Include These 6 Essential Elements For a Bridal Shower She’ll Absolutely Love

chic outdoor bridal shower

A bridal shower is a gathering of close friends and family to celebrate the bride with gifts, activities, food, and drinks. It’s a centuries-old tradition — and one seriously good reason for a party. Bridal showers are often considered the kickoff to the wedding’s events. Which maaay or may not put a lot of pressure on the host, depending on your vibe.

If you’re the host in question, we put together a killer guide to help you plan a bridal shower that’s equally fun and unforgettable. We’ll kick it off with all the FAQs before we jump into 6 essential elements you need to make the day sing!

{photo above: Anna Delores Photography // see more from this chic summer party}

Who plans a bridal shower?

Traditionally, the maid of honor plans the party with help from the bridesmaids. But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: traditions are not rules. It’s not uncommon for a wedding shower will have multiple hosts. Family members can also co-host, though it’s best to give the mother and future MIL the day off. Oftentimes, the bride has communities in different locations (current city vs. hometown, for example) and therefore may have more than one shower.

Final word: As long as the bride is on board, any close friend or family member can plan the shower — though the maid of honor is expected to lead the way.

Who pays for a bridal shower?

The host(s) pays for the shower. Unlike a bachelorette party, where guests may come prepared to pay for their own food + activities, the shower is completely paid for by those planning the shindig. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to create a budget for the day.

Final word: Hosts pay for the day.

How much does a bridal shower cost?

As the host, it’s up to you. Set a budget to include your major elements: invitations, food, decor, favors, and a gift for the bride. Your budget will scale with each guest invite and will typically start at $10/person for a daytime party hosted in a home. Costs will go up from there — especially if you’re booking out a venue.

Final word: The host sets the budget but plan on $10/head on the low end.

Who gets invited to a bridal shower?

Showers are generally reserved for the bride’s closest friends and relatives. And here’s a rare rule we’d advise you not to break: only guests invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. You can go about putting together a guest list one of two ways. One, ask the bride to create a guest list or two, ask the bride to share the entire wedding guest list and you can create it from there. The latter option might be a better choice for a small wedding where you’re familiar with the guests.

Final word: Close friends and relatives who are also invited to the wedding.

Where to have a bridal shower?

Traditionally, the shower is held in one of the hosts home, but it can be anywhere. The benefit of a home is there is often less to set up and you’ve got a kitchen to work with. But depending on your budget, theme, and time of day, you can host at a park, a restaurant, an event space, a brewery — the options go on and on!

Final word: In the host’s home—or anywhere!

When to send bridal shower invitations?

It’s good to plan the wedding shower 4-8 weeks before the wedding. Make sure it’s far enough in advance to where it’s not a crazy stressful situation for the bride. Invitations should arrive a month before the party date so if you’re mailing them via snail mail, plan accordingly.

Final word: A month before the party date.

PS: Our favorite bridal shower invitations are from Minted! Designed by artists, easy to customize, ready to print and mail:

bold type bridal shower invitation

clementine and cake bridal shower invitation

modern bridal shower invitation with greenery

cute bridal brunch invitation

6 Essential Elements For a Memorable Bridal Shower:

1. Create an Atmosphere

boho picnic miss mays
Creating an atmosphere is more than just great bridal shower decorations or a theme. Though, yes, we are clearly obsessed with great decor!! It’s also important to think about how the bride and guests will experience the day through ALL the five senses. What they hear, via a great playlist, can totally change the atmosphere. Cozy pillows and cushions will create a totally different feel than picnic benches might. And because smell is so strongly associated with memory, choose your candles or essential oils wisely!

image via Miss Mays Picnics tent from Exotic Soirées

pastel spring bridal brunch
Outside or inside, there is no shortage of dreamy ways to create an atmosphere she’ll love!

photo: Liz Barnes Photo // see more from this modern + vibrant bridal shower

2. Food + Drinks

charcuterie boards for a bridal showerNext, it’s time to address taste. Food and drinks are their own essential elements because what is a bridal shower without snacks?! You could go classic with cheese + wine and charcuterie or creative with a chicken + waffle wall! Maybe churros, coconut bowls, or a new take on a tea party would be more your speed. And don’t forget cocktails and treats!!

photo: Lindsey Marie Photography // see more from this intimate + boho bridal shower

3. Bridal Shower Games – Or Something to Structure the Event

hands making flower crowns
It’s important to put structure to the shower via activities and events. At a typical shower, you might play a few games before opening gifts. This is still totally acceptable—especially if it’s fun for the bride! But again, there is no a hard and fast rule. Maybe instead of games, you opt to build flower crowns or share their favorite memories with the bride. Get creative and have fun! Plan on having 2-3 games or activities before opening gifts.

photo: A Raw Collection // see more from this retro glamping party

4. A Short Speech or Toast

girls toasting at brunch
As the hostess, one of the most simple yet impactful things you can do is share a few words about the lady of the hour. It doesn’t need to be super emotional or long! It could be as simple as sending her a little love as you welcome guests. Or if you’re serving a meal, pause to give a toast. It’s easy to get busy with all the details when you’re hosting, so remember to take time to honor the bride.

photo: Karra Leigh Photo // see more from this modern brunch party

5. Bridal Shower Favors

citrus soap bridal shower favors
Yes, you’re showering the bride, but you’re also creating a fun experience for your guests! Favors are a super-sweet way to close out the day and pass out a little love. You could go DIY (here’s an easy grapefruit scrub), or pick up some sheet masks and nail polish. Favors could also be food gifts or mini flower bouquets! Think of something the bride would enjoy and let that influence your ideas.

photo: Harper & Grace Photography // see more from this citrusy summer party

6. Always Leave Them Wanting More

girls at vintage garden party bridal shower
THE KEY to a good party. If people are looking at their phones to check the time, it’s not a good look. It’s hard to find a balance between too little and too much, but if you can find the sweet spot then your golden! You don’t need five games and a 3-course meal, but planning with a little margin is definitely a good call. Read the room as you go — and don’t forget to enjoy it!

photo: Jenavieve Belair // see more from this vintage garden party shower

Party on with more bridal shower ideas right this way!