The Ultimate Guide to Bridal Showers

Everything you need to know about hosting a successful bridal shower
Bridal Shower Guide
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From mapping out the timeline to damage control, we pulled together the ultimate bridal shower guide.

Being asked to be a part of someone’s wedding day is always a special moment. Whether you are a bridesmaid, the mother of the bride, or one of the ushers, you are a significant part in the beginning of a couple’s marital life. Accepting the offer to be the maid of honor is more than just being a special part of it. It is taking on the role as the ultimate caretaker, the second opinion, and of course the ultimate party planner. From aiding in decision making to mitigating stressful situations, as the maid of honor, your goal is to make the bride’s walk down the aisle a seamless one. While giving your opinion on trumpet style dresses, planning a raucous bachelorette party, and getting the bride ready on her big day is are all important jobs, one of the biggest jobs is planning her bridal shower.

"A successful bridal shower is one that truly reflects the bride’s style and personality,” said WeddingWire editor Alex Merriman. “A great hostess makes a point to keep the bride’s tastes, interests, and unique characteristics at the forefront of her mind throughout every aspect of the planning process. It also can’t hurt to throw in a small surprise or two to make the day that much more special for your bride. This can be anything from having her very favorite dessert specially catered to putting together a sentimental group gift in addition to individual gifts. It’s all about making it personal and memorable."

To help you give your favorite bride-to-be have the best bridal shower, we’ve come up with a  complete guide to help you plan the perfect shower. But we didn’t do it alone. We reached out to our vast network of bridal experts, party planners and etiquette coaches to bring you all of the ins-and-outs of bridal shower planning. In our series of slideshows, we’ll give you everything from the rules of planning and the hottest themes to the perfect party menu and the perfect gifts. To make planning a breeze and to learn secrets from the experts, click through our guide!

The Rules of Planning

The first step in planning a bridal shower involves gathering your bearings. After all, this is tricky territory, especially if you aren’t well acquainted with the other bridesmaids or family of the bride.

Click here for the Bridal Shower Etiquette Guide (Slideshow)

Deciding who does what and pays for which aspect is a lot to manage! But worry not, our party planning and etiquette expert Annette Joseph, stylist and author of Picture Perfect Parties, has some wonderful advice on how to handle the toughest of situations and how to maximize your planning skills.

Choosing a Theme

When it comes to planning a bridal shower, everything rests on the theme. From the menu selections to the decor ideas, you have to have something to centralize it. Not only will it make planning your party easier, it is a way to really personalize the event for the bride-to-be. Whatever her passions are, her colors, or her favorite time of year is, you can fashion an event around the concept and let it extend into the finer details.

Click here for our Inspirational Bridal Shower Theme (Slideshow)

But even if you know your bride-to-be like the back of your hand, sometimes getting inspired is a little tough. We contacted our vast network of bridal experts to list the hottest trending bridal shower themes for you to throw. Not only did they give us the ideas, they fleshed them out for us as well, complete with everything from menu selections to decor ideas. This way you can throw your bride a flawless, gorgeous shower without scrambling to make every detail count!

Selecting a Menu

Though no one can argue that a menu should center around your theme, it doesn’t hurt to have a few tasty backups. You want to be sure you can appeal to your audiences’ taste buds rather than isolate them with a overtly niche menu. You want to be sure that you establish whether you are hosting a luncheon or small bites and make sure that it is communicated to your guests. Also, ask the bride-to-be, or whoever is available, to help curate the guest list for any known food allergies amongst the guests or simply ask them to let you know when they RSVP.

Click here for 25 Inspiring Party Foods (Slideshow)

It is crucial to keep the food as fun and inventive as possible, so be sure to include something that as visually appealing as it is delicious. To do that, you need to get a little creative. While you’re probably a pro by now and coming up with pretty decor and jaw dropping centerpieces, you may need a little help getting inventive with your menu. To make it truly your own, look through our slideshow for some party foods and recipes that will stun and delight your guests.

Choosing the Wine

Planning a wedding shower can be a stressful experience for even the most seasoned bridesmaid. You have to juggle the bride’s family, friends, and coworkers as well as have Pinterest-worthy décor. And, of course, somewhere in the back of your mind is always the bridal shower scene from Bridesmaids. In our opinion, there’s one thing that can make many a bridal shower go a little smoother — wine! 

Click here for the best Bridal Shower Wine List (Slideshow)

The experts at Drync — the free wine app that lets you scan and purchase wine instantly — have provided a few guidelines that are sure to make the process of selecting wine a bit easier. First, try to have a mix of white, red and sparkling — and don’t be afraid to throw a rosé in there too. Second, this may not be the time for that heavily oaked chardonnay or hugely tannic red — not when you have to please a crowd and you only have a few options.

Don’t be afraid to have fun too! Can you theme the wines around the bride’s honeymoon destination? How about having the labels match her wedding colors? Or what about picking wines that start with the first letter of the bride’s first name?

If you want to take all the guesswork out of wine selection, though, click through the slideshow for a few favorites straight from the wine experts at Drync!

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