how to plan a bridal shower

by | May 11, 2024 | planning tips

Planning a bridal shower is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the bride-to-be with love, laughter, and unforgettable memories.

If you’re wondering how to plan a bridal shower that truly shines, you’ve come to the right place.

Here at Picnic Makers, we specialize in creating magical moments and are eager to help you organize a bridal shower that will be talked about for years to come.

Navigate through the ideas:

Bridal shower vs. wedding shower: what’s the difference?

When it comes to pre-wedding celebrations, understanding the difference between a bridal and a wedding shower is key. Let’s break it down:

Bridal shower

  • Typically includes the bride and her female friends and relatives.
  • A celebration focused on showering the bride-to-be with gifts and well wishes.
  • Creates an intimate and special gathering for the bride and her closest female loved ones.

Wedding shower

  • Involves both the bride and groom, with guests of all genders.
  • A joint celebration that encompasses the couple’s social circles.
  • It allows guests to come together and celebrate the upcoming wedding.

Choosing between a bridal shower and a wedding shower depends on the couple’s preferences and the nature of their social circles. Understanding this difference will help you plan an event that aligns perfectly with the couple’s desires, creating a memorable and inclusive celebration for all.

bridal shower planning checklist

Bridal shower planning tips + FREE checklist

The journey of planning a bridal shower can be as enjoyable as the event itself.

Follow these detailed steps to ensure that every aspect of the celebration perfectly aligns with the bride’s dreams and your vision for an extraordinary day.

1. Set up the budget

Establishing a budget is a crucial first step in planning a bridal shower.

Before you get caught up in the details of excitement, decide on a spending limit. This will inform your choices regarding the venue, cuisine, decorations, and other elements, ensuring you manage your resources effectively.

Traditionally, the host or hosts pay for the bridal shower.

This often includes the maid of honor, bridesmaids, or other close friends or family members organizing the event.

The expenses can be shared among the organizers, and while it’s possible to ask for contributions from guests, this should be approached with sensitivity to avoid any awkwardness.

Nowadays, it’s common for the couple to pitch in, especially for lavish or large-scale showers.

This can help accommodate a more extravagant celebration without overburdening the traditional hosts.

Bridal shower budget examples:

  • Modest Gathering 💐 For smaller, more straightforward showers, budgets range from $300 to $500.
  • Mid-Range Affair 🎉 A mid-sized shower with enhanced decorations and food might range between $500 to $1,500.
  • Lavish Event ✨ Budgets for a large, elaborate bridal shower, especially in a high-cost area or a luxurious venue, can easily exceed $1,500 or more.

Need a step-by-step planning checklist? Just make a copy of our Bridal Shower Checklist FREE TEMPLATE.

best bridal shower games

2. Compile the guest list

At Picnic Makers, we understand that crafting the guest list for a bridal shower is a delicate process. It’s essential to consider whether you’re planning a cozy, intimate event or a larger, more vibrant celebration.

This choice directly influences your venue selection and budget planning.

Include the bride’s closest friends and family members, as is tradition.

Nowadays, inviting male friends and family to join the festivities is also thoughtful.

Always coordinate with the bride to honor her preferences, ensuring those invited to the shower are also on the wedding guest list. This alignment is key to a seamless celebration.

Download Bridal Shower Guest List Invitation Tracker.

3. Choose the date

At Picnic Makers, we recommend scheduling the bridal shower a few weeks to a few months before the wedding.

This allows the bride to relax between her shower and the big day.

To pick a date, consult with key attendees such as bridesmaids and close family members to ensure their availability.

Selecting a date that accommodates these essential guests will make for a memorable gathering.

4. Select the venue

Choosing the right location for a bridal shower is crucial. Venues range from private homes to restaurants, parks, or even unique spots like spas or cooking classes tailored to the shower’s theme.

When selecting a venue, consider the guest count, your budget, logistical convenience, and, importantly, the bride’s personal preferences.

This careful consideration ensures the venue enhances the overall experience of the bridal shower.

bachelorette party things to do

5. Send out the invitations

Invitations for a bridal shower should ideally be sent out four to six weeks before the event.

This gives guests ample time to RSVP, shop for gifts, and make travel arrangements.

Ensure the invite mentions the event’s date, time, and location, and don’t forget to include the bride’s gift registry information.

6. Select the bridal shower theme

Choosing the right theme is crucial for setting the tone of your bridal shower and making it a truly memorable occasion.

Let these creative and stylish theme ideas inspire your planning. Ensure that every detail reflects the bride’s personality and the joy of the upcoming celebration.

Luxury pop-up picnic 🍾

Imagine an exclusive, elegant outdoor gathering tailored just for your bridal shower.

birthday luxury pop-up picnic in LA

Picnic Makers brings this vision to life with our bespoke luxury pop-up bridal shower picnics. Set in beautiful, picturesque locations, our picnics blend the serenity of nature with the sophistication of a fine dining experience.

This theme isn’t just about eating outside; it’s about celebrating in style with a touch of luxury that everyone will remember. Perfect for those who love the blend of natural beauty and upscale comfort.

Let us handle the details while you and your guests indulge in a lavish picnic experience that everyone will remember.

Vintage tea party 🌸

Transport your guests to a bygone era with a charming vintage tea party. Arrange delicate teacups, lace tablecloths, enchanting floral arrangements, and a pink backdrop to evoke a sense of old-world nostalgia and elegance.

This theme is perfect for a bridal shower that combines classic beauty with a touch of whimsy.

