When it comes to how to plan a bridal shower, you want an event that is elegant, tasteful and aspirational. There was only one person we could ask for their tips – Carole Middleton, who founded Party Pieces.
Carole has plenty of experience when it comes to wedding planning too – her daughter, Kate Middleton, married Prince William in 2011, and her younger daughter Pippa Middleton married James Matthews (brother of Made in Chelsea alumni Spencer Matthews) in 2017.
So when it comes to mother of the bride duties, and how to plan the perfect bridal shower, Carole Middleton knows it all. She’s shared with us seven tips on how to plan a bridal shower…
1. Make it Easy to Mingle
If the party is small and intimate, it’s much easier to make it seem elegant and special, and it makes it far more affordable too! Just remember that the bride may want to include family, friends, and even co-workers, so you’ll need to make it easy to get everybody to mingle.
Also, make sure you have invited people who are actually invited to the wedding; it can be incredibly embarrassing otherwise!
2. Pick an Ice-Breaker Theme
If you aren’t sure if the guests are going to get on as they are, choose a party theme that breaks through the ice! With the right atmosphere and theme, you can get everybody chatting to each other.
Whether it’s an elegant decorative style that people can’t resist mentioning, or an unusual quirky style that’ll amuse the guests, it’s definitely a great way to get them chatting. Of course, always check that the theme is right with the bride first!
3. Check with the Bride
As an extension of the above tip, if you are thinking of hosting for the bride as a surprise event, it’s still worth checking in with her first. She may want a specific theme, may not want certain people coming, or she may not want a shower at all. Talk to her about the theme, food, wine, and guests, even if she has said she is happy for you to take the reins of the event.
It’s better to keep her in the loop on the most important aspects as you navigate how to plan a bridal shower. That way, you will know you’re putting on something she will love. You can still add a couple of nice surprises for her during the party!
4. Consider Your Catering
Food and drink is an important thing to consider when you’re looking at how to plan a bridal shower and can be the difference between an okay party and an unforgettable one.
For drinks, grab a couple of bottles of wine (especially prosecco which you can shimmer up with popaball bubbles, available from Party Pieces), and various other popular alcoholic drinks. It’s great fun to make some cocktails or punch, and can even be a fun activity at the event!
Remember to grab some non-alcoholic drinks for the kids too, a mix of soft drinks can make some clever and delicious mocktails, and it keeps them busy and happy.
We’ve got some amazing unusual catering ideas to inspire you.
5. Plan Your Party Games
To keep the atmosphere fun (and to break any remaining ice between guests), consider hosting a couple of party games throughout the evening! Only one or two are necessary, as overdoing it can become tedious. Make sure to choose games that everybody can get involved with too. Charades is a classic game and is even better when people are grouped up into teams so that no one feels uncomfortable if they don’t want to stand up on their own.
Games are a great way to get people feeling happy especially if the conversation runs dry and don’t forget the music too! Keep it lively and upbeat but not too loud so it isn’t intrusive.
Browse our favourite bridal shower games here.
6. Gift Guides
Gifts are a sticky subject with bridal showers. Many people want to give a gift, but for the bride to expect them is bad etiquette. As before, talk to the bride about it. She may feel awkward having a party where she gets gifts in which case, let guests know on the invitation.
If she’s happy receiving them (and who isn’t!), make it easy for your guests to know where to put them! Set up a table with a large, eye-catching centrepiece on top to help the guests know where to put their gifts.
The pile of gifts mixed in with the decorative centrepiece will also look fantastic!
There are lots of beautiful DIY centrepiece ideas to browse on Confetti.
7. Support the Bride
Sometimes brides can feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of her wedding day approaching and often it is the bridal shower that makes it all feel very real.
Make sure she is looked after during the shower and during the run-up to the wedding. Lend some support and an ear if she needs it. While the wedding is likely to be one of the best days of her life, it can be one that’s hugely stressful too, and she knows it.
Make sure she knows which gift is from who, make sure she has extra support on the day, and generally, just be there to help where possible – she’ll love you for it!
Now you know how to plan a bridal shower, make sure you check out our edit of the best spa hen party destinations.