The 40 Best Bridal Shower Ideas to Pamper the To-Be-Wed

From decor to food, all the ideas you need to shower the nearly-newlywed.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Jun 18, 2021

Of the many pre-wedding events that customarily take place ahead of the big day, a wedding shower (also commonly known as a bridal shower) is a fun one that offers loved ones the chance to pamper the to-be-weds. However, planning all the details, plus ensuring the aesthetic feels creative and unique, can be a little daunting for the host. To help, we've connected with some of our favorite wedding pros to share the best bridal shower ideas, from food and games to decorations and invitations, to inspire you.

In This Story:

Bridal Shower Top Tips

Plan Inclusively—Not All Wedding Showers Are Bridal Showers

Although bridal shower is a common term within the wedding industry, the inherently gendered term under-emphasizes the importance of inclusivity in regard to wedding showers. Whether a wedding has a bride or not, a pre-wedding shower to pamper to-be-weds with love and gifts is customary and there are a few steps you can take to ensure the entire event feels inclusive. Many couples are shifting away from showers that only include one to-be-wed toward combined events that honor both partners who are getting married.

You can also feel free to move away from themes that feel bridal-centric suggests Rachael Ellen Mayo, wedding planner and owner of Rachael Ellen Events. "No matter who the guest of honor is, allow the celebration to be about that person! Consider themes outside the regular 'blushing bride' concept and think about what the guest of honor loves. Do they love breakfast food? Plan a beautiful brunch without traditional 'bridal' details. It isn't ever about being a 'bride' or 'groom,' it is about celebrating this exciting milestone in that person's life."

Get Creative With Bridal Shower Themes

Virginia Frischkorn, wedding planning expert and owner of Bluebird Productions, Something Blue by Bluebird and Bluebird in a Box, encourages anyone planning a wedding shower to "pick a theme! It's so much easier for guests to get excited and choose gifts if there's a theme." One theme that Frischkorn suggests is an "around the clock" theme. "Each guest is given a time and should bring a gift that correlates with that time. For example, if I got 5 PM, I would choose a cocktail shaker set or if you got 9 AM, select the coffee maker off the registry. Another fun shower theme is a wine tasting and having guests bring a bottle to try and a bottle for the couple to keep."

However, Karina Lopez, wedding planner and owner of KC You There advises that you don't need to go overboard with thematic party ideas. "Themes can sometimes get a bit out of hand. If you're having a Parisian themed shower, you don't need mini Eiffel towers or berets everywhere. Play off the feel and color of your venue and when in doubt, pick a focal piece and incorporate mini details here and there."
Get inspired by even more creative bridal shower themes here.

The Host Pays For The Shower

"The person hosting the shower covers the cost," explains Mayo. "That could be the bride, a mother, the bridesmaids, or one specific friend, but the financial obligation always falls on the person who offered to host." This is important to keep in mind because there are a variety of different people who could host a shower for the to-be-weds. "Family and friends of the family are the most common hosts of a wedding shower," notes Frischkorn. "The wedding party often has so many other expensive events surrounding the wedding (from a potential engagement party to a bachelorette party and more) so hopefully a family member or family-like member will offer to host."

At the end of the day, it's crucial to have the budget conversation early and handle it with care. "One thing to keep in mind is that weddings are expensive for everyone involved and money can be a touchy subject, so it's never good to just assume," says Lopez. "If there's a specific shower the bride has in mind, she may want to consider contributing as well." For more details and etiquette surrounding who pays for the wedding shower, take a peek at this advice.

Be Considerate With The Guest List

Melissa Williams, wedding planner and owner of B. Astonished Events, advises that you "make sure that the guests you are extending invites to for your shower are included on your guest list for the wedding. It can get tricky when you begin to invite guests to the shower but exclude them from your wedding day." Check out this advice about wedding shower invitations for more insight.

Gift Thoughtfully

While giving a gift from the wedding registry is always a good idea, you may feel like gifting a set of mixing bowls doesn't quite celebrate your bond with the bride-to-be or guest of honor. Furthermore, for some themed showers, a certain category of gift may be requested of you. When it comes to purchasing a gift for the shower, check in with the host if you're not sure what to buy. And if you're still feeling stuck, check out some of our favorite contemporary bridal shower gift ideas here.

Dress Appropriately

With so many pre-wedding events to attend, it can be difficult to put together outfits for each one, both as a guest and as the person of honor. If you're feeling stuck and can't decide what to wear to a wedding shower, let these bridal shower outfit ideas and this advice about what to wear to a wedding shower as a guest inspire you.

As the Guest of Honor, Do What You Want

Lopez encourages to-be-weds being showered to "do what you want. Everyone seems to have something to say; 'don't open gifts at the shower, it's boring,' or 'don't do games, it's lame.' Open the gifts if you want and play all the games you want to play! At the end of the day, your guests will be happy as long as you are happy."

