One of the most fun parts of being a maid of honor or a bridesmaid is planning the bridal shower. It is a chance to really be creative and show the bride how much she means to you. You and the bridesmaids are responsible for helping plan, set up, pay for, and attend the shower. If possible, it’s best for all the maids to get together to talk about the shower and what kind of shower the bride wants? Would she like a traditional ladies’ shower with cucumber sandwiches and tea, or would she prefer a more casual couples’ shower with barbeque and beer? Try to find out what other kinds of showers are being hosted for her, and you can feel free to ask for her input on the shower’s atmosphere and theme. There are several factors to consider when planning the shower: when, where, who, and how much.
WHEN: It’s of course essential that you consult the bride regarding a time frame for the shower; she is likely to be pretty booked in the months leading up to the wedding, so check with her for open dates before you plan anything. A very traditional bride may want to have her shower very close to the wedding, but a DIY (do it yourself) bride may prefer to have it earlier so that she has plenty of free time leading up to the wedding to complete her projects. You’re probably thinking, “…but, all she has to do is show up!” Ah, then you would be forgetting something very important: she has to find the perfect outfit. She may not have time to scour the dress department at Macy’s two weeks before her wedding, because she may need to be hot-gluing her homemade centerpieces or assembling her candy buffet! The important thing to remember: every bride is different, so don’t assume that the bride from the last wedding you were in is going to have the same preferences and expectations as this one. As far as time of day, most showers start anywhere from 1pm to 3pm.
WHO: Figuring out the guest list takes some thought. First you have to determine whether anyone else is hosting showers for the bride…perhaps an aunt or a friend of her mother’s. If this is the case, then you know that family members (if it’s an aunt) or family friends (if it’s the mother’s friend) are already being invited to a shower. In most cases, there is no need to invite them to another shower, with the exception of the mother of the bride and/or groom. It is a lot to ask of a regular wedding guest to attend and bring gifts to more than one shower and also the wedding. However, if your shower is the only one the bride is having, you’ll need to coordinate with the bride or with her mother, to find out what family members or family friends need to be invited.
WHERE: This can be tricky. Often there is a hometown, a college town, and/or a current city…which one do you pick? That depends on the WHO. If yours is the only shower, then hometown is the most likely answer. If your shower will just be the bride’s friends, then picking your college town or current city makes more sense. If you’re not sure, the bride probably has an idea of where she wants it; just throw a few suggestions at her and ask what she prefers!
HOW MUCH: You and the bridesmaids really should discuss budget very early on in the planning process. Typically the cost of the shower is simply divided equally among all the hostesses (which is usually the maid of honor and the bridesmaids), so you should consider the financial situation of all involved before making any plans. Budget can determine location, what food/drink is served, how many people are invited, and decorations. For the average twenty something bridesmaid, it’s reasonable to ask for $30-50 per person. If you have four hostesses, then, your budget could be from $120-$200. But every situation is different, so just discuss it with the bridesmaids.
Once you and the bridesmaids have the basics of the bridal shower decided, you can begin work on the fun stuff-like the theme and the food!