Before the wedding, there is the bridal shower. Throwing a bridal shower can stress many people out, and when it’s a surprise party. The stress can be even greater. However, we’re some of the millions of people out there that believe making the bridal shower a surprise bridal shower is what takes it to the next level. So we’ve got a few tips to help you pull it off with ease:

1.) Choose your date with care. Choosing the date is probably the most important part of this process. Especially with all the extra work the bride will be doing in relation to her upcoming wedding. If she thought she was busy before, she’s definitely going to be busy now. So make sure you pick a date that she will absolutely be able to stick to. A great way to ensure she’s coming is to make the party for someone else, then give her a small role. She has to bring cookies or something. That small commitment will usually be enough to make sure she comes no matter what. Plus, if she catches wind of the “party,” she’ll still think it’s for a friend, and your cover won’t be completely blown.

2.) Don’t forget about the groom! No matter how well you think, you may know the bride, the groom will spend the rest of his life with her. So he probably knows her well too. Keeping him in the loop will give you an inside edge into what she’s thinking during this crazed time. It also helps the groom bond with the bride’s favorite people.

3.) Plan to have guests there with plenty of time to spare. If you’re going to plan a surprise party, the guest of honor obviously needs to be the last one to arrive. Tell your guests at least an hour (maybe even two if you need help setting up and decorations). This will ensure everyone will be there with plenty of time to spare. Besides, seeing the look on her face when she realizes the party is for her is the night’s highlight. Who would want to miss that?

4.) Make it all about her. If she’s obsessed with everything French, make it a Parisian-themed party. If every Disney movie ever made, have the games revolve around this love of Disney movies. Make it something that she will love no matter what you do.

5.) Plan to keep it short but allow it to continue. Plan for a short party; if she still has time, it can be extended to include certain events. Don’t automatically expect her to be able to stay for six hours after she was just surprised with the idea 30 minutes ago. And if there is to be drinking involved, make sure she has a way to get home safely (insert fiancé’s name here).

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