Friday, October 9, 2015

My Bridal Shower Tips and Timeline

If you are over the age of eighteen and have a Facebook, chances are you know someone who is getting married. And whether it is your best friend or your brother like me, you will most likely be helping your loved ones walk down the isle as a bridesmaid at some point in the near future, if you haven't already.

But being a bridesmaid is about so much more than wearing a pretty dress and getting to carry a bouquet with the wedding's accent colors - it's about being present in the lives of the couple so that they feel your love and support as they gear up to begin this new adventure together. That is why throwing a bridal shower to make the bride feel extra special in the weeks leading up to her wedding can be such a fun and meaningful experience! I had the honor of throwing my sister-in-law, Lyndie, a bridal shower in August, so I thought I would share some tips that I learned along the way so that when it's your turn, you can throw a great shower that the bride will remember for years to come.

3ish Months Before
  • Talk to the bride about what she wants out of her shower. Does she want afternoon tea or an evening get together? Will her family and certain bridesmaids be in town on a particular weekend leading up to the wedding? If many of her loved ones can't convene until a few days before the wedding, hold off until then. Who does she want to invite? Communicate with her, because it will be a day honoring her, after all. 
  • If the shower will take place at a restaurant, private dining room, or other public venue, make the reservations. 
  • Finalize a guest list. 

2 Months Before
  • If other bridesmaids are helping you with the cost of the venue, establish a budget and discuss financial details such as who will pay the venue and who will be reimbursed. 
  • Purchase invitations for the shower or materials to make them. Websites like,, and all have great designs at a good price. 
  • If you are holding the shower at your house and making the menu yourself, sit down and plan out how long it will take you to prepare the food and drinks. Will you be able to do it all the morning of? Will you need to start baking cookies and other treats a few days in advance? These are all things that will creep up on you and stress you out, so it's important to plan your time wisely when you're a few months out. 
  • Compile and double check addresses for the guest list. 
  • Contact the venue about the menu for the shower and order any special items such as cocktails, pastries, tea, etc.

1 Month Before
  • Address and send out invitations. Make sure to include information about the couple's registries and the theme of the shower, if applicable.
  • Make sure the RSVP you include on the invitation is a medium that is easy for you to keep track of! I found that text message was the best method for me. I got RSVP's sent right to my phone and I kept a list of attendees in my notes app. 
  • If guests offered to bring their own treats and recipes to contribute to the shower, get in touch with them and finalize what they are going to bring. 
  • Start shopping for decorations. The venue where we had Lyndie's shower was already super cute, but we wanted to add some personal touches, so we ordered pink napkins from amazon (pink is the bride's favorite color)!

2 Weeks Before
  • If you are ordering flowers, place the order. 
    • Note: My mom and I found that the cheapest option for us was to pick up some big bouquets from the floral department at Kroger and then assemble arrangements in mason jars ourselves. We nestled pink roses into clusters of hydrangeas and wrapped each mason jar in burlap and a pink ribbon! It was a fun project for us to do together and was more cost efficient than it would have been to have ordered flowers and had them delivered to the venue.
  • Buy your shower gift(s) for the bride.
  • Decide on an outfit to wear. 
  • Purchase any ingredients that may be difficult to find if you are making the menu yourself. 
  • For a fun addition, invite the groom to the last 30 to 45 minutes of the shower so the couple can open up their presents together. But, sshh! Don't tell the bride - it will be an added surprise that will make her feel special. 

1 Week Before
  • Contact anyone you have not heard back from with an RSVP. 
  • Confirm your venue reservation, flower order, deliveries, etc. 
  • Assemble/gift wrap favors and/or prizes.
  • Buy groceries, spirits, etc. 
  • Touch base with the bridesmaids if they are bringing anything or have made their own reservations, orders, etc. 
  • It might be a good idea to go to the venue and chat with someone who will actually be working your event so you can brainstorm with them about how the room will be set up and/or any special needs you might have. 

  • Tip #1: Come up with one or two fun (not cheesy) activities for the shower. Generally, something that gets everyone at the shower involved is some sort of trivia game about the bride and/or the couple. 
    • For Lyndie's shower, I downloaded these adorable "Who Knows The Bride Best?" trivia cards. At the shower, everyone filled out a card, including the bride, so we would have an answer sheet. The guest with the most correct answers won a mason jar full of fun, pink favors. We included pink nail polish, a pink nail file, pink lipstick, and even a small bottle of White Zinfandel. 
    • Another activity I came up with to help break the ice and pass the time was a station I set up at one of the tables in the private dining room we were in. I filled a mason jar with a bunch of wooden spoons and placed next to them a chalk board that read, "Grab a spoon and give Lyndie your best advice so she'll have the recipe for a wonderful marriage." All throughout the shower, guests had the opportunity to write Lyndie some words of love and encouragement. It gave guests something to do while trying to break the ice with one another and is also a great gift that Lyndie will have to look back on for years to come. Make sure you include writing utensils! I found that fine tip sharpies worked best on the wooden spoons - regular tips were far too thick and bled all over the place. 
  • Tip #2: If other bridesmaids are helping you host the shower, make sure to include their names somewhere, whether it be on the invitation or displayed at the shower itself. 
  • Tip #3: If you are making your own floral arrangements, a tip I learned is to start with your most substantial flowers first, and add in filler flowers such as baby's breath and other small foliage last. This will make your arrangement look fuller and more professional without as much daunting work on your part. 

  • Tip #4: Find cheap ways to incorporate your theme as much as you can. For our "pink" theme, we bought a bunch of tulle at Hobby Lobby and quickly tied big bows of it around each chair at the venue - It was a quick and easy way to add an even more personal touch. 
  • Tip #5: Contact the venue a few days before the shower to ask if music will be playing. If there aren't speakers at the venue, bring a small jambox or set of speakers and create a fun playlist to have playing during the shower. Like the activities, having music playing breaks the ice and creates a comfortable atmosphere. 
And, that's about it! Yes, hosting a bridal shower does require some planning, but it can be so fun and rewarding for both the bridal party and the bride if done right! I hope you all found these tips helpful! If you have thrown a shower before, what was your experience like? I'd love to hear all about it! Until next time! 

xoxo Kaley

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