An engagement is an exhilarating time in any bride-to-be’s life — but an impending wedding can also be stressful. Even the thought of a bridal shower might seem like too much. Many impending brides insist they don’t want a shower, either because they don’t want the obligation, don’t want the stress, or the thought of a shower sounds dull. So how can you throw a great bridal shower for your best friend? You do a little planning! Here’s a guide to help get you started.

Pick Your Date

A good rule of thumb for a bridal shower is two months before the wedding. However, the earlier you can set the date, the better. The closer the wedding looms, the more stressed and short on time the bride-to-be is likely to get.

Pick Your Guests

When putting together a guest list, the best course of action is to keep it simple and manageable. Worry less about snubbing people and more about staying within your comfort zone. If your bridal shower is a surprise, you have a different challenge ahead of you. Pick the guests you think the bride will most enjoy spending time with.

Find a Venue and Theme

Before you can send out any invitations, you’ll have to find a venue. Depending on your ambition (and budget), this can be anywhere from a relative’s house to a restaurant for a wine-and-cheese tasting. This is also the time to think about themes: will you go with something retro? What kind of bridal shower decorations will you choose? Will there be floral arrangements? A balloon arch? A mimosa bar? These are all things to think about before making those reservations (which you should make as soon as you can).


Invitations should be sent out about four to six weeks before the shower takes place. When it comes to invitations, you can buy them, make personalized invitations, or a combination of both. If your shower is a surprise, make sure to inform your guest of the fact. This is also a great time to pass out registry information, if you have it available. And it never hurts to follow up with emails or phone calls to make sure there are no scheduling snags!


Once you start getting responses, you can start working up your menu (that is, if you’re not holding your shower at a restaurant or other public venue). If your guests have any special dietary needs, be sure to keep them in mind.

Gifts and Favors

Well before the shower, you should pick up your gift for the bride. The traditional rule of thumb for a bridal shower is between $30 and $50, but you can also communicate with the bridesmaids and guests about what you wish to spend. While you’re out shopping, this is also a great time to think about bridal shower favors.


Finally, you can start thinking about what kind of activities (besides gift-opening and alcohol) you want for your bridal shower. Bridal shower games don’t hold appeal for everyone, and can be a source of dread for some guests. Consider some other activities, like a wine tour, photo booth, temporary tattoos, or some other activity that will bring you together as a group.

Remember, unless your bridal shower is a surprise, there’s no harm in getting lots of feedback and input from the bride-to-be about all these details. It’s a party for her, after all, so it might as well include lots of things she’ll love! With a little ingenuity and some planning, you can create a bridal shower that will be a part of everyone’s happy memories forever.