Bridal showers are a great way to not only congratulate the bride-to-be, but to also get together with friends and family, and spend quality time with them, because when else will you have the time to do a much-needed gossip session with all your gal-pals.
The responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the organizer to throw the most fun-filled and enjoyable bridal shower for the bride and all the attending guests, so we understand how pressure inducing it can be. The first thing to do when planning a bridal shower is to make an itinerary, and a schedule for the event, which will help you get a layout of how the event should go.
This article gives you an example itinerary of a bridal shower schedule, for you to use as an inspiration to plan the ideal bridal shower. Read on ahead to get a gist of what a bridal shower should include, what activities you can plan, what food catering to go with, and what mistakes you can avoid while planning.
Bridal Shower Schedule – How to plan the event
In order to plan a successful bridal shower, here is a timeline and the steps that you should follow in order, starting from the most important:
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1. Decide who will host and plan the bridal shower
The bridal shower is usually hosted by the maid-of-honor, bridesmaids, or close friends and family.
Before a war breaks out over who doesn’t or does want to take over the planning for the event, hold an impromptu meeting to decide who the most suitable person is to plan the bridal shower. Of course, there can always be more than one person taking over the planning, so choose a one man or two-man team by consensus.
Bear in mind that the bride cannot throw herself a bridal shower, because that would defeat the entire purpose of it. Nowadays, the trend is to have the maid-of-honor, the mother or the sisters of the bride organize the bridal shower for her. However, you can seek advice from the bride as to what food she wants at the event or seek help from the other girls close to the bride.
2. Work out the budget and the financials
Before planning anything from catering to decorations, the first thing you need to do as the host is to devise a budget for how much the cost could be, based on the potential venue options and food catering costs. For reference, Paunveiled lists some estimates of the average bridal shower costs:
- Home backyard party ($15-$25 per person, $225-$375 for 15 guests)
- Restaurant party ($20-$40 per person, $300-$600 for 15 guests)
- Smaller venue outside/inside ($50-$140 per person, $750-$2100 for 15 guests)
- Larger venue ($150-$200 per person, $2250-$3000 for 15 guests)
To decide who pays for the bridal shower, first draw up the finances to see if you as the host or the organizer alone can bear all the costs. If not, then contact the mother or sisters of the bride, any cousins who would be willing to contribute, and the close friends so that they can share the burden of the costs with you.
It doesn’t seem fair for one person to bear all the cost anyway, so it’s better to divide the total costs among all the friends and family willing to pay.
3. Find a suitable venue and select a date
The next step after figuring out the budget is to find a suitable location given the budget and the bride’s preference. Ask the bride where she would prefer to have her bridal shower and match that preference as closely as you can.
However, if the bride wants her bridal shower location to be a surprise for her, then it’s better to ask her closest friends and family and take in their location suggestions before finalizing.
When you’ve finalized a venue, the next thing is to select the date for the event. For this you will need to keep in mind the optimal days of the week, for example, the weekends. You can also call up the bride’s closest friends and ask about their availability. Just make sure the bridal shower date isn’t too close to the wedding date, as that can be stressful for the bride.
Once the date is set, work on booking the venue for that date, especially if it’s a restaurant or an open space, as bookings run out pretty fast. You should ideally book the event at least 3 months before the bridal shower is supposed to happen, since that’ll give you a heads start to plan and organize everything else.
4. Hire a food catering and decorations company
Select a suitable decorations company to set up the venue, or if the venue itself has their own decorators, set up a meeting with them and give them examples as to how you expect the decorations, the theme, and the activities to be. You can also consult the bride on what the decorations should look like, as the bride is the main character of this party.
The next thing is to hire a food catering company for the bridal shower. Stick to the menu that the bride will most likely enjoy, and foods that are easy to eat, nothing too complicated or extravagant, as that’ll put a dent in your budget.
If the bridal shower time is in the afternoon, plan a light buffet menu, and if it’s in the morning, a brunch menu would be best.
