Your Day, Your Way: Throwing (And Surviving) A Bridal Shower

I was fortunate enough to have a fabulous shower thrown for me recently, but they don't always go so smoothly. Here are a few things to know about bridal showers—whether you’re attending your own or throwing a shower for a friend or family member.


Even if you want the shower to be a surprise to the bride, it’s a good idea to confirm who she would like to have invited. Typically showers include guests who are in proximity to where the shower is being held, but there may be some out-of-town friends and family the bride will want to have included.

It’s also a great idea to include the bride’s website or registry information on the shower invitation. This will help give the guests direction since the invitations might not have been sent yet.


Typically, a bridal shower is held within two months of the wedding date.


If you’re doing a theme, why not incorporate it your centerpieces? You can also use the centerpieces as door prizes if needed. If you’re throwing a shower on a budget, a collection of candles on upside down glasses (to create different heights) can look really nice for example. You can also give your flower budget and the number of centerpieces needed to your local florist to see what they can create for you.


If you’re throwing the shower at a restaurant, your food choices will be slightly limited, but you won't have to worry about the dishes, linens and serving. If you’re throwing the shower at someone’s residence, it’s a nice idea to incorporate a favorite food or favorite drink of the bride into the menu. If you're deciding between cooking for it yourself and having it catered, consider your time when you consider your budget.

Be mindful of the food you want to serve when you pick the time of the shower. Guests will most likely assume a shower around Noon includes lunch; however, if you do not want to include a large meal, have your shower start at a little later, such as 2:30 PM.


While a bridal shower doesn’t need to have a theme, there are a lot of creative themes out there (or you can come up with one of your own!). For example, if the bride likes to cook or bake, you could theme the shower around baking or cooking and ask guests to use this theme for their gifts. It’s also a fun idea to ask guests to bring a favorite recipe and you can compile them for the bride. Your door prizes could be colorful spatulas or cookie cutters. If you want a non-traditional shower, you can have a “Stock the bar” shower where guests (or couples) bring some accessory, liquor or barware to help the bride and groom stock their bar.


You may cringe at the thought of games, but they can help your guests get to know one another, get to know the bride (and groom) better, and let the guests take part in the shower festivities. For some fun game ideas, check out this post written by Pittsburgh-based wedding and event planners, Hello Productions:


While the bride may be tempted to take the gifts and run, it’s customary to open the gifts in front of the guests. It’s a sign of appreciation for their thoughtfulness. Take your time while opening the gifts so that each guest gets their moment in the spotlight,. You also will want to keep the process moving at a good pace. Guests also don’t want to sit for hours as you inspect every gift. Be respectable and appreciative, but remind guests you will spend time rereading the cards and looking at the more closely gifts on your own time. You can express your appreciation in the thank you notes as well.

Groom’s Role

The groom typically doesn’t have to do anything for the shower, but if you’re planning the shower, it’s a nice surprise to ask the groom to show up at the end of the shower. Guests will appreciate seeing the groom and if he wants to take it one step further, he could surprise the bride with flowers (My fiancée not only surprised me with flowers, but had a flower for my mother and grandmother as well!).

Remember …

Have a good time and enjoy yourself! Whether you’re a guest or the guest of honor, the shower will fly by, so try all the foods, have a glass of wine and catch up with the guests. If you're the bride, enjoy being showered with gifts and attention!

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