These days, a wedding isn’t just about the actual wedding day. Not only are there the traditional bridal showers and bachelorette parties, but other activities meant for the couple are now more commonly being done in groups with the bridal party, such as cake tastings and appointments with bridal shop boutiques. However, even as more and more of the wedding planning becomes a group activity, the familiar tradition of a bridal shower is one that most brides consistently look forward to.

So what exactly do you need to know about it? Read on, and we’ll let you know the main points!

What you need to know

– It’s usually held between 2 months and 2 weeks before the wedding. This doesn’t mean you can’t plan yours sooner or later, but this is the general time frame. You don’t want to push it too close to the wedding, or it will begin to be a burden of stress for the bride (just one more thing she has to do before her big day), and you don’t want it to be too far out (a lot could change six months before a wedding).

– It’s usually planned by the Maid of Honor and the bridesmaids, and as the Maid of Honor or bridesmaids, you can do whatever you want! You can choose a theme, what kind of entertainment you should have and who is responsible for what. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time and make sure to divvy up the responsibilities to those involved.

– Invite the right people. It’s important not to invite anyone not to the wedding, as it could set the scene for a sore subject. Check with the bride before you finalize a guest list (unless it’s a surprise party, in which case the Maid of Honor or the groom can help you out). Typically, bridal showers are with the bridal party and a few close friends and family members. Sometimes it’s an all-girl party; sometimes, it’s a co-ed (or “Jack and Jill”) party.

Additional Tips

– Choose a time of day. Bridal showers used to be held strictly as afternoon celebrations, but Sunday morning brunch has gradually become just as popular. Many bridal parties are held early afternoon, with the bachelorette party to follow that evening.

– Choose a place. If you would like to have the shower at a restaurant or another public place, you may need to make reservations. Some restaurants may not even allow a bridal shower (they tend not to order a lot of food for the time they’re there, and they can be rather noisy). Make sure to check beforehand.

– Have ice-breakers at the ready! Games (such as the classic “Wedding Dress out of Toilet Paper”) work great as a way to get the party started, especially if everyone does not know each other very well.

– Keep the bride in mind. Remember, this is her shower, after all. If you’re going to choose a theme, make sure it’s something she would enjoy. I grew up playing games with my brothers (playing with G.I. Joe’s, riding Go-Karts, etc.), so a Barbie Doll-themed party wouldn’t make any sense. Likewise with other aspects, like food, if she is a vegan, don’t have the party at your local steakhouse.

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