The fail-proof bridal shower checklist

Ensure the bride-to-be is spoiled before their special day

A bridal shower is a milestone filled with love and laughter to honor the bride-to-be. It's an exciting pre-wedding tradition, to both celebrate and help the bride get ready for their big day. Not sure where to begin? This checklist will ensure that the bride receives a flawless, memorable party in the lead up to her big day.

Three months before the event

1. Decide on a host

Engaged bride-to-be laughing with maid of honor during speeches

Photo Credit: @kylieivaphotography

The first step in planning a successful bridal shower is choosing a host. Typically, a close friend or family member takes on this role. Whether it’s a surprise bridal shower, or the bride is involved in the planning – someone who is organized with an eye for detail will make the perfect host.

2. Choose a bridal shower theme

Whether it's a glamorous brunch, a rustic garden party, or a spa day, the theme should reflect the bride-to-be. Browse Pinterest or celebration books from the MILK Gallery to spark inspiration.

The theme sets the overall tone for the bridal shower and should have guests ready to celebrate from the moment they arrive. Select a theme that resonates with the bride's personality.

3. Set a date for the bridal shower

Bride in white robe toasts with rose wine with bridal party women in pink robes

Photo Credit: @susannahblatchford

Check in with the bride and key guests to pick a date for the bridal shower that works for everyone. Ensure the date is convenient and aligns with the bride's wedding timeline. A quick catch-up over coffee with the bride is a great way to accommodate any changes in their schedule.

4. Pick a venue for your budget

Picking the perfect venue is a crucial step in bridal shower planning. Whether you opt for a backyard barbecue, a charming country club or an intimate celebration at home, make sure it suits the theme and fits your budget.

Visit the site or venue in advance to plan the best layout for the bridal shower. Explore potential backup venues to make sure any unexpected weather challenges don’t ruin the fun.

5. Confirm the guest list

Women in bridal party surround and hug bride in center of group under warm natural lighting

Photo Credit: @elkevdende

The biggest rule for a bridal shower is to make sure everyone in attendance is also invited to the wedding. However, it's not necessary to invite the entire wedding party! Check with the bride to see if they prefer a more intimate event or a larger gathering.

Additionally, you can create a spreadsheet to track RSVPs and any dietary restrictions.

6. Design and send invitations

Create a set of gorgeous bridal shower invitations outlining all the details of the event. Send them out physically (or digitally) with enough time for guests to RSVP. Often, they are sent four to six weeks before the event - enough for anyone to pencil in their diaries.

Include a personal note or a poem reflecting the bride to add a special touch. Get creative and choose a font and colors to match the theme.

One month before the event

7. Plan food and drinks for guests

White cloth table of luxurious platters of food nibbles and snacks with glass champagne flutes

Plan the bridal shower menu based on the theme and the bride's absolute favorite dishes. Decide whether you'll be cooking, ordering catering, or hosting a potluck-style gathering. A taste test with a few trusted friends is a great way to ensure the menu will be enjoyed. Then, create a detailed shopping list and buy in advance where possible to save time closer to the event. Don't forget to consider any dietary requirements!

8. Organize bridal shower activities and games

Make a list of activities that'll keep guests entertained throughout the bridal shower. Prepare small spot prizes for winners and goodies to encourage everyone to take part. Some great bridal shower game ideas include scavenger hunts, vow mad libs, Q&A Jenga towers, paper brides, pin the veil on the bride, and, of course, the infamous shoe game.

The shoe game involves testing who knows the bride best by planning a list of funny or difficult to answer questions about them. Arrange this bridal shower game with the bride and maid of honor, a best friend, or the mother of the bride or groom to test their knowledge and get lots of laughs from guests.

9. Arrange speeches from loved ones

Three bridesmaids in pink dresses share a toast during speeches

Photo Credit: @amykatephotog

If you’re planning speeches or toasts during the bridal shower, be sure to schedule some uninterrupted speaking time. It may be wise to do a quick check in ahead of time, just to make sure the speech content is appropriate and respectful. A clear timeframe for each speaker makes for a memorable and entertaining ode to the bride – that doesn’t drag on too long.

10. Buy on-theme decorations

Scout for decorations or trinkets that align with the chosen theme. This can include table settings, banners, balloons, or even party favors. If you're feeling crafty, you can DIY the décor to add a personal touch and save on expenses.

Test the decorations at the venue to ensure they fit the event space. Depending on the size of your bridal shower, check in with venue staff for any specific setup requirements.

11. Pick a bridal shower present

Woman in white sweater holds bouquet of pink flowers in paper behind her back

Most importantly, don't feel pressure to do bridal shower gift - your attendance at the occasion is more than enough. But if you are wanting to, be sure to choose a thoughtful and meaningful present the bride will cherish. Think about the bride's interests and anything she may need for the next chapter with their fiancée. Try to avoid the registry if you're particularly close with the bride, leave this to the guests. Consider the budgets of all attendees, and instead have everyone contribute a small amount that could be used together to get a bigger gift. 

A beautiful idea is to share photos, memories and marriage advice with the bride in a personal way. How about sharing everyone's most-loved pictures inside a custom MILK Photo Book or Album? Personalized gifts are heartfelt and add emotional value, and are a great gifting option for a bridal shower.

12. Create a music playlist

Craft a playlist with the bride's favorite songs so they’re the first to hit the dance floor. Collaborate with a music-savvy friend to curate the perfect playlist, and add a few surprise songs that hold sentimental value to the bride.

You can ask guests to contribute their own songs for a sentimental touch. To ensure the party stays upbeat, designate someone to manage the playlist over the course of the bridal shower.

Day of the event

13. Arrive early

Bride in white robe with bridal party in green toast with champagne in backyard

On the day of the bridal shower, arrive at the venue early to oversee set-up. Gather a few trusted friends or family members to assist if it's a larger venue. Make sure to confirm any vendors or services booked and tie any loose ends. Check your spreadsheet and check who's expected to arrive at what time.

14. Set up the event space

Transform the venue to your chosen theme, and arrange food and drink as appropriate. Pay attention to small details like table centerpieces and lighting, which can further refine and elevate your bridal shower décor. A final walkthrough to check that everything is in place is always a great idea.

15. Time to celebrate the bride!

Engaged couple are celebrated at bridal shower with light colors

Photo Credit: @alysiakristanphoto

Once everything's set and guests start arriving, let the fun of the bridal shower take over. Enjoy the celebration, create lasting memories, and make the bride feel truly special. Capture some cute candid photos and videos throughout the day to let the bride remember the event.

Afterwards, you can start preparing a keepsake photo book or album, preserving the bridal shower memories for the bride to look back on for years to come.

By following this checklist for a fail-proof bridal shower, you can ensure that the bride-to-be's special day is filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable moments. With careful planning and attention to detail, you'll create a bridal shower that she will cherish forever. Remember that the key to a successful bridal shower isn’t only in execution, but in the love and thoughtfulness you put into every aspect of the bridal shower celebrations. The anticipation for the wedding should now be at an all-time high for everyone involved.

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