ideas that set the scene for a welcoming soiree:
Champagne Brunch: Throw an elegant late morning/early afternoon bridal shower brunch. Serve mimosas, fresh pastries, omelets and the popular brunch staples. Choose a sit-down meal or serve as a buffet for a larger gathering.
Tapas and appetizers: Finger foods are always ideal for afternoon and evening soirees. Choose several of your favorite tapas, canapés or appetizers so guests can graze and chat as they celebrate the day.
Wine and cheese tasting: Pair your favorite wines with a cheese and charcuterie display. This setup makes for a lovely theme both outside in the fall or indoors around the holidays.
Stick to Desserts: Keep things simple by serving your bride’s favorite desserts, cocktails and other sweet goodies. Pair with your tea and coffee for a casual afternoon gathering.
4. Break Tradition
Shake up the standard bridal shower traditions to further personalize the day to the bride. Many traditions stem from older wedding rituals, but there is no need to stick to the setup you’ve seen at past showers. For example:
Shower the Couple: More and more couples are now holding a co-ed shower as a chance to celebrate with both sides of the family. Celebrate the couple by throwing a joint wedding shower.
Pick an Activity: If you’re an active group, trade out the traditional brunch and champagne for a unique outing. Go for a guided hike, throw a potluck picnic or even head out for a pub crawl in a nearby city.
Skip the Shower Gift: With the wedding a few weeks away, many couples choose to forgo an additional wedding gift. If you do welcome presents, ask guests to skip the wrapping paper and just add a bow and a note so the couple knows who to thank.
5. Get Interactive
The bridal shower may be the first opportunity for some friends and family to meet, especially from the two sides of the family. Bridal shower games and activities both break the ice and additionally showcase the bride and her upcoming wedding. Give these a try when getting the whole group involved:
Bridal trivia: Celebrate the happy couple by testing who in the room knows her best! Ask family and friends to contribute a funny or interesting question about the bride and quiz the group. Choose a gift – perhaps a special dessert or bottle of wine – as the prize.
Marriage advice: Create a space for guests to write words of advice and encouragement to the bride as she heads toward the big day. Encourage guests to add notes inside an empty wine bottle, to add to a guest book or ask guests to include the advice in their cards.
Make Flower Crowns: The whole room can feel elegant with their own fresh flower crown to wear throughout the party. Include pre-made wire frames and instructions for delicately adding fresh flowers of their choice. Be sure to encourage guests to take the crowns home as party favors.
Mimosa Bar: Make the food and beverages more the focus of the event while welcoming guests to build their own mimosas with fresh fruit, a variety of fruit juices and extra liquors like elderflower and triple sec.
Involve the Family: Reach out to the bride and groom’s parents and siblings if they are not already assisting with the shower. How can you honor and involve their traditions throughout the day? Ask them for assistance with prep, food contributions or running the shower games.
6. Celebrate the Season
Bridal showers typically occur anywhere between one to four months before the wedding day. If your bride-to-be is planning a spring soiree, then you’re most likely throwing the shower in the heart of winter. Tie your bridal shower ideas into the weather and season for a special personalized touch. This route may also simplify finding décor, specific flowers or greenery and getting your guests in the seasonal spirit.
Bridal shower ideas that fit the season’s theme may include:
- Valentine’s day
- Spring garden party
- Summer gathering by the pool
- Pumpkin picking or another cozy fall outing
- Fourth of July
7. Focus on the Wedding
Showers are also an excellent opportunity to hype up the guests for the big day. Plan a bridal shower that both helps the couple get ready for the wedding and ties in their theme and overall look. For example:
Match the wedding colors: After speaking with the planning team or couple, match the shower to the same color scheme and aesthetic as their upcoming wedding.
Stock the bar: If the couple plans to supply their own alcohol at their wedding, use the shower as an opportunity to stock them up on drinks. This old-fashioned tradition mirrors a potluck party, inviting every guest to bring their favorite wine, beer or spirit to share with guests on their wedding day.
Create a Specific Registry: Many couples include wedding staples on their registry in hopes to use them on the big day itself. These often include the cake cutter, champagne flutes or the guest book. Request that guests check out the bridal shower section or the registry to help with these pre-wedding items.
8. Keep it Eco-Friendly
If you’re looking for ways to trim your budget and plan a green event, follow a few tips to keep the shower eco-friendly:
Potted plants: No need to use cut flowers in bouquets or arrangements to add a natural touch to the space. Decorate the room with small potted plants and succulents and invite guests to take them home to be planted as bridal shower favors.
Go for Glass: It’s easy to find yourself with a lot of garbage after throwing any kind of gathering, especially when it comes to cups, plates and flatware. If you’re hosting a small enough crowd, stick to your own glassware, plates and silverware and create an easy area for guests to drop off their dishes. Purchase or make your own wine charms so everyone can keep track of their cups.
Keep it Digital: Though weddings themselves tend to lean toward traditional stationery, utilize an e-vite system to both welcome and track your guests. This cuts down on money, paper and disorganization. This also encourages guests to RSVP more promptly.
With all of the bridal shower ideas out there, it can feel daunting to start planning this big day from scratch. If you honor the bride and everything that makes her truly one-of-a-kind, all of the planning decisions will fall into place. To fully simplify the process, work with an experienced event venue and team of event coordinators to ensure the day goes smoothly from start to finish.