The Ultimate Guide to Planning The Perfect Bridal Shower

Hosting a bridal shower is a beautiful way to celebrate and spoil a bride-to-be. But what exactly do you need to know if you’ve been tasked with organising this pre-wedding event?

From etiquette tips (like who hosts, who pays, and who’s actually invited!) to bridal invitation wording, we’ve got all of the answers to your bridal shower FAQs below. Keep reading for our ultimate guide on how to plan and host the perfect bridal shower, including some bridal shower activities to inspire you.

Photo by Roxanne McClure

What Is a Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower is typically a female-only, pre-wedding gathering dedicated to the bride-to-be. Simply put, it’s an opportunity to get the bride and her closest female friends and relatives together to meet and mingle before the wedding. And, as the name suggests, it’s also an occasion to “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts in celebration of her upcoming marriage!

So, What’s The Difference Between a Bridal Shower and a Bachelorette Party?

Bridal showers and bachelorette parties are both pre-wedding events for the bride and her closest ladies, but there are a few key differences between the two.

While bachelorette parties are renowned for being a little on the wild side, a bridal shower typically has a more intimate, sophisticated and civilised tone. Unlike a bachelorette party, a bridal shower is usually hosted during the day with a multi-generational guest list including family members and older relatives.

Hosting a bridal shower in addition to a bachelorette party allows the bride to celebrate with guests who may not be comfortable at a traditional hens night, such as the mother-of-the-bride, aunts, and grandparents. And, let’s be honest, it’s a good excuse to throw another pre-wedding party!

Photo by Haute Off The Rack

Who Hosts The Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower is usually hosted by the maid of honor (with help from the bridesmaids), the bride or groom’s mother, or another close female relative. The host of the bridal shower will be responsible for choosing a suitable venue, putting the guest list together, sending invitations, tracking RSVPs and organising food, drinks, and activities. If you’ve been tasked with hosting a bridal shower, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to help you bring everything together!

When Should You Host a Bridal Shower?

The best time to host a bridal shower is between 2 months and 2 weeks before the wedding. This gives the bride-to-be a couple of weeks to relax before the big day, while also being close enough that the excitement is really starting to build! 

Who Should Be Invited to a Bridal Shower?

Bridal showers tend to be intimate gatherings with just a small selection of the bride’s closest loved ones. Typically, this will be the maid of honor, bridesmaids, mother-of-the-bride, mother-of-the-groom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandmothers.

To create the perfect bridal shower guest list, you can simply ask the bride-to-be to provide a list of invitees. Alternatively, if the bridal shower is a total surprise, you can collaborate with the bridal party and other close family members to create a suitable guest list.

The only rule? Make sure any guests who are invited to the bridal party are also invited to the wedding!

Who Pays For The Bridal Shower?

Traditionally, whoever hosts the bridal shower is also responsible for footing the bill. It’s not considered correct etiquette to ask for financial contributions from guests, as they’ll already be bringing gifts. However, if the maid of honor is hosting the bridal shower, the costs can be split between the other bridesmaids, too.

With this being said, bridal showers tend to be low-key, budget-friendly celebrations! You can keep the costs down by hosting the bridal shower at someone’s home, providing share platters and finger food rather than plated meals, using digital invitations, and organising low-cost or no-cost activities.

Photo by Photography By Lauryn

What Happens at a Bridal Shower?

Okay, so now that the etiquette guidelines are out of the way, what actually happens at a bridal shower?

There are no strict rules to follow, but most bridal showers will include a mix of food, drinks, games, activities and “showering” the bride with gifts. A bridal shower can be planned around a certain meal (like brunch, lunch or afternoon tea), or a certain activity (like flower arranging, painting or pottery making). The bride-to-be may also take the opportunity to present her bridal party and close family members with a gift or token of appreciation, too.

The perfect “theme” or schedule for a bridal shower will ultimately come down to the bride-to-be and the guestlist for the day. You’ll want to plan something tailored to the bride’s personality and interests, while also ensuring each guest (especially elderly relatives) are comfortable. 

Bridal Shower Invitations and Wording Examples

Once a date has been locked in, when should you send out bridal shower invitations? We’d recommend sending the bridal shower invitations between 4 to 6 weeks before the event. 

