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How to Give The Perfect Bridal Shower with Great Ideas, Helpful Tips and Videos, Do's and Dont's

Updated on August 7, 2017

Guys and Gals Shower

Guys and gals shower photo by Nancy Mcclintock
Guys and gals shower photo by Nancy Mcclintock | Source
A christmas theme Bridal Shower
A christmas theme Bridal Shower | Source
Arrangement from Grocery store flowers
Arrangement from Grocery store flowers | Source
Sisters working together to give a shower for a mutual friend or future sister-in-law is a very sweet gesture.
Sisters working together to give a shower for a mutual friend or future sister-in-law is a very sweet gesture. | Source
The Maid of Honor is usually sitting next to the bride.
The Maid of Honor is usually sitting next to the bride. | Source
Smaller arrangement made from grocery store flowers
Smaller arrangement made from grocery store flowers | Source

The Bridal Shower

Giving a wedding shower can be a fun but daunting task at best. Be sure you are ready to take on the task and get the help of other close friends of the bride and/or mother of the bride and groom. Be sure anyone you might ask to help is invited to the wedding. Without remembering this you may have an embarrassing situation on your hands!!!!.

Traditions and Etiquette Followed for Wedding Showers

It used to be traditional for the maid of honor to give the bridal shower, but today's brides are often having many showers. It is inappropriate for family members to give a shower as it appears as if they are just giving it for the gifts, but as times change I am not sure this is really the case anymore. I am the aunt to my young niece and we are planning one now. Often Aunts of the Bride host the Bridesmaids luncheon but in today's more casual world anything goes.

Friends and co-workers and friends of the mother of the bride often request to honor the bride with a shower. If you are hosting a shower you might want to include some of the bride's or mother of the bride's close friends to help you. Be sure to include their name on the shower invitation.

It is customary for the bride or bride's mother to give a thank you gift to her hostesses. The hostesses will share responsibilities both financial and practical such as sending out invitations, cooking, arranging flowers and cleaning up afterwards.. Each host is responsible for keeping a list of their own expenses if you are all going to split the cost of the shower.

Sometimes the hostess' will also budget in a larger gift together rather than individual gifts.

So you can see where the tradition of gifting the hostess's came from.

Vintage Bud Vase

Vintage Bud Vases, 4 - 5.25 in tall, Clear Glass, Assorted Set of 4
Vintage Bud Vases, 4 - 5.25 in tall, Clear Glass, Assorted Set of 4

Vintage bud vase are perfect to decorate the food table. They can then be used as a gift for hostess'


Deciding When to Host a Bridal Shower



The shower can be held anywhere from 8 months to 2 weeks before the wedding. Don't wait to have a shower too close to the wedding as the bride may be overly stressed by all the activities she is preparing for.

Showers were traditionally given in the afternoon but any time is acceptable if convenient for the bride. Consider when guests are working and can attend. A shower just before a major holiday is probably not a good idea and some consider it to be in poor taste. You might want to give a guys and gals shower which includes the groom. I have given both and they are equally fun. Evening showers are more intimate when you can dim lights, use candlelight and maybe serve wine. Be careful though, as my husband found one of our silver forks in the trash the next morning. A brunch would be given in mid to late morning. Mimosa's with champagne are often served to celebrate the bride. You can offer non-alcoholic orange juice for non drinking guests.

The Theme of the Wedding Shower


A theme can be fun but not mandatory. Themes include Linen, kitchen, lingerie, round the clock. I like round the clock. Each quest is assigned a time and purchases a gift to be used by the couple at that particular time of day.

Holiday weddings lend themselves to a Christmas theme. Each quest might bring an ornament for the couple's new home in addition to there planned gift.

Typically the bride will be registered at a store or two to help guests make their choices for gifts. These registries are almost always included in the invitations. It is even customary now to have a wedding website that lists everything from date and time to hotels to stay at as well as were the bride is registered. This is just one more way to make life easier for everyone involved in the wedding, guests included.

When giving a really nice shower gift a second wedding gift is not necessary but is totally up to the individual.

White Linen tablecloth as seen in photo above

The Decorations Needed for the Bridal Shower


Flowers are a must. You want to make it festive. Traditionally red roses are always nice. I like to use flowers in season. Springtime lends itself to hydrangeas,lenten roses or iris'. A cake in honor of the bride and/or bride and groom is a nice touch but not necessary. Some hosts like to go beyond and include decorations using the theme. This might include the napkins,using specific colors the bride likes, invitations, type of flowers, and other decorations such as streamers or balloons.

