So, just recently, I’ve entered this stage of life when all of my friends are either getting married or having babies. It’s honestly really exciting, although sometimes I look at myself and think, I’m still a kid, how is everyone else having their own kids? The fact that I’ve been married for almost a year now, seriously blows my mind. When did we all get so old?!
Nonetheless, being in this season of my life, I have been throwing my fair share of showers. I know from talking to other people that throwing a shower can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. Luckily, I’ve been around event planning for a long time, so it’s not quite as scary to me. Not to say, it doesn’t have it’s stressful moments, but overall, it’s something I do enjoy doing. Plus, what’s better than treating one of your favorite friends to a day all about them to help them prepare for either their marriage or soon-to-arrive baby? It’s the best!
If you are one of those people though that has never thrown a shower and is also entering this stage of life, then I have put together a ten steps to help you out. Plus, here’s a sneak peek of how I threw three showers in the last few weeks! Don’t worry, more details on each of those showers is coming soon on the blog!!
Step 1: Sit down and word vomit on a piece of paper.
Think about the personality of your bride or mommy-to-be, start brewing some ideas for themes, think about whether you’re going to have it in town or out of town if they happen to be a long distance friend, etc. During this time, also be sure to ask them what town they prefer to have it in, some dates that they are available (likely other people are also throwing them showers, so you’ll want to know what their schedule looks like before the planning process begins), an estimated number of guests she expects, etc.
Step 2: Search for a venue and ask your guest of honor to begin working on a guest list.
Chances are if your guest of honor is a bride or mommy-to-be, she has one million other things on her mind than putting a guest list together for you, which totally makes sense! That’s why it’s important for you to ask her early on, so she has time to get it together. Plus, the earlier you know her list, the better for you, so you can plan for an estimated headcount and can get started on invitations. This is also important when searching for a venue. Some venues can accommodate more people than others and you don’t want a venue that is far too small or far too large.
Things to think about when choosing a venue:
- How much money do you have to spend overall? You want your venue to be nice, but you don’t want it to suck up all of your budget.
- How many people will it hold?
- Does it come with tables, chairs, linens, etc.?
- What other fees might they have for cleaning, security on staff, etc.?
- Do they allow outside catering or must you use their in-house catering service?
- How many hours do they allow you to use the venue and if you go over, are there any additional fees?
Some venues will really nickel and dime you, so you have to be sure to read all of the fine print.
Step 3: Choose a theme and start looking for items that fit that theme to make sure it will be easy to execute.
Some things to think about when choosing a theme are:
- How is the mommy-to-be decorating her nursery or how is the couple decorating their home?
- What are some of your guest of honor’s favorite things?
- Are there some things on your guest of honor’s registry that can guide you in the right direction or that you might even be able to purchase for her so she can both have what she needs, but you can also use them to decorate her shower?
- Are there things your guest of honor hates or finds cheesy?
- Are there items available that you can use to portray this theme or will you have to have everything custom made?
Step 4: Decide the time of day you’d like to have the shower and let that help you decide your menu.
When choosing the time of day, you want to consider how formal you want the shower to be. Whether that’s a fun brunch for a mommy-to-be or a night time party for a couple’s shower, the time of day will not only set the tone for how people will dress, but it will also help form your menu.
A few things to think about when deciding your menu and your time of day for the shower are:
- If you are on a tight budget, choosing a shower time that falls in between normal meal times will help save you money. For instance, throwing a shower around 10:30 am or 2 pm will often mean you can serve heavy hors d’oeuvres rather than a full meal.
- If you choose a meal time and plan to serve a full meal, will you be cooking everything or hiring a caterer?
- What are some of your guest of honor’s favorite foods and what are some foods she hates?
- How many people will you be feeding?
- Do you have the serving dishes, utensils, etc. you will need or will you need to purchase those?
- Will you have for dessert? A nice cake? Custom cookies?
Step 5: Once you receive your guest of honor’s guest list (you may have to remind them a couple of times, haha) you can choose your invitations and send them out.
You’ll want to choose invitations that not only match your theme, but are also cost efficient. Beware of odd shapes or large sizes that may cause postage to be more. You’ll want to be sure to send invitations out pretty early, so people have time to plan (especially if it’s out of town), but not so early that people put it on their fridge and forget about it when the times comes.
