Bridal showers are named as such because the event’s purpose is to shower the bride-to-be with love and gifts in preparation for married life. While the gift-opening is the main part of a bridal shower, its itinerary consists of other activities that make it an unforgettable day.
In general, the itinerary of a bridal shower includes the following: a meal, some games, opportunities for socialization, and the bride-to-be opening her gifts. A bridal shower is held four to eight weeks before the wedding day and usually lasts between two to four hours.
Three examples of a bridal shower itinerary are given below, followed by a comprehensive checklist for planning a bridal shower itinerary. Lastly, tips and points to remember during the process of planning a bridal shower are also provided.
Sample Bridal Shower Itineraries and Schedules
|12:30 – 1:00 p.m.||Wait for the guests to arrive|
|1:00 – 1:30 p.m.||Serve food to the guests and let them mingle|
|1:30 – 2:15 p.m.||Facilitate bridal shower games|
|2:15 – 2:30 p.m.||Award the game winners with prizes, serve dessert|
|2:30 – 3:00 p.m.||Let the bridal party and guests make a toast for the bride-to-be|
|3:00 – 4:00 p.m.||The bride-to-be opens the gifts she received|
|4:00 p.m. onwards||Guests receive favors and leave; clean-up of the venue begins|
|11:00 – 2:00 p.m.||Host and volunteers arrive at the venue and begin set up|
|2:00 – 2:30 p.m.||Guests begin to arrive, mingle, eat hors d’oeuvres|
|2:30 – 3:00 p.m.||Guests play bridal shower games, and the winners are awarded|
|3:00 – 3:30 p.m.||The main meal and dessert are served.|
|3:30 – 4:30 p.m.||The bride-to-be opens the gifts|
|4:30 – 5:00 p.m.||Host and guests make a toast. The bride can also give a speech to thank the guests for coming.|
|5:00 p.m. onwards||The guests leave after getting their bridal shower favor. Host and volunteers clean up the venue.|
|12:30 – 1:00 p.m.||Guests arrive|
|1:00 – 1:30 p.m.||The first bridal shower game is played|
|1:30 – 2:30 p.m.||Food is served|
|2:00 – 2:30 p.m.||Photo op for the guests who have finished their food and wish to take pictures with the bride-to-be|
|2:30 – 3:00 p.m.||The second (and third, if time permits) game is played|
|3:00 – 3:30 p.m.||The bride-to-be opens the gifts.|
|3:30 – 4:00 p.m.||Host and guests make a toast, and the bride gives a speech thanking everyone for coming.|
|4:00 p.m. onwards||Guests take a bridal shower favor and leave. Clean-up begins.|
Planning a Bridal Shower 101
Similar to other wedding-related parties, planning a bridal shower can get overwhelming. Organizing your tasks into chunks of time can help you be more systematic and efficient. This system will also keep you on track as the day of the event approaches.
Three Months Before the Bridal Shower
- Discuss the bridal shower with the bride. The primary purpose of a bridal shower is to celebrate the bride and help her prepare for married life. Thus, the event should be geared toward her preferences and tastes. Details to be noted from this discussion include the guest list, date and time, theme, and location.
- Gather a group of people who will help plan. The maid of honor is typically in charge of most of the planning; however, they can ask for help from other members of the bridal party. Making planning a group effort ensures that all bases are covered.
- Determine the budget. The host, generally also the maid of honor, shoulders most, if not all, of the costs. Dividing the expenses equally among the planners is also a common payment method. However, rest assured that you do not have to break the bank for a bridal shower; even the simplest party, with the right activities, can be just as memorable.
- Set a theme. Although not required, setting a theme will make decorating, coming up with activities, and other aspects of planning easier. The theme is based on the bride’s preferences and interests.
- Pick a location. The location can be anywhere, such as the maid of honor’s backyard, a banquet hall, restaurant, event space, park, and so on. If the chosen theme is activity-related, the location can be an arts and crafts class, spa, and more.
- Set the date and time. Make sure that the schedule will accommodate even guests with busy schedules. Typically, bridal showers are held four to eight weeks before the wedding. If many guests will be coming from different states or countries, then it might be best to push the shower closer to the wedding day so they do not have to travel twice.
- Finalize the guest list. Traditionally, bridal showers are only attended by women, including the bridal party, the bride’s close friends, and relatives. However, men can also be invited. Co-ed showers are also an option you can look into. With that said, anyone invited to the shower must also be invited to the wedding.