It is traditional in some instances to send each guest home with a small gift or favor or even a small box of cookies or candies . This is a choice and not a must. Some favor ideas include but are not limited to the small box of candy or cookies, a small picture frame with the guest name framed and used as a place setting card, small potted herbs in tiny terra cotta containers, or a small bud vase with a single flower.

Most of today's brides prefer not to play games although there are many options available. Games can be an icebreaker but if most of the guests know each other or have something in common with the bride that they would probably prefer to just relax and mingle. For many it may be one of the few times they get to see each other in our busy world today. If they are not familiar with one another you may want to use name tags.

Don't get overwhelmed if you are hosting the shower. Yes your home should be clean but no one's house is perfect and it is unlikely that your friends will be judging you. Especially after you have been gracious enough to open up your home. I say this with some trepidation as I have run around doing last minute dusting and picking up before many showers. I think this is the nature of women and not just me!!!!

Loew Cornell, TransforMASON 4 Pack Frog Lid Inserts

Loew Cornell, TransforMASON 4/ Pack Frog Lid Inserts
Loew Cornell, TransforMASON 4/ Pack Frog Lid Inserts

Crafting Supplies used to Embellish Ball Kerr Jars

Specifically formulated to adhere to Glass

Non Toxic

Packaging has Ball Kerr name listed

Packaging has project inspirations on it


Flower Arranging for a Bridal Shower

Gifts for the guests.
Gifts for the guests. | Source

Location of Wedding Shower


Decide the location. For guys and gals you might want to have an outdoor barbecue or a beach party or pool side party. Typical bridal showers are held at the host's home or maybe an intimate restaurant with a room where you can be off to yourself. Give directions if necessary and include them on the invitation or use a star or asterisk with a phone number of the person's home who is hosting so guests will know who to call for directions and RSVP.

It is common to put "regrets only" if you don't need an exact count and/or numerous calls.

With the internet email is very common for responding now so include your email for your RSVP.

Have you Hosted a Shower?

Have you hosted a wedding shower in the past.

See results

The Shower Cake and Flowers

Cake we used with last shower given
Cake we used with last shower given | Source
Flower arrangement from last shower given
Flower arrangement from last shower given | Source

Invitations for a Bridal Shower


Your invitations can either be formal or casual. Today Evites are coming into vogue. Phone calls are even used if time is a premium.

If it is not a surprise, you probably should include the bride in the planning and discuss her likes and dislikes for the time and date of the shower. Also ask her whether she would like you to include games or even serve alcohol. Be sure no one that is not invited to the wedding is invited to the shower . Have the bride or her mother provide provide you with the guest list including address, email, and/or telephone numbers. Ask the guests to respond by RSVP or Regrets Only if you want a good count on how big the shower will be. Again leave a star or asterisk by the name of the host you want guests to RSVP to. A separate sheet with directions can be included in the invitation. For a home shower you may want to keep the guest list below 30 people. More than 30 guest may need a clubhouse or outdoor location.

The Menu for a Wedding Shower


The shower itself should include food or light canapes. There are many great Punch recipes that can be found online or in a good cookbook. I love Pinterest for all kind of ideas from recipes to decorating. It can be easy to be overwhelmed so know ahead of time about what kind of shower you want to give.

One punch I often serve is sherbet with white grape juice and ginger ale poured over the sherbet in a punch bowl. It is fun to make an ice ring with pansies or other edible flowers frozen within to add to the punch and dress it up. This would be done with a simple punch without ice cream or sherbet.

I have found that many people are preferring lighter beverages like ice tea and water with cucumbers or lemons floating in it. in lieu of punch. I also like to offer decaf coffee if the shower is after 2 pm. Many people like coffee with their cake.

Food can be a combination of different horderves like a fruit tray, cheese and crackers, vegetables with a light dressing to use as dip and an array of nuts and candies throughout your home.

An evening shower might lend itself more to heavier horderves, desserts and even wine. This can get pricey so help with this kind of shower is helpful so the cost kept reasonable for all the hostesses.

A brunch might include orange juice or mimosas, bloody Mary's coffee, fruit, muffins, quiche or egg casseroles. You can make it formal and sit down with fine china or let the guests serve themselves and mingle

Barbecues are very easy and you can even enlist the guys for help. Use paper plates and cups in theme with the barbecue. You can even have your shower catered. Often Beer or Margaritas are served at barbecues. Use rubber boots with flowers in them for a rustic touch.

Sometimes a traditional cake can be made or ordered for an extra touch. If you have a grocery that make cakes to order they can often be as good as large bakery at half the cost. Some brands that are very good in my area include Publix or Costco. My last shower I got a beautiful large rectangular sheet cake with tulips all over. It was filled with cream cheese and only cost me $17.00.