You’ll want to make sure your bridal shower invitations include:

  • The bride’s name
  • An invitation to celebrate the bride
  • Date, time and location
  • RSVP date and method
  • Registry information (optional)
  • The name of the host or hosts (optional)
  • Details about the bridal shower “theme” or activity (optional)
  • Dress code/attire (optional)

The wording of your bridal shower invitations should be used to set the right tone for the event. If you’re planning a more formal event like a sophisticated high tea, you may want to use traditional, classic wording. Or, for a more low-key event, you can keep it casual!

Some greeting examples for a traditional bridal shower invitation could include:

  • Please join us for a bridal shower honoring (bride)
  • Help us shower (bride) with love before the big day
  • You’re invited to help us celebrate (bride)
  • You’re invited to attend the bridal shower of (bride)
  • Help us celebrate (bride) before she ties the knot
  • Please join us in showering (bride) with love and well wishes, at a party in her honor

For example:

“Please join us for a bridal shower honoring
Jemima McDonald
Saturday, September 9th at 11.00am
at 12 Penny Lane, Arrowtown
Hosted with love by the bridesmaids
RSVP to Megan at (contact number/email) by August 25th”

If you’re hosting a more informal bridal shower, you can include fun, relaxed language instead. Some greeting examples for a casual bridal shower invitation could include:

  • Let’s help this Miss become a Mrs!
  • Time for tea with the bride-to-be!
  • Join us for brunch with the future Mrs!
  • Help us celebrate our favourite girl, (bride)!
  • Let’s pop the bubbly for the bride-to-be!
  • All you need is love… and mimosas
  • Join us for a bridal shower fiesta as we celebrate (bride)!

For example:

“Let’s help this Miss become a Mrs!
Join us as we celebrate our favourite girl Jemima
with a relaxed bridal brunch at 12 Penny Lane, Arrowtown
Celebrations kick off at 11am!
Please RSVP to Megan at (contact number/email) by August 25th”

Photo by Caroline Tran Photography

Bridal Shower Games and Activities

Looking for the best bridal shower games and activities? Draw inspiration from these ideas below:

  • Date night jar: Have each guest write down their favourite date night suggestion for the bride and her fiance. Put all of the ideas into a jar and present it to the bride as a fun (and practical!) gift for the future.
  • Flower arranging: Set-up a DIY “flower bar” with fresh or dried flowers, twine, scissors and wire for guests to create their own bouquets or flower crowns.
  • Toilet paper wedding dress. Divide guests into smaller teams of 3-5 people, and provide each team with a roll of toilet paper. Set the timer for 20 minutes and challenge each team to create the best DIY wedding dress using only their roll of toilet paper (no tape or pins allowed!). End the challenge with a fashion show and have the bride-to-be select the winning team.
  • He said, she said: Create your own set of trivia questions tailored to the bride and her fiance, such as “Who said I love you first?”, “Who is the best cook?” or “Who would be more likely to cry during their vows?”. Provide each guest with answer cards, and have everyone tally up their correct answers at the end to find the winner.
  • Whose memory is this: Have each guest write down their favourite memory with the bride, and put all of the answers into a basket. Ask the bride to read out each answer while the guests try to guess who each memory belongs to.
  • Cocktail making competition: Set out a range of different ingredients, mixers and garnishes for guests to compete in a cocktail making competition. Have the bride taste each one to choose her favourite!
  • Wedding Pictionary: Simply follow the same rules as traditional Pictionary, but make all prompts “wedding” themed. You could also put a wedding twist on other classic party games like Charades or Scattergories, too.
  • Paint and sip: Set up your own “Paint and Sip” party at home! Provide each guest with an easel, canvas, paint brushes and paints, and choose an artwork for everyone to replicate. If your bridal shower has a specific theme (eg: floral, festival, nautical), you might want to choose an artwork that reflects this.
  • Lawn games: If you have the space available, why not set up some lawn games? Think ring toss, croquet or giant jenga.
  • Tours and experiences: For a less traditional experience, you can also consider organising something like a winery tour, pottery class, cooking class, spa day or boat trip. Just make sure the chosen experience is suitable for all guests, and be aware that the costs will be higher.
Photo by Artiese Studios

Planning a Bridal Shower Like a Pro

Remember, the purpose of a bridal shower is to make the bride-to-be relax and feel special before the big day. Don’t stress too much about throwing an extravagant celebration – as long as the bride is surrounded by her favourite group of people, you really can’t go wrong!

Looking for more ways to nail your role as maid of honor? Read these 13 important maid of honor duties you can’t forget to do!