Step 6: Decide on the entertainment and decorations for your shower.
People will need things to do at your shindig and you’ll want it to look pretty, so this does take some time and effort.
For a couple’s shower, you’ll often be thinking about things like…
- Do we want to provide alcohol?
- Will we have someone playing music or at least some sort of stereo system with a great playlist?
- What games will we play? (I myself am not a huge fan of lots of traditional shower games, but it can’t hurt to throw in one or two).
- Is there something I can provide so people can mingle and have something to keep them busy? Ex: cornhole, filling out items for the bride and groom, etc.
- How would you describe this couple or what are some of their favorite things to do?
- What items can you provide that they can then turn around and use in their new home?
For a baby shower, you’ll want to think about things like…
- Do we want to provide alcohol? That sounds funny, but is a serious question. Sometimes it’s no big deal at all, but other times it can make the mommy-to-be feel left out.
- Will we have some sort of light music?
- Will we play games? Does this mommy-to-be hate having her stomach touched or attention brought to her size?
- What are some ways to make the mommy-to-be feel special or ways to make her life easier?
- Is there a color scheme you should stick to?
Step 7: Write it all out. I’ve told y’all before that I’m a lists person, right?
Whenever I throw a shower, I literally draw out a diagram of where everything will go and everything I will need. I know some people don’t have to do this, but if I don’t, I will forget a detail. Plus, it gives me peace of mind.
Some things, you’ll want to include on this diagram are:
- Where will you set up tables for the buffet, cake, gifts, games, for people to sit at, etc.?
- Then break down each of these tables to the very last detail (linens, centerpieces, decorations, everything needed to play a game, etc.). This will help you build your shopping list or see items you may already have/can borrow from someone.
- Example breakdown:
- Gift table –
- Table linen
- Framed chalkboard sign with “Gifts” written on it
- Large & small mason jar with flowers (water to fill jars)
- Votives (lighter)
- Wooden letters of couple’s initials
- wooden letters
- chalk paint
- sand paper
- Gift table –
- How many tables and chairs will you need for seating?
- If you are having a photo back drop, where will it go?
- Will you have any signage? Will you purchase pre-made signs or write them yourself?
- Where will people enter? How will you jazz up the entryway?
- Will you need any sort of decoration on the front door?
- Do you want to include any decorations in the bathroom?
- Are there places in the venue you want to accentuate like a fireplace mantle, buffet or patio area?
Step 8: The week before the shower lay it all out.
So now you’ve planned everything, created your organized list and picked up all of the items you need. It’s a good idea now to create bins for each area of your shower. Then, you can go through your diagram and make sure you cross off every item on the list as you put it in the bin. This will help SO much to make sure you don’t forget anything and also, it will make it easier during set up.
Step 9: Arrive to set up as early as you can and ask for help.
One huge mistake I see a lot of people make when throwing a shower is thinking it will only take an hour or two to set up. This is not only not true, but also will cause you a lot of undue stress because you’ll be rushing through, you’ll miss things you wanted to do and likely, you’ll still be finishing setting up as guests are arriving (you always have those 1 or 2 that show up early!) Show up to set up as early as the venue will let you. If you happen to have free time after, then you can focus on sprucing yourself up and taking a breather before it begins. If you have friends or family near by, ask them for help! Setting everything up can be super hard to do alone, but when you have those you love helping you, everything goes a lot smoother, takes less time and can even be fun!
Step 10: Host & enjoy!
I am someone who is not the greatest host when it comes to showers, but it is important that you let people know that they can go ahead and eat, that you answer any questions about the food or drinks, that you tell people about the games available and how to play them, that you announce when they’re going to open presents or play a game so you have their undivided attention and that you are sure to thank everyone for coming. Also, make sure to enjoy yourself though! All of this is for someone you love and enjoy being around and you want this day to be fun for them. All of your hard work is done, so make a plate, drink a mimosa or sangria or whatever and spend some quality time with them before they are married up or babied up. 🙂
So that’s it! Your how-to guide on throwing a bridal/couple’s/baby shower in ten easy steps. Have questions – feel free to contact me anytime!!
C’est la vie,