A bridal shower or couple’s shower typically takes place two to three months before the wedding day, but planning this event should start at least three months before that. There are a lot of pieces involved with putting together a successful bridal shower. To help you stay organized, we have put together this helpful bridal shower planning checklist to help you plan an amazing celebration for the bride-to-be or couple-to-be.
Three (or More) Months Before
Decide who’s hosting.
Traditionally, the maid of honor plans and hosts the bridal shower with support from the rest of the bridal party. However, anyone can host the shower (yes, including the mother of either party) so be sure to nail down who’s hosting before starting to plan the event.
What type of shower does the Bride and/or Couple desire.
Before you begin planning, talk with the bride and/or couple to nail down some of the details. First, find out do they want a shower at all (not everyone does!)? Are there dates or times that won’t work? Is there a particular theme or place they have in mind for the shower? Do they prefer a big or small shower? Although most of the bridal shower details and decisions will be up to you, keep this input in mind while planning.
Pick a Theme.
Choosing a theme will set the tone for the entire bridal shower, from the invitations to the decorations, refreshments and more. Check with the bride or couple to see if they have a specific theme in mind. If not, be sure to get their approval on whatever you choose. Note that a shower doesn’t have to have a theme, but it can make the planning process easier. Some of our favorite ideas are a garden party, citrus brunch party, pretty in pink, mint to be or you could opt for a specific color scheme or a “general bride” theme. Also decide if the theme will affect gift giving (for example, a stock the bar shower theme means that all guests should purchase a bar item for the bride and/or couple).
Set the date and time.
Finding a date and time that works for the bride and/or couple, the wedding party and close family and friends can be one of the trickiest tasks on the bridal shower planning checklist. Typically the bridal shower takes place two to three months before the wedding, however it can be sooner or closer to the big day if that’s the only time that will work. Talk to the guest of honor about any scheduling conflicts and confirm potential dates with other VIPs (mothers of bride and groom, wedding party, etc.)
Create a budget.
Next establish a budget for your event because things can add up fast! Work with any co-hosts to come up with a total budget. We have put together a budget spreadsheet to help you keep track of what you have spent so you don’t go over your budget. We suggest downloading it to your Google Drive and share it with anyone who will be helping you pay for the shower!
Create the guest list.
A bridal shower guest list typically includes members of the wedding party, close family from both sides, and close friends, depending on the desired size of the event and the venue’s capacity. Just remember this one etiquette rule: Anyone you invite to the shower must also be invited to the wedding!
Compile addresses for the guest list.
Whether you’re sending out printed or online bridal shower invitations, it’s important to gather guests’ mailing or email addresses so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Happily Connected’s free Bridal Shower Guest List tool can help you gather addresses and organize your guest list in minutes.
Choose and book a venue.
Bridal showers are often hosted at someone’s home, but they can also take place at country clubs, spas, restaurants, bars, event spaces and more. Remember the size of your venue can dictate how many guests you can invite to the shower. We recommend creating the guest list before you choose where to host the event. This will help you narrow down venue options so that you’re only looking at spaces that can accommodate your party size. Check out the venues on Happily Connected and tour your favorites and put down a deposit to reserve the one you have chosen.
Hire any vendors.
After you have decided on where to host the shower, it’s now time to hire any pros you will need for the event.
Make sure the couple’s wedding registry is finalized.
To help guests purchase gifts the couple wishes for, make sure they have set up their registry and shared the information on their wedding website. It is also helpful to add their registry information on the shower invitation.
Two Months Before
We recommend sending shower invitations no later than 6 weeks from the event to give time for people to plan especially if any loved ones will need to travel Also, make sure to include information about the couple’s registry. And, if the shower is a themed party, provide proper gift-giving instructions. Make sure to include RSVP information so that you will know how many people to expect in attendance. RSVPs should be due about two weeks before the celebration.
Create a floor plan of the venue to facilitate decorating and setting up.
Whether you’re hosting the shower at someone’s home or an event space, it’s important to have an idea of how the room will be set up so you can plan and decorate accordingly.
Finalize decisions on decor, activities, games etc.
Schedule a planning session with fellow hosts to finalize decisions about table linens, flowers, menu, decorations, favors, music, games and activities.
Assign tasks and make a detailed to-do list.
