How to Throw an Unforgettable Wedding Shower

Wedding showers are one of the most fantastic ways to officially celebrate upcoming marriage. As one of the most anticipated pre-nuptial celebrations, wedding showers allow close friends and family members to spend time together and shower the couple with love, support, and gifts before the big day. Couples can also choose to do separate wedding showers or celebrate one together. Today, wedding showers are an updated version of a time-honored tradition to eat and drink and be merry with the couple.

If you’re in search of wedding or bridal shower ideas that will astound the happy couple and guests alike, consider this your one-stop-shop! Whether you’re a seasoned wedding shower planner in need of some new ideas or you’re hosting your very first shower, this guide will teach you how to plan a wedding shower from start to finish.

How to Throw a Wedding Shower From Start to Finish

1. Decide who’s hosting

The first thing you’ll want to do when figuring out how to throw a wedding shower is select a host. Traditionally, the future spouse’s person of honor plans the wedding shower, but many couples embrace a more modern option and choose a more inclusive approach, which means anyone except the couple can host. So, if you’re the person of honor, maid of honor, best man, or a relative of the couple, it’s perfectly fine for you to throw the shower. Unless it’s a surprise shower, the couple is usually involved in the planning process as well.

Wedding shower guests

2. Determine a budget

After deciding who’s hosting, the first step of wedding shower planning is determining a budget. Traditionally the host picks up all of the costs, but for more elaborate showers, it’s completely acceptable to have other members of the wedding party pitch in on the price.

In some cases–it’s appropriate for guests to pick up a portion of the shower costs. If you’re expecting guests to pitch in, you must make that clear on the invitations. For example, an invitation to a might read, “We’ll celebrate with a 3-course dinner ($15/guest), followed by champagne and dessert”.

3. Set a date and time

Wedding showers are usually held anywhere from six months to a week before the wedding. It may make sense to have it closer to the wedding for destination weddings so everyone can attend. Otherwise, four to eight weeks before the wedding is a good rule of thumb to minimize stress for the couple.

Many wedding showers are held during the afternoon or early evening as a luncheon or dinner party, but any time of day is acceptable. Brunch wedding showers are becoming more and more popular, so work with the couple to determine which date and time work best for them.

4. Create the guest list & send out invites

Once you’ve nailed down a date for the wedding shower, it’s time to create the guest list. Invitees usually include close friends and relatives of both the couple and members of the wedding party. You want to be sure that you’re not inviting anyone to the shower who isn’t invited to the wedding, so ask the couple for the wedding guest list, a list of must-invite people, and home or email addresses for each guest. The final guest count should usually be between 30 and 50 people, depending on the wedding shower venue you choose.

You should plan to finalize, purchase, and send out shower invitations about six to eight weeks before the event to give guests plenty of time to plan, buy a gift, and RSVP accordingly.

Wedding shower invitations

5. Pick a wedding shower venue

Once you’ve finalized the date and have a rough attendance estimate, it’s time to select a wedding shower venue.  Showers were traditionally held at the host’s home, but opting for a venue will give you more catering options, seating flexibility, decorative elements, and staff support.

Choosing a setting with an on-site manager can help take the stress off you as the host and fully participate in the wedding shower festivities. Here at Flora, our all-inclusive services and amenities, along with the versatile event space, make it the perfect San Diego wedding shower venue that any couples won’t soon forget.

Other popular wedding shower venue options include restaurants, spas, parks, and gardens. When in doubt, ask the couple for their opinion when it comes to picking a shower venue. Most importantly, make sure the location has enough space to accommodate all of your guests.

wedding shower venue, Flora, in San Diego

6. Choose a theme & purchase decorations

After you’ve firmed up the who, when, and where of the big celebration, it’s time to choose a wedding shower theme, a theme isn’t necessarily essential for a wedding shower. Still, it offers an excellent opportunity to infuse some of the couple’s personality into the event.

You can stretch your creativity muscles here and choose a theme that reflects their personality, interests, and tastes. For example, if the couple are nature enthusiasts, a glamping-themed wedding shower at a high-end resort might be perfect!

Once you’ve decided on a theme, you can begin to purchase decorations, invites, menus, games, and more that align with that theme. Popular decorations that fit well with any theme include giant letter balloons, flower arrangements, garlands, candles, photo backdrops, and table centerpieces.

Wedding shower decorations

7. Plan the menu

The menu is arguably one of the most important aspects of the wedding shower planning process because who doesn’t love delicious food? When planning the menu, you can’t go wrong with selecting the couple’s favorite foods. Your menu should include foods that aren’t too messy that can be easily served. Buffets, single-serving meals, and finger-foods have all become popular wedding shower menu options in recent years.

Depending on your budget, you can have the food professionally catered, cook the food yourself or ask guests to bring a potluck dish. And don’t forget to stock the bar with all of your couple’s favorite libations and maybe even a signature cocktail if you’re feeling fancy!

Wedding shower food and drinks

8. Organize bridal shower games and activities

While opening gifts will be the main event of the shower, you’ll want to have a few activities to entertain your guests throughout the celebration. Wedding shower games are loads of fun and can be customized to fit the couple’s theme and personality. Some classic wedding shower games include bingo, flower arranging, wedding mad libs, trivia, and lawn games. Try to plan the games for when you expect there to be a lull in the party, for example, after the main meal, and before the gift opening.

Another classic wedding shower tradition is the ribbon bouquet or boutonniere! As gifts are being opened, collect all of the ribbons to create a decorative bouquet or boutonniere (or crowns – feel free to be creative) that can be used during the wedding rehearsal as a stand in for the couple’s personal florals. Whatever activities & traditions you choose, make sure they reflect the soon-to-be-spouse’s tastes and interests, and everyone will have a great time!

Wedding bouquet

9. Curate the perfect playlist

Although the wedding shower playlist isn’t nearly as important as the wedding day music, it’s still nice to have some ambient noise as guests arrive, mingle, eat, and participate in activities. Try to choose upbeat music that matches the event’s tone and includes the couple’s favorite jams. If they’re music enthusiasts, they may want to take charge of creating the playlist themselves or at least provide a few song suggestions. Make sure you have a speaker on hand, or if you’re hosting the wedding shower at a venue, work with the staff to get all of the technical aspects set up before the event. You can find some of Flora’s favorite playlists on our Spotify.

10. Party favors

Lastly, you may want to gather some party favors to thank your guests for their participation and support. Wedding shower favors can range from desserts, mini champagne, and wine stoppers to personalized t-shirts and koozies. In the COVID-era, personalized masks and hand sanitizer are always a nice touch that you can pass out to guests upon arrival to keep everyone safe and fashionable!

Wedding shower party favors

Premier San Diego Wedding Shower Venue

Learning how to throw a wedding shower can be a considerable undertaking, but with the proper preparation and a stellar venue, you can pull it off without a hitch!

Flora is a dynamic San Diego wedding venue that is as functional as it is beautiful. Our all-inclusive services and amenities, along with the versatile event space, is the perfect backdrop for your next wedding shower. We’re committed to creating safe and enjoyable experiences for all our guests and love working with couples to customize our space to fit their needs. Get in touch with us to learn how our event team can help make your wedding shower unforgettable.

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