5. Write up the guest list and send out invitations
Who do you invite to the bridal shower? This is the most crucial question that is hard to find an answer to. The guest lists are all-female, and the closer they are to the bride, the better. If your guest list intends to be super short, only include the closest family members, friends, and co-workers of the bride, quality over quantity.
Never invite people to the bridal shower who you know are not invited to the wedding, as that can come off as rude and disrespectful.
According to Brides, you should also not invite people who are not as close to the bride, as a bridal shower event is supposed to be super intimate. After making a list, ask the bride if she wants to include or not invite any of the guests.
After this, get the invitation cards printed (or send them virtually) to the guests at least one and a half months before the bridal shower date. This will give the guests some time to RSVP and plan their travel schedule around the bridal shower.
6. Plan your itinerary for the big day
A typical bridal shower lasts between 2-4 hours, any longer than that and the guests will start getting tired, so plan the itinerary accordingly. A planned itinerary will give you an idea of how the event is supposed to go and what activities are to be expected.
An example itinerary is as follows:
12:00 pm: Guests arrive and get seated
12:30 – 1:30 pm: They food and drinks are served
2:00 – 3:00 pm: Guests get handed the party favors and participate in activities or games
3:00 – 3:30 pm: The bride opens her gifts
4:00 pm: The guests bid their goodbyes to the bride and the host, and you wind up the event
7. Host the event and welcome the guests
As the host or hosts, you will have to not only make sure that everything is in place before the guests arrive on the big day, but you will also have to welcome the guests to the venue.
The best way to do that is to either hire a concierge to stand beside you and take the gifts from the guests as they come while you welcome them, and another staff to direct the guests to their seats and tables once the pleasantries are out of the way.
This ordeal usually takes somewhere between 15-20 minutes, so all the guests should have arrived before you serve the drinks and the food. If there’s a guest missing, be prepared to contact them and check when they’ll be arriving.
8. Serve the food and drinks
After all the guest list is in attendance, you can go ahead and get the meal going. The food and drinks should already be set up from the time the guests start arriving, so that the hosts can grab something quick to drink if they’re feeling parched from all the greetings and introductions.
Make a quick announcement to let the guests know that food has been served, and usher them to the meal table as a polite gesture. If a dish is in shortage a while after the meal has been opened, make sure to direct a server’s attention to it and refill the dish for the guests. Also direct the servers to go around the tables and ask the bride and guests if they need anything else.
9. Introduce the party favors and games
After the meal is out of the way within the hour, you can start organizing the games and make an announcement that the games are about to be started so the guests can finish their food in due time. Make sure that the bride has eaten her meal before starting the games, and make sure to have a variety of games available to play to fit the guests’ diverse preferences.
Make sure to include everyone in the games, and make teams where necessary for games like charades. As a fun alternative, you can ask the guests to fill in the bride trivia, and answer questions like where her first date was with the groom, or who said ‘I love you’ first. These games will get the guests acquainted with each other and make for a comfortable environment.
Afterwards, you can hand out the party favors. These favors can be prepared beforehand and could be frosted cookies, customized glasses or scarves, et cetera.
10. Bridal gift opening, guest goodbyes and wind up
After the games have all been played and the party favors handed out, it’s time for the bride to open her gifts and thank the attending guests. The host or hosts can also toast to the bride and say a few heartfelt words to the bride.
After the gift opening and the toasts, it’s time to bid farewell to the guests and guide them out. When all the guests and the bride have left, you can start cleaning up the venue or direct the staff to do so.
If you’re organizing a bridal shower schedule for your sister or best friend’s wedding, we can understand the kind of pressure that comes with the responsibility of organizing the bridal shower schedule. We hope this article answers your question of what the best bridal shower schedule is to follow and why, and wish that you use this information to throw the best party for the bride-to-be.
Serena & Dominic are a married couple and parents to 3 wonderful children. They plan weddings, run multiple small businesses, and curate wedding events.
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