Here's Exactly How to Host a Small Bridal Shower (Complete With an Etiquette Guide)

Who's ready to celebrate?
Kim Griffin
by Kim Griffin
Updated May 01, 2024

There are so many things to do before a wedding, and celebrating the bride-to-be plays a huge part in the process. Several parties take place leading up to the wedding, and if you are in charge of hosting the small bridal shower piece, have we got some tips for you. Putting together a successful bridal shower full of fun while following etiquette rules can be a lot of work. But don't worry, we've got you covered. Keep in mind that just because there are some etiquette protocols, every bride and family has their own traditions, wants and needs. So, those take priority over what traditional rules might say. Above all, fun memories and good times for the bride and her guests are the focus.

Can You Have a Small Bridal Shower?

Of course! There are no etiquette rules dictating how many people you can invite to your bridal shower. In fact, some may argue that a small bridal shower is better because it creates a more personal and intimate experience between the bride and her guests. Smaller gatherings also tend to be more relaxed. Timing is also important. You want to block off at least two hours for the gathering, so decide whether you want that to take place around brunch, mid-afternoon or during the early evening. It all boils down to the bride's preferences. Before planning the shower, no matter how large or small, early or late, take her personality into consideration. After all, she's the guest of honor.

Who Should Be Invited to Your Small Bridal Shower?

Small wedding showers tend to include anywhere between 10 and 30 guests—but can be even smaller. If the couple have big families or a large group of friends, whittling that list can get a bit tricky. When planning the party, be sure to include mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law (to be) and grandmothers from both sides. Invitees should also include the maid of honor, bridesmaids and the bride's besties who aren't in the bridal party. That guest list alone will likely fill up the number that would constitute a small bridal shower. Remember, each bride is unique, so be sure to prioritize the people who are important in her life and tailor the list to her.

Who Should Host Your Small Bridal Shower?

Tradition dictates that the maid of honor, mother of the bride or a member of the bridal party throw (read: pay for) the bridal shower. However, that's not a strict etiquette rule. In fact, anyone can throw a bridal shower. The key is coordination between those closest to the bride. That said, cultural norms can also take precedence in this regard, so knowing the bride, her family history and norms is a must. No matter who decides to host the small affair, communication among everyone involved is key. After all, nobody should be planning this fun gathering alone. Those closest to the bride should decide who will host, and that person should work with other important figures in the bride's life to decide all the details.

Activities for Your Small Bridal Shower

A good portion of the party will be spent chatting, eating, laughing and opening presents, but a few planned activities will fill in any lulls, keep the guests engaged and help liven the celebration. Here are some fun bridal shower games and activities for small groups to consider.

Wedding Trivia

The host, using information from friends and family, could put together a quiz with questions about the couple, general wedding trivia or the bride herself. As the questions are asked, each party guest will race to answer the question first, gathering points for each correct response. At the end of the game—10 to 15 questions is a good amount—the person with the highest score wins a prize! If the party consists of 10 guests or less, have each individual compete. However, if the gathering is between 10 and 30 people, consider breaking the guests into 2 or 3 groups.

Wedding Dress Design

This is a traditional game that never goes out of style and keeps the laughs rolling in. To play, divide guests into teams and give each team rolls of toilet or crepe paper. Give them a certain amount of time to design and create a wedding dress, placing it on one team member using only the paper given. When time is up, have each team present its model, who will walk down a makeshift aisle. The bride chooses the winner.

Bridal Mad Libs

Another fun bridal shower game for small groups sure to keep the vibes light and fun is for the host to create a Mad Libs-style story for guests to fill out. Consider using the couple's love story as the base for the game. The host will call out to the guests asking for different parts of a sentence—nouns, verbs, etc.—filling out the story with the answers. The sillier the answers, the better. Once complete, the host will read the altered story out aloud, which will certainly have the bride and her guests in stitches.

Decorate a Keepsake

For a more low-key idea, consider setting up a station where guests will put their crafting skills to work. Give guests all the materials they need to create or decorate a predetermined keepsake to take home so they can remember the time they had together in celebration of the bride. Some ideas include decorating picture frames, painting wine glasses or making jewelry. You could also have the guests create recipe cards or decorate fabric squares to give to the bride as mementos. A memory or marital advice jar for the bride is a good idea as well.

Purse Scavenger Hunt

Another quick and classic game great for a small group is the purse scavenger hunt. For this game, all the host needs to do is create a list of items typically found inside a purse. She will call out the items as the guests look through their purses to see if they have it inside—think lip balm, a pen, tissues or loose change. At the end of the game, the person with the most items matching the list wins a prize!

Find a Small Bridal Shower Venue Near You

You can either hold a small bridal shower at someone's home or by searching The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find a venue near you. If you decide to go the latter route, searching for a small space is easy using the filter feature on the site. Many places, even those that welcome big crowds, have areas for more intimate affairs. Just be sure no matter where you choose, the space can comfortably fit all the guests and the bride's personality.

Up Next
  • collage of bridal shower trends including flower cocktail, butterfly cake and woven rattan and pearl purse
    The 7 Trendiest Wedding Shower Ideas for 2023