Planning a bridal shower? It can be hard, I understand. You want to get it all right for your friend or family member. You want the bride, the guest of honor, to feel the love and to know how special she is to you. Here are 8 common mistakes that every person who has ever planned a bridal shower makes, including me.
In today’s wedding planning advice post, we are giving some tips to the friends of the bride with this mega list of common bridal shower planning mistakes. So, if you are in a bridal party, a bridesmaid, a bride’s relative, or just a really good friend of the bride who is finding herself in the middle of shower planning madness, you’ll want to check out today’s post on what to avoid during the bridal shower planning process.
Photo credit: Kaleidoscope Photography
From poorly worded invitations, to blowing the budget, to picking the wrong date, to doing the exact opposite of what the bride wants, there are lots of things to consider when taking on the planning of a bridal shower. But, we’ve got you covered with our list of things to look out for. Some of them might surprise you.
Oh and almost all of these bridal shower tips are FREE. You heard that right! The bridal shower itself might not be free, but these little mistakes to avoid won’t cost you a dime. In fact, they might save you money and sanity in the long run.
Also, please don’t worry too much if you’ve made any of these mistakes already. We’ve all done it, consider it a right of passage that every friend of the bride goes through, including me! I think I’ve made all of these mistakes myself.
Before we move onto the tips, we have lots of bridal shower inspiration for you. Don’t forget to check out this post on what to wear to your bridal shower and our list of unique bridal shower invitations. We also have this post on fun and modern bridal shower decor ideas.
It is important that the entire bridal party is included in the planning of a bridal shower. It is OK, if some say that they can’t help or they aren’t able to help, but they at least need to be given the opportunity to help. Even if they live out of town or you know they can’t make it, there are things that they can do from afar to help with the bridal shower. If they are in the bridal shower, they must be given the opportunity to help.
Bridal showers these days aren’t just for the girls or one member of the engaged couple. It is becoming customary to include both guests of honor at a bridal shower and friends and family of all genders and ages. Lots of bridal showers are a night, almost more like an engagement party or another excuse to get together with friends and family. However, if you are only having a shower for one finance, that’s totally fine. Just make sure that you invite the other fiance at least at the end to make an appearance and say “hello” to the guests.
Don’t wait too long to plan the bridal shower. As the wedding gets closer and closer, the couple’s available dates and weekends will fill up. Be sure to get right on it and pick a date for the bridal shower, so that there is enough time before the wedding. You don't want your guests aren’t annoyed when the wedding rolls around. Taking up two weekends in a row and two gifts in a row is probably not the best thing to do for your guests and for the engaged couple.
Planning a party of any kind is a lot of work. The chances are good that the bride has lots of friends and family who would all be willing to help with the shower. Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. If someone offers to help, take it. Someone says that they want to bring the dessert. Say “yes.” Someone else offers to do the favors, say “thank you.” Someone else wants to help set up a few games, say “I appreciate it.” You will lose your mind if you do it all, so take all the help you can get to pull your bridal shower.
If you truly have no help, then my best advice is to tone it all down. This means limit the number of guests, keep it small an intimate. Make it special, but not over the top.
Photo credit: Kaleidoscope Photography
It is tempting because you want to make it a surprise or you don't want them to have to do any work at all, but it is important that you get input from the guest of honor before you make any major decisions for the bridal shower.
Make sure that you ask the bridal shower’s guest of honor what he or she would like. For example, do they want to have it be couples? Or would they like it to just be their friends? Who would they like to invite? How do they feel about bridal shower games? How about surprises? You certainly don’t have to run every little detail past the guest of honor, but you do want to consult them on the bigger items such as guest list of over all party vibe so that they feel included.
The last thing you want to do is plan a bridal shower that the guest of honor isn’t happy about.
If you’ve made a budget - and you should - for the bridal shower, do your best to stick to it. Most times the bridal shower is a shared expense among close friends of the couple or members of the bridal party. So, since you are spending other people’s money, it is important to stick to the budget. If you have to cut things to stay on budget, that’s OK.
The best way to stay on budget is to first establish a budget. As the bridal shower host, do a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation of what you think it will cost, then talk to everyone involved (other hosts, family members, bridesmaids etc.) and find out who is willing to contribute. (Remember, those that are paying are considered "hosts" and should be listed on the invitation.)
Budgeting for a bridal shower is a whole other post for another day, but I will say that the best two ways to save money at a bridal shower is to either limit the guest list or be smart about the time of day. If you host the shower in the middle of the day, aka not over a meal time, you don't need to provide a meal for your guests. A few cupcakes or something sweet, and a few bottles of bubbles and you are done. This is much less expensive than hosting a bridal shower over breakfast, lunch or even dinner. The food costs can really add up at a bridal shower, especially if you are hosting at a restaurant and not someone's house.
I know it seems basic, but don’t forget to put the couple’s wedding registry information on the bridal shower invitation. It might seem tacky, but it isn't. Your guests will appreciate the head’s up and it will make getting the couple a gift so much easier. If you don’t put their registry information on the invitation, the guests will ask you, so by including it, you are saving yourself time and energy.
It is important that you invite only those who will also be invited to the wedding to the bridal shower. I know it might be tempting to invite random co-workers or friends who might not be close to the couple to the bridal shower, but don’t. Only invite bridal shower guests if you know for certain that they will in fact be invited to the wedding.
When you get an invite to the bridal shower, it is assumed that you'll be invited to the wedding and you don't want any hurt feelings. If the couple's wedding guest list isn't set by the time you have the shower, you'll need to stick with those that you know for certain are going to the wedding or consider moving the date.
What do you think? Are you ready to plan a bridal shower or have you totally given up? Planning a bridal shower is a lot of work, there is no doubt about that, but just remember tip number #4. It is only a ton of work if you made it a ton of work. Make sure that you accept all the help. The helpers might not do it how you would do it, but that’s OK! Planning a bridal shower should be a collaborative effort where friends and family come together to celebrate and honor the engaged couple.
And, remember, we have lots of bridal shower help and ideas for you too! We have a post on what to wear to your bridal shower and a curated collection of unique bridal shower invitations. We also have one of my most favorite posts on fun and modern bridal shower decor ideas.
Happy bridal shower planning!
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