- Design and order the invitations. The number of guests generally ranges from 30 to 50.
Two Months Before
- Distribute tasks for the day of the shower if co-hosting.
- Settle the food to be served. The amount and type of food depend on what time the bridal shower will be held. You may need to prepare appetizers, brunch, or dinner. This also includes the cake or dessert. You can also look into booking a caterer.
- Visualize the decor of the venue.
- Plan the favors for guests.
- Brainstorm possible activities, games, and forms of entertainment. If you want any live performers, such as musicians, now is the time to make a booking.
- Make the necessary rentals. This includes dishware, glassware, tables, chairs, and linens.
- Inform guests from out-of-town about dates for travel.
One Month Before
- Send the invites. The invites can also be in the form of an RSVP. If guests do not respond, follow up with them a week after the “reply by” date.
- Produce a draft of the itinerary. Make sure it includes the following: start and end time, when food and drinks will be served, games, and the opening of gifts. Other activities you may want to incorporate are music, time for socialization, and toast-making.
- Create a comprehensive shopping list. Take note of everything you need to purchase for the decorations, favors, food, drinks, games, prizes, and so on.
- Start purchasing items from your shopping list.
- Buy a gift for the bride and your outfit for the shower.
One to Two Weeks Before
- Confirm with everyone in your team if their tasks have been completed.
- Finalize the itinerary.
- Double-check with the venue, rentals, caterer, and other pertinent vendors. Make sure to do this a week or two before the shower to avoid any mishaps. If something needs to be changed, you have time to resolve the issue.
- Ask for volunteers to help with various shower-day duties. You can ask other bridesmaids, close friends, and relatives if they can assist with certain tasks.
- Send the itinerary to co-hosts, planning team, and volunteers.
- Complete any do-it-yourself decor projects. You may want to get DIY projects out of the way at this point, as you will have less time to do so as the day of the shower approaches.
- Wrap or assemble party favors and game prizes. You can assign this task to the volunteers.
- Prep the materials for the activities or games. Make sure they are functional and have no defects.
- Buy flowers.
- Buy non-perishable food and drinks. You can buy these ahead if you are making the food for the shower.
One Day Before
- Set up the decorations in the venue.
- Make any food items that can be prepared ahead of time.
- Double-check your shopping list and to-do list to see if everything has been taken care of.
On the Day of the Shower
- Brief the co-hosts and volunteers about the itinerary and their duties. Encourage them to ask questions they may have about their duties or the event itself. Take this time to affirm to yourself and everyone that you have done your best, and you appreciate their hard work and effort.
- Prepare the food and drinks.
- Set the tables. Put linen, centerpieces, flowers, and other decorations you planned. Make sure there is a table for the bride-to-be’s gifts and another table for the favors.
- Have fun!
Points to Remember for a Bridal Shower
Perfect Duration for Bridal Showers
Ideally, the bridal shower will only last from two to four hours. Anything shorter than that will be too rushed, and there will not be enough time for activities; anything longer might make your guests feel bored and unengaged.
Activity-Oriented Bridal Showers
As mentioned earlier, the bridal shower can include an activity that the bride loves. Examples of activities include arts and crafts, spa treatments, museum visits, and so on. Generally, the costs of holding an activity-themed bridal shower will be too heavy for the maid of honor to carry on her own. In this case, asking guests to pay for a portion of the costs is appropriate. Make sure to indicate this on the invite, as this will undoubtedly factor in their attendance.
Roles You Can Assign
As stated above, you can look for volunteers to carry out some of the tasks on the day of the bridal shower. Here is a list of some duties you can delegate:
- Greeting the guests upon entrance and directing them to their table
- Tracking the scores and eventual winners of the games
- Assisting the bride as she opens the gifts
- Taking note of who gave what gift. This simple task will make writing thank-you notes more convenient.
The Bride’s Involvement
In most cases, the bride is involved in the planning process of a bridal shower. Her preferences, likes, must-haves, and must-not-haves are all taken into consideration. She can give her input on major details such as the guest list, location, schedule, theme, and itinerary.
However, you also have the option to make the bridal shower a surprise. The maid of honor knows the bride best and can make correct judgments and decisions based on her likes and dislikes. Ask for the help of her relatives and close friends to get more necessary details.
A bridal shower is an opportunity to show the bride that she has a support system that will be there for her in the next chapter of her life. It is a time to bond and make new memories. Thus, its itinerary must be filled with activities that will allow her and her guests to mingle, socialize, and get to know each other better.