Bridal Shower Decor Ideas

Once you've chosen a theme, accessorizing the event with coordinating decor is a must. From beautiful centerpieces to unique photo op installations, wow guests with eye-catching decorations. Pro tip: When it comes to decorating the space to create an inviting ambience, consider all the senses, beyond just visual. To further enhance the party atmosphere, consider tapping to maid of honor or another wedding party member to curate a playlist of tunes for the day. For even more ideas, check out these bridal shower decorations to fit every style and every budget.

1. Boho Bridal Shower Decorations With Peacock Chair

Chances are the to-be-wed will be opening presents during the wedding shower. Rent an over-the-top chair to make them the center of attention during gift time.

2. Tropical Bridal Shower Decorations With Gold Pineapples

Give simple tablescape details, like pineapples, a DIY upgrade with a coat of gold spray paint.

3. Bridal Shower With Palm Leaf Centerpieces and Striped Linens

Feel free to play around with themes and doing a bit of mixing and matching. This bridal shower was a creative juxtaposition of modern and tropical.

4. Trendy Gold-and-Teal Balloon Installation

Not only was this balloon installation epic, but it also served as a photo backdrop for bridal shower guests to pose in front of.

5. Centerpieces With Succulents, Ranunculus and Protea

Dressing up the party tables with groupings of small arrangements is a great way to make an impact while minding the overall budget.

6. Petite Centerpiece With Roses

Roses are a great addition to any centerpiece—from bridal showers to wedding arrangements and even for non-wedding events like baby showers.

7. Perfect Bridal Shower Centerpiece With Garden Roses

Talk about dreamy—this romantic centerpiece was absolutely eye-catching.

8. Centerpiece With Astilbe, Roses and Greenery

These arrangements may have been small, but the impact they made was immense.

9. Ghost Chairs With Custom Monogram Decals

If the to-be-wed has plans to change their name after the wedding, consider highlighting their new monogram with custom chair decals.

10. Pink-and-Gold Place Setting

It's hard to go wrong with pink and gold; it's a tried and true color combination.

Bridal Shower Games

Games and activities are a great addition to any wedding party. Consider a DIY flower crown station or a photo booth that will allow the honoree to snap pics with their wedding or bridal party members. Find some of our favorite bridal shower party games here. Plus, use these printable wedding shower game templates to ensure the wedding shower is a hit with everyone.

11. Scratch-off Game at Boho Themed Bridal Shower

Craft stores often have supplies to make DIY scratch-off games. Consider placing one beside each place card as a fun and simple door game.

12. This-or-That Game

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Red or white wine? See how well your close friends really know you with a game where guests have to choose what you like between various options.

13. Keepsake Favorite Memory Cards

In addition to having a guest book at the bash, consider including party games that will provide the to-be-wed with meaningful keepsakes of memories they've shared with the close friends in attendance.

14. Shoe Game

The shoe game is a timeless standby for wedding receptions and showers. The host will ask a series of questions about which partner is more likely to do a certain thing or act a certain way. Each to-be-wed will be holding one of their own shoes and one of their partner's shoes. They'll hold up whichever shoe corresponds to the person most likely to do whatever the question asks.

15. Guess the Correct Number of Kisses

Simple door games, like asking guests to guess the number of chocolate kisses in a vase, are fun additions the keep the event lively. Have door prizes on hand to reward the winners of these party games.

Bridal Shower Stationery and Signage

When planning out the theme of the bash, consider the stationery and day-of signage that will complement the aesthetic. "A seating chart can go a long way," advises Lopez. "Not only can it act as a focal point for your theme, but it can also be interactive too." For affordable bridal shower invitations you're sure to love, check out these ideas.

16. Pink-and-Purple Bridal Shower Invitation

Include whatever floral varieties will be included in the day-of decorations in the initial stationery design. For this shower, illustrations of orchids and pampas grass hinted at what was to come.

17. Menu Card With Pink Calligraphy

Elegant calligraphy is a great way to up-level your stationery design.

18. Greenery-Inspired Menu at Tropical Themed Bridal Shower

Illustrated palm fronds on this menu design complemented the fresh greenery seen atop the tables.

19. Watercolor Welcome Sign

Usher guests into the bridal shower venue with a welcoming sign.

20. Bubbly-Inspired Pre-Wedding Toast Invitation

If a shower months before the wedding day isn't in the cards, consider a champagne toast with some of your dearest friends on the morning of the wedding.

21. Seed Packet Escort Cards

If you've chosen a garden or "Let Love Bloom" theme, seed packets are a great favor for attendees.

22. Ornate Shower Invitation With Calligraphy

Ornate illustrations bordered this classic bridal shower invitation.

Bridal Shower Food and Dessert Ideas

For more ideas, let this wedding shower food and menu advice inform your bridal shower planning. Plus, get inspired by these wedding shower cakes both you and your guests will absolutely love.

23. Ice Cream Sandwiches

If cake isn't the to-be-wed's cup of tea, consider an alternative dessert offering like ice cream sandwiches.

24. