How to plan the ultimate bridal shower

From choosing a guest list to deciding on a theme, we give you the low-down on planning the ultimate bridal shower.

Taking our lead from brides-to-be across the pond, we’re jumping on the bridal shower bandwagon – a chance to get your girls (of all ages) together to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.


If you’re as big as a fan of the film Bridesmaids as we are, you might recall the wildly over the top bridal shower thrown in the film. Remember, the invites came in the form of a little box which a live butterfly flew out of and attendees were gifted with a super-cute puppy on their way out.

We’re not suggesting you go to those extremes for your bridal shower, but since they’re are a relatively new concept here in the UK, we’ve put together a guide on how to throw the ultimate bridal shower, from things to consider when planning the shower, to knowing who holds the reins over organisation to figuring out who to invite.

So first things first…

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What IS a bridal shower?

Ignore the new terminology; a bridal shower is essentially an at-home hen party, normally held during the day.

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Who plans the bridal shower?

The bridesmaids and maid of honour traditionally organise bridal showers, but realistically, anyone can take the reins, be it your mum, your future mother in law or even yourself.

The main aspect of the plan that alters depending on who’s planning it is the venue. If you mum is organising the event, she’ll likely hold it at her house, but it is of course up to you where you all want to gather.

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Who to invite to a bridal shower

Bridal showers are generally limited to female guests only, but that’s not to say men can’t come along too.

Older female friends and family are often in attendance at bridal showers; they’re certainly more grandma friendly, and are an ideal way to introduce your future in laws to your own relatives, if they’re not already acquainted.

Bridal showers are a great way to celebrate with pregnant friends or pals that aren’t partial to alcohol.

Guest lists tend to be kept to close friends and family; there’s no need to feel any pressure to invite along all the females on your wedding guest list – bridal showers are normally intimate and sentimental affairs, shared with those closest to you.

Kathryn Edwards

Think about themes

Some brides opt to theme their bridal shower; it’s a fun way to give a teaser as to what your wedding theme will be, or you could deviate from your w-day theme and go for something entirely different.

The theme of your bridal shower dictates the activities that take place; if you go for a beauty themed bridal shower this would be a great opportunity to test out your bridal hair and make-up in a comfortable environment.

If you fancy an afternoon tea theme (a real grandparent pleaser!) you could use the day to try out a selection of cakes and sweet treats in order to nail your wedding day nibbles.


When should a bridal shower take place?

Bridal showers are a chance for you to relax with your girlfriends in the run up to your wedding day, and normally take place a month or two before the wedding. Any closer to the big day and you could be preoccupied with wedmin to enjoy the celebration.

Once you’ve set the date, send out invitations as soon as possible to make sure everyone you want to celebrate with will be free.

Many people send out physical invitations to their bridal shower (not a butterfly in a box situation, though), so this is something to consider when ordering your wedding stationery, particularly if you want them to match the rest of your send outs.


Decide on decorations

The beauty of bridal showers taking place at home is the option to decorate the venue however you like – whether you want bunting and balloons or a super chic style, it’s all up to you.

Your bridal shower is an excuse to create yet another board on Pinterest to inspire your decoration ideas so get pinning!

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How long should a bridal shower be and should gifts be given?

Bridal shower shindigs typically last three to four hours, allowing time for an activity, a bite to eat, and present opening, if you’re that way inclined.

In the US it’s traditional to bring presents, with some brides even drawing up a gift list but we’re not so sure about this idea. Your guests will already be buying you a wedding gift after all and you don’t want people getting gift fatigue!

A fun twist would be to organise a secret Santa style gift giving set up; set a price limit of £5 then try and guess which gift is from which attendee.


Remember to keep it PG to avoid being a blushing bride in front of your future mother in law.