Tropical paradise 🍍

Turn your bridal shower into a vibrant tropical paradise that feels like a getaway. Decorate with lush palm leaves, bright pineapples, and bold floral arrangements to create a lively and festive atmosphere.

This theme is ideal for a celebration that’s as fun and colorful as it is unforgettable.

Parisian chic 🇫🇷🥐

Bring the sophistication of Paris to your bridal shower with a chic Parisian theme. Set the scene with Eiffel Tower centerpieces, indulge in delectable French pastries, and decorate with elegant black and white accents.

This theme captures the essence of French elegance, making your celebration a stylish and sophisticated affair.

For more inspiring themes, visit our comprehensive guide on the top 30 best bridal shower ideas, curated by Picnic Makers.

7. Decide on menu

The menu should perfectly complement the time of day, theme, and the bride’s tastes.

For a morning event, consider a delightful brunch selection. For an afternoon or evening shower, you might choose from a variety of lunch or dinner menus or perhaps a mix of appetizers and desserts.

Options could include a formal sit-down meal, a casual buffet, or even a charming picnic-style spread. Always remember to accommodate any dietary restrictions to ensure all guests can enjoy the feast.

8. Organize the activities & entertainment

Planning a mix of activities and entertainment will ensure that the bridal shower is memorable and engaging.

Traditional activities often feature bridal shower games, gift-giving, and light-hearted fun that celebrates the couple’s journey to marriage.

The opening of the bride’s gifts usually stands out as a festive highlight, sparking joy and anticipation among the attendees. Including a wishing well for guests to deposit heartfelt notes or keepsakes can also add a deeply personal element to the celebration.

Tailor these activities to reflect cultural traditions and personal tastes to craft a truly unique and heartfelt event for the bride and her guests.

bridal shower activities

9. Arrange for transport

When planning a bridal shower, consider transportation logistics, especially if the venue is not easily accessible for most guests or if there will be alcohol. We recommend facilitating transport options for your guests.

This could be as straightforward as providing details for local taxi services or as organized as arranging a shuttle bus.

Such arrangements allow guests to enjoy the festivities fully without concerns about their return journey.

10. Send thank you notes

Following the bridal shower, it is a thoughtful and gracious practice for the bride-to-be to send thank-you notes to all attendees.

This gesture not only shows gratitude for their gifts and presence but also leaves a positive, lasting impression.

It’s a beautiful way to conclude the celebration on a heartfelt note.

Download Bridal Shower Checklist FREE TEMPLATE.


thank you bridal shower letter

Bridal shower itinerary example

Creating a structured itinerary ensures that your bridal shower runs smoothly. Here’s an example from Picnic Makers to guide you:

  • 11:00 AM: Guests arrive, welcome drinks served
  • 11:30 AM: Icebreaker games begin
  • Noon: Brunch buffet opens
  • 1:00 PM: Toasts and short speeches from close friends and family
  • 1:30 PM: Bride opens gifts, with guests gathered around
  • 2:00 PM: Dessert and casual mingling
  • 3:00 PM: Final thanks from the bride and close of the event

This timeline can be adjusted based on your specific needs and the overall vibe you want for the event.

Who usually plans a bridal shower?

Traditionally, the bridal shower is planned by the maid of honor with the help of the bridesmaids.

Family members often contribute, though it’s usually friends who take the lead.

At Picnic Makers, we encourage collaboration to ensure the event reflects the bride’s personality.

Knowing how to plan a bridal shower involves understanding the bride’s preferences and ensuring the celebration is tailored to her.

How long does the bridal shower usually last?

A bridal shower typically lasts about three to four hours.

This duration allows enough time for guests to enjoy activities, food, and company without feeling rushed.

When learning how to plan a bridal shower, it’s important to consider the flow of the event to ensure there’s a good balance between scheduled activities and free time for guests to socialize.

Planning a bridal shower is more than just preparing for a party; it’s about creating an event filled with love, support, and camaraderie. It’s a treasured occasion that the bride-to-be will remember fondly for years.

If you are planning a traditional event or looking for an extraordinary experience, this step-by-step guide will help you create a smooth and enjoyable bridal shower.

We at Picnic Makers can help transform your vision into reality. As a leading LA luxury picnic company, we provide tailor-made experiences for your needs and preferences. Serving Los Angeles, Orange County, and Malibu, we strive to make your bridal shower unforgettable.


What’s the difference between a bridal and a wedding shower?

A bridal shower typically focuses on the bride and involves primarily female attendees. A wedding shower includes the bride and groom, with guests of all genders invited.

How can I decide on the best date for the bridal shower?

Bridal showers usually occur a few weeks to a few months before the wedding. Before finalizing the date, consult with key attendees like the bridesmaids and close family members.

Who should be invited to the bridal shower?

The guest list for a bridal shower typically includes the bride’s closest friends and family members. If the event is a wedding shower, male friends and family are invited. Consult with the bride when making the guest list.

What are some unique themes or entertainment ideas for a bridal shower?

You could choose a specific color scheme or a more detailed theme, like a luxury beach picnic party or high tea. For entertainment, consider hiring a professional (like a musician or comedian), setting up a DIY photo booth, or creating a slideshow of photos of the couple.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you purchase through these links at no extra cost.

Olga and Vlad Picnic Makers

Vlad and Olga

Hello, beautiful souls! 🌸 We’re Vlad and Olga, the storytellers behind each journey. Join us on this adventure as we share tales of joy, celebration, and a life well-lived. Thanks for being part of our magical story! 🌟

Learn more >> About Us >> Contact Us

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