The Ultimate Bridal Shower Planning Timeline and Checklist

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A bridal shower reception table with pink flowers.

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A bridal shower is a joyous celebration and one of the most important events leading up to the wedding day. It's a time when the bride's loved ones—usually the bridal party and other close friends and family members—shower her with love during a day full of refreshments and bites, speeches and toasts, and games and activities.

While a bridal shower is more laid-back than a wedding, planning one is still a big undertaking with numerous details to coordinate. To ensure that your planning process goes as smoothly as possible. we speak with party planning expert Christine Kovacs Forster for insight and tips on how to tackle all your bridal shower tasks. “Combining thought, creativity, originality, and not going crazy with the budget can be a challenge,” she says. “Create a checklist for yourself and mark a couple of items off every week to keep it manageable.”

Meet the Expert

Christine Kovacs Forster is the President of the event planning company My Big Day. For the past 14 years, she’s planned events of all shapes and sizes, including numerous bridal showers.

Read on for Forster’s ultimate bridal shower timeline and checklist.

Three Months Before

  • Decide on a theme. A theme can tie the décor and food together while adding a personal touch. It can be simple like a garden or tea party, and it can also be reflective of the bride. “Common mistakes with bridal shower planning are planning a shower the [same] way everyone else has,” Forster says.
  • Get a guest list from the bride. “Honor the bride's wishes,” suggests Forster. This event is for her close family and friends, so let her decide who should be there.
  • Choose a location. Bridal showers can be as formal or relaxed as you want. They can be held in a chandelier-filled event space or in someone’s backyard. Your venue should comfortably accommodate all your guests and match the theme.
  • Make sure the couple has a registry. Guests traditionally bring gifts to a bridal shower, and many like to choose from the couple’s registry. Make sure it is ready to go before you send out bridal shower invitations.

Two Months Before

  • Send out invitations. Bridal shower invitations can be printed or electronic. Invitations set the tone for the event, so make sure they reflect the theme or mood. The invitation should include all the necessary details, including the date, time, location, and theme.
  • Hire vendors. If you’re hiring vendors such as caterers or photographers, now is the time to do so. You can also opt to have friends and family help out during the bridal shower instead of professional staff. Confirm who wants to pitch in and the roles they will play.
  • Purchase décor. If you are buying decorations for the bridal shower, Forster recommends selecting a few key items to buy. One of the most common mistakes people make “is going crazy with every idea you see on Pinterest,” she says.

One Month Before

  • Finalize details and confirm vendors. Now is the time to check in with the venue and vendors to make sure contracts have been signed, menu items have been chosen, and all the logistical details are set.
  • Work on game ideas. A fun part of any bridal shower is playing games. They encourage guests to mingle and always get the room laughing.

Two Weeks Before

  • Confirm attendees. Follow up with guests who haven’t RSVPed and finalize the number of attendees. Once you do that, you can create the seating chart.
  • Finalize décor. Ensure all the decorations have arrived and you have everything you need to make the venue look gorgeous.
  • Create a playlist. Make a fun playlist to set the tone for the party. Consider incorporating the bride’s favorite tunes and artists or songs that match the theme. 

One Week Before

  • Create a checklist of to-dos. To eliminate stress on the day of the bridal shower, make sure you have a game plan. Forster has a trick to help you stay calm: “Delegate to those willing to help.” That way no one has an overwhelming amount to do.

One Day Before

  • Cook and clean. If the event is at someone’s house, make sure the setting is clean and ready to welcome guests. Prep any food that you are making, and if other people are making items, check in on them to see if they need anything.
  • Decorate the space. If you have access to the venue the day before the bridal shower, consider decorating early to alleviate some stress on the day-of. If you can't decorate the room early, make sure to leave ample time on the morning of the shower to get it ready.
  • Check things off the list. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and forget important tasks. Consult your checklist to make sure you have all tasks completed.
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