Planning a bridal shower should be fun, but it can often be a bit confusing and stressful. From figuring out who hosts the bridal shower to the best bridal shower food and themes, there can be a lot of pressure. But don’t despair! We’ve thought of the best bridal shower ideas to entertain not only the bride (or couple!) but every guest. But first, let’s get into some bridal shower basics.
Who Usually Pays for the Bridal Shower?
The host (traditionally the Maid of Honor or collective bridesmaids, however in modern times it can really be anyone…including the mother of the bride or even the bride herself) is the one who pays for the bridal shower. Just like with a wedding, bridal shower costs can vary depending on how extravagant an event you put on. In general, you can expect to pay $20-$100+ per person depending on what food and alcohol you’re serving, and if you’re having to pay for a venue or giving out favors.
How Can I Host a Bridal Shower for Cheap?
When planning a bridal shower on a budget, the more you can do on your own the cheaper it will be. For instance, having the shower at someone’s house and buying your own alcohol can save you hundreds. (Find out how much you’ll need with our wedding alcohol calculator.) Also, a potluck shower with finger sandwiches or large dishes that everyone can chip in for and make (IE: lasagna) will bring the cost way down.
How Do You Host an Amazing Bridal Shower?
The key to a great bridal shower is making sure it’s fun, and that the guest(s) of honor feel special. If they told you they just want to eat yummy tacos and margaritas and not open gifts (or receive gifts) then so be it! The host and nearlywed should definitely discuss what their idea of a perfect shower is. Another important note is that a bridal shower doesn’t have to be a bridal shower at all! To make it inclusive, you can celebrate one of both spouses getting married by making it a wedding shower. Who says only brides should have all the fun?
What Do You Do During a Bridal Shower?
Traditionally, a bridal shower involves eating/drinking, playing bridal shower games, and then opening gifts. But as we mentioned above, this is all flexible (especially the games and opening gifts, part). While you generally have free rein to do what the celebrant wants, it’s important to keep in mind that you are hosting guests. This means you’ll want to make sure they’re fed and entertained, which is why the typical bridal shower format tends to work well! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it we say.
The Best Bridal Shower Ideas
OK. Now that we’ve covered the most common bridal shower questions, lets get into fun bridal shower ideas and themes! Below is a mix of options for bridal shower ideas that can work across a wide variety of budgets. (We’ve also included high and low budget ways to do each!)
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Wine tastings are always fun, and can easily be paired with a regional theme (IE: a Parisian bridal shower featuring all wines from France. Or, try something outside of the box like Portugal or Spain.)
High Budget: Call local wine stores or restaurants to see about arranging a tasting at their location or at home. Or, reach out to a resource like The Sommelier Company or Samantha Sommelier, who will do virtual or in-person wine tastings. Depending on their offerings they will either provide the wine or guide you through the buying process, and they will provide sheets for tasting notes as well as walk you through each wine for the event itself. Price ranges for in-person events tend to average $600+ (not including wine), and $40/pp for virtual.
Low Budget: Look for online cheatsheets and create your own wine tasting at home! For instance, my husband and I are part of a local, natural wine club from a restaurant called Macchialina (if you’re located in Miami you should definitely try it!). Every month they deliver a themed box of wine along with notes for each, and you could easily use something like this as a budget-friendly guide for your own tasting. See their tasting notes and wine for the Galicia, Spain wine box. Prices range rom $10+/pp depending on levels of wine used.
WGM Says: Remember that wine tastings don’t involve a full glass. A typical tasting pour is 2 oz, and the standard bottle of wine is 24 oz, so you can get 12 tastings from one bottle.
Tarot Card or Astrology Readings
Every birthday party, wedding, or other event I’ve been to that has had a tarot card reader has been a huge hit, and there is always a line to get a reading. I love the idea of a celestial-themed bridal shower along with an element of tarot or astrology to keep guests entertained.
High Budget: Hire an in-person tarot card or astrology reader for your event using a service like Entertainers Worldwide. With pricing starting at $600, you can position them in the room (along with a waitlist) and have your guests sign up to get their readings done one-by-one.
Low Budget: Stream a virtual tarot card class like this one from Uncommon Goods, and purchase a tarot deck ($15+) for each guest that can also double as a favor!
Makeup and Hair Tutorials
Looking for beauty-themed bridal shower ideas? Help the bride get wedding-day ready with online makeup videos or in-person instruction.
High Budget: Hire a local makeup/hair artist or enlist the services of a company like Glamsquad to come over and demonstrate how to do a smokey eye or contouring/highlighting or even a french twist (Price starting at $125/hour). Or, book a private virtual class from Blushington (from $330+ for over 10 guests).
Low Budget: There is no shortage of amazing makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube. Opt for a theme (IE: This glowy fall makeup look from Sonia Gasparian) or just a smokey eye. Ask everyone to bring their phone or ipad (and stand if they have one) as well as products they’ll need from home. Or, you can include a little gift bag with an eyeliner or other products to complete the look. From $10/pp if using favor idea.
Learn the Art of Mixology
During the pandemic my husband got really good at making cocktails (which is a little too much fun, LOL) simply by finding the right recipes and with practice. Give your guests the same skill with live or virtual instruction from a mixologist that can teach you the craft.
High Budget: Contact a local mixologist to inquire about hiring them for an at-home class, or Uber with your girls to a local mixology class and prepare to learn and sip! Google “mixology class” and look for in-person private classes like those offered from Liquor Lab, which cost $85/per guest (currently with a $1,700 minimum).
Low Budget: Take a virtual class online (such as this Classic Cocktails course from Cozymeal) which is $25 per device. You can gift every guest their own barware set, such as this one from Amazon that includes a Boston shaker, strainer, jigger, and recipe cards.
The beauty of cooking classes is that they’ve become so popular that most cities have them! For culinary-themed bridal shower ideas, search for a local sushi-making class or sign up for an Indian food class in person or virtually.
High Budget: Take over an entire cooking class in your area so you and your group are treated to a private lesson. Alternatively, you can opt for a virtual experience using a company like The Table Less Traveled, where private virtual lessons range from $75/pp to $175+/pp with prepared ingredients sent directly to the participants.
Low Budget: If you’re hosting an intimate bridal shower (and have a large enough kitchen!) you can pick one recipe from the bride’s favorite chef (everybody loves Ina Garten) and divvy up the prep and cooking among participants. Print out recipe cards and aprons for everyone to take home. From $10+/pp.
Other Bridal Shower Ideas We Love
You don’t have to stream a class or hire an instructor for your bridal shower. You can instead consider some of these ideas that rely more on decor and gifts to pull off:
DIY wedding project: Is the couple hoping to have terrarium centerpieces? Or maybe a homemade altar? Pick one project and have guests help put it together.
Lingerie or Swim Shower: Have guests “shower” the bride with gifts of lingerie. Or, if the couple is going on a tropical honeymoon, they could instead gift her swimwear and resort wear.
Around the Clock theme: This classic bridal shower idea involves assigning each guest a time to theme their gift around. For example, you would write 6:00 p.m. on a guest’s invite, and their gift could be a charcuterie/cheese board that can be used for cocktail hour. Just be sure to explain the theme to guests on the invite.
Host a Fundraiser: Have the couple pick their favorite charity and bring awareness to the cause. In lieu of gifts guests can make donations.