Once the above decisions are made, you’ll also want to decide who is responsible for obtaining or creating supplies, setting up, organizing games, recording gifts, making the ribbon bouquet, etc. Create a to-do list that outlines assigned tasks, so everyone knows what to do and when.
One Month Before
Purchase Items for the Shower
It’s time to start purchasing everything you need for the bridal shower!
At least two weeks before the bridal shower, you’ll want to reach out to any vendors you’ve hired to confirm details, timing and more. If you hired a planner to help out, they can handle this task (and many others!) for you.
Create a day-of timeline.
A bridal shower timeline is a must to ensure that everything is set up and everything runs smoothly. This timeline should include everything from arrivals to gift opening, games, food service, speeches and more, to make sure enough time is allotted for each activity.
Two (or More) Weeks Before
At least two weeks before the shower Now’s follow up with any guests who haven’t RSVP’d to confirm if they’re attending the shower or not. It’s also nice to send a friendly reminder text or email to guests to let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them at the event.
While assigned seating isn’t the norm at bridal showers, if you’re going that route, it’s time to create your seating chart, make place cards, etc.
Organize everything you have purchased and double check you have everything you will need for the shower. Make a list of anything you are missing so you can purchase it.
Assemble decorations and favors.
Set aside some time to DIY or assemble the bridal shower favors and any other items you are creating or that need assembled.
Yes, even the hosts have to purchase a bridal shower gift! Make it easy on yourself and purchase something from the couple’s registry or choose a meaningful gift that reflects your relationship with the bride.
Make a shopping list for the food and drinks.
If you’re preparing the food, now’s the time to make a list of everything you’ll need. Of course, hiring a caterer or hosting the shower at a restaurant means you can skip this step!
Purchase spirits, if you’re having cocktails.
If you’re serving cocktails, buying your own alcohol can be a huge money-saver (if the venue allows it, that is!). Remember if alcohol is being served at a venue that isn’t a private home, a professional and licensed bartender will need to be on hand to serve the booze.
Create a music playlist.
Music can really set the tone for your event, so creating a playlist in advance is an important step on the bridal shower checklist. Use upbeat songs that focus on romance and make sure not to play the music to loud so that guests can still conversate with each other and the bride-to-be or couple-to-be.
Pick up any important items.
Whether you’re using an heirloom cake stand or showcasing family photos, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need on hand at least a week before the shower.
One Week Before
Confirm reservations, orders and delivery times.
In the week prior to the bridal shower, spend some time confirming details and times with the venue vendors and anyone else who’s contributing items or services to the event.
Organize shower games and activities.
If you are having games and activities, make sure you have all the necessary supplies to ensure they go off without a hitch.
One Day Before
Prepare food (if applicable).
If you’re responsible for preparing any menu items, you’ll want to make sure that everything is prepped the day before the event.
Pick up cake or other desserts.
Pick up the cake and other desserts and keep them in a cool place.
Set up the shower
When it comes to setting up for a bridal shower, the sooner the better! If you’re able to access your venue the day before the event, set up everything you can. If you aren’t able to start setting up until the day of the shower, do as much as you can at home, whether that’s creating centerpieces, organizing game supplies, or putting together the cupcake tower.
Touch base with the other hosts.
Contact the other hosts to make sure everyone has a copy of the timeline and knows what time to arrive on the big day!
Run any last-minute errands and to-dos.
Be sure to run any last-minute errands or to-dos the day or night before to avoid scrambling on the day of the shower.
Gather items and pack the car.
Don’t forget to bring items like scissors, garbage bags, paper plates (for the ribbon bouquet), paper and a pen. Make sure your car is all packed up and ready to go before going to bed the night before the shower.
Day-of Bridal Shower Checklist
- Arrive to the venue early.
- Bring supplies to the venue if you haven’t already.
- Decorate the space.
- Set up signage and favors.
- Arrange food and beverages.
- Greet guests.
- Make sure to record gifts as they are received.
- Create the ribbon bouquet/hat.
- Host and play games.
- Have the best time celebrating the bride-to-be or couple-to-be!
Click the button below to downoad the free bridal shower planning checklist you can check off. We suggest downloading it to your Google Drive and share it with anyone who will be helping you check off your wedding planning list!