Bridal Shower Timeline – A shower is a way of honoring the bride-to-be, and “showering” her with gifts for her new married home. “For showers, there are usually three key components: refreshments, fun activities, like games or quizzes and the bride opening her gifts in front of her guests,” says Bussen, who is also the author of Simple Stunning Wedding Showers.
Classic etiquette rules state that the bride’s mom or sister isn’t supposed to host the shower, says Bussen. “But these days, many moms and sisters do act as hostesses for these fun festivities, and it’s really a personal decision.” You might find that a relative offers to host one shower for you, and a friend offers to host a different, more laid-back bash, where you can invite your pals. Sometimes, co-workers will throw you a shower, too. It’s completely fine to have multiple showers.
Usually, it’s close female friends and relatives—just how big the guest list is up to you and your host. But the same rule goes for the shower as goes for the other pre-wedding parties: Don’t invite anyone you won’t invite to the actual wedding. “There is only one exception: an office shower. It is understood that you may not be able to invite all your co-workers to the wedding,” says Bussen.
Why to have it: Not only does a shower provide the couple with things that can make their newlywed house more of a home, it’s another opportunity to socialize with family and friends.
When to do it: Two to six months before the wedding is the ideal time, says Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event in Chicago. “Keep it spaced out from your wedding date.” That way, guests don’t feel like they’re going to so many wedding events right in a row.
Good to know: “The bride absolutely must write a thank-you note to each guest, and it should be personalized,” says Bussen.
Bridal Shower Timeline
Three (or More) Months Before
Talk to the bride. Does she want all women or coed? Afternoon tea or a Saturday night soiree? Does she want a particular bridal shower theme, style or color? Does she want to gather at a fun restaurant, quaint tea salon, her parents’ patio, a spa or your apartment? While most of the bridal shower details and decisions will be up to you, make sure you plan according to her input.
Set the date—shoot for a month or two before the wedding. If certain bridesmaids and important family and friends can’t convene until a few days before, hold off until then.
If the bridal shower will take place at a tea salon, private dining room, restaurant or nightclub, make the reservations as soon as possible.
Create the guest list for the bridal shower. And take note: Anyone you invite to the shower must also be invited to the wedding.
Two Months Before
Send a save-the-date email or call important guests to see if there might be any scheduling conflicts.
As a courtesy, call any guests who’ll have to travel some distance to attend—they’ll appreciate the advance notice.
Confer with the bridesmaids to establish a budget.
Purchase bridal shower invitations or materials to make them.
Hold a brainstorming session to finalize decisions about table linens, flowers, menu, decorations, favors, music and activities.
Order special menu items through the bakery or caterer, and rent linens and other equipment from a rental company, if necessary.
Compile addresses for the guest list.
Make a detailed to-do list and assign tasks.
One Month Before
Assemble and address invitations. Don’t forget to include information about the couple’s registries. And, if it’s a theme party, make sure to provide proper gift-giving instructions.
Shop for decorations, paper goods and other party props.
If guests have offered to bring desserts and other treats, email or call to confirm what they plan to bring.
Two (or More) Weeks Before
Place flower order.
Buy your shower gift for the bride.
Make a shopping list for the food and drinks. Buy any hard-to-find ingredients.
Purchase spirits, if you’re having cocktails.
Pick up any baskets, CDs, cake stands, audio equipment or serving ware that friends or neighbors have offered to lend.
One Week Before
Confirm orders and delivery times.
Assemble and gift wrap favors.
Create a mental floor plan to facilitate decorating and setting up.
Organize shower games and activities.
One Day Before
Prepare any menu items that can be made in advance (or just do prep work).
Receive and set up equipment, assemble decorations and favors, and set table(s).
Touch base with the bridesmaids—confirm who’s bringing what and ask them to arrive early to help.
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