Things to Get Done The Day of The Wedding Shower

The Shower

Give yourself time to dress and relax before the shower begins. Try to have most of your duties and house cleaning done days before. You will be setting the mood so the more relaxed you are the better. Be sure your doorbell is in working order. Sweep off your porch. Be prepared to give directions to your home or the restaurant.

Music is very nice to have playing in the background for lulls in conversation. You can make a nice play list ahead of time. You may have some great slow music or jazz cd's available. These would be perfect. Download some music from the bride's generation especially loved tunes but no hard rock!!!!! I have included a list from Pottery Barn's website that you can download if you like or you could use a web music site like Pandora with a great station playing like Michael Buble'. You can tweak it ahead of time as you listen for several days ahead.

You might want to have name tags if guests don't know each other or if it is a very large shower. This can make it easier on everyone included.

You should have already decided where everyone will congregate while the bride opens her gifts. Be sure you have sufficient seating, lighting and note paper,pencil, paper plate and trash bag for wrapping paper.

Once everyone has had time to be greeted and have some food it is a good time for the bride to open her gifts. This can be a little intimidating for a young bride so have her mother, the maid or matron of honor or close friend sit next to her and assist with writing down the gifts and givers. Also have a paper plate available to put any ribbons on. Tradition has it that for each ribbon she breaks she will have that many children! She can then use the ribbon bouquet to walk down the aisle with at the rehearsal.

Be sure someone like the groom or father of the bride is lined up to arrive toward the end of the shower to help transport the gifts..

Once your guests have departed, sit down and relax. You did it .Cleaning can wait till you are ready to get back to work. Sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. You deserve it!!!. Congratulations!!!

Some links you might enjoy

Ways to relax before the shower:

Tips for house cleaning:

Five fun Games to Play at a Shower

When to Host a Shower


Party Tray Ideas

Flower Arranging by ProFlowers 1

Timeline to Bridal Shower

  • 5 weeks out- Get together with bride and any friends to make plans
  • 4 weeks out- Send out invitations
  • 3 weeks out- Buy any necessary supplies and decorations and make favors
  • 2 weeks out- Iron tablecloth, Clean house, Purchase remaining non-perishable food stuff
  • 1 week out- Decide on what you will wear, get any necessary china and silver
  • 2 days out- Finish decorating and cook non perishables, purchase or plan to have flowers delivered, cut the grass.sweep porch, Be prepared to give directions
  • 1day out- Do once over on house, finish up cooking, arrange flowers,arrange furniture and set our clean hand towels
  • Day of -Get dressed, make punch, set out food, water and favors and relax.

Sample Playlist via Pottery Barn For Wedding Showers

Here is a sample playlist that can be downloaded from itunes via

Song 1 You and Me by Lifehouse

2 The Way I am by Ingrid Michaelson

3 If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys

4 Better Together by Jack Johnson

5 At Last by Beyonce'

6 Somewhere only We Know by Keane

7 The Way you Look tonight by Michael Buble'

A link from the Pros Real Simple

Showers can be daunting especially to the host who's home it is at. Here are some tips from Real Simple Magazine


A well done wedding shower takes time and planning. As long as you stay calm and enlist the help of others that you trust, follow your schedule as outlined above everything should go well. Most important have fun and your bride will have fun also especially when she sees smiles on her hostesses.

Please share Ideas

If you have any good ideas to add please list it in your comments below. I am always looking for new ideas for the showers I host.


Pottery Barn

© 2011 Nancy McClintock


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    • fjpteach profile image

      fjpteach 5 years ago from Humble, TX

      Thanks for the information! I am planning one for a friend of mine and I am really trying to figure out what it is I need to do. I will definitely be referencing this hub as I go through the process! Happy Writing!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Thank you so much.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      I am glad you did too. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Thank you .I am so glad you enjoyed it.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      So glad you hopped my hub too. Thank you so much for your kind words.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      so glad you liked the hub. Thank you for your kind words.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 6 years ago from Southeast USA

      So Glad you liked the hub . I love hosting showers. Lots of fun time with friends.thanks for your great comments

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a lovely thing wedding showers are! I've only been to one, but loved it. So glad you wrote up this guide!

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      Wow, this article is just loaded with great info! I'll have to come back to it once he finally proposes... lol

      Glad I hub hopped today! =)

    • Dr. Amilia profile image

      Dr. Amilia 6 years ago

      Very well written hub, you have pointed out to every detail as far as I can see.

      Voted up.