For a first-time hostess (which is exactly what most members of the bridal party are!), organizing and orchestrating an event as important at the bridal shower can feel intimidating. Although mapping out the guest list, selecting the right venue, and planning out a satisfying meal might feel complicated at the beginning, experts agree there are ways to plan the perfect pre-wedding event without becoming overwhelmed. It all comes down to the details you choose and the decisions you make, which includes delegating tasks to others and planning as much as possible ahead of time.
To help you pull off the perfect (and not to mention painless!) bridal shower for your bride, we're sharing advice for expert planner Jesse Tombs of Alison Events Planning + Design. His six best tips will help you prioritize the elements that really matter in order to plan an incredible event without losing your mind along the way.
Assign Tasks to Others
"One person shouldn't organize the whole thing," Tombs says. Generally speaking, if the mother of the bride isn't hosting the bridal shower, the maid of honor or the bridesmaids will. Although one or two people will often be listed as the actual host, that doesn't mean they're the only people who can plan the event. If the entire bridal party is planning together, Tombs suggests splitting up tasks into manageable chunks. "One friend can oversee the catering, one person can oversee décor and gifts, and another friend can oversee the guest list and invites," he recommends.
Make Sure the Event Is a Reflection of the Bride
This party is all about the bride, so the entire day—from the venue to the dress code to the food and the guest list—should speak to that fact, Tombs explains. "Don't feel the need to get too trendy or over the top," he says of the decorative elements. "Just think of it as any other party; something that feels celebratory, fun, and meaningful to the guest of honor."
Keep Your Guest List Organized with Online Tools
As you work with the bride to create a guest list, keep a digital record of each attendee, their relationship to the bride (which comes in handy when you create a seating chart), and their mailing address. "You could also use a paperless invite program online to keep the invite list organized and the RSVP process streamlined," Tombs suggests.
Keep the Guest List Small
The bridal shower's guest list doesn't need to be as large as the wedding's, and if you think the bride would prefer a more intimate gathering, then feel free to invite a group of women that reflects that. "Consider only inviting people (close family and friends) that will be in the bridal party," Tombs says, as well as inviting any other key players in the bride's life, including grandmother's, important aunts, cousins, and close friends that are not in the wedding. This helps keep the stress level down and ensures she's able to enjoy and spend time with all of her guests on the special day.
Make a Group Playlist
Instead of stressing out over the musical selections for the party, ask the guests to contribute. "Ask each attendee to suggest a song to add to the bridal shower playlist," Tombs suggests. Then, assign another friend to make a playlist with all of the selections that can be played during the party.
Make as Much Décor as Possible
If you and the other bridesmaids are the creative types, try to DIY as much as possible. The cost of the shower may be the most overwhelming factor of all, so the more you can do yourselves—think: escort cards, welcome signage, and fun add-ons like balloons—the more relaxed you'll be. Save the budget for impactful details, like flowers for the tables and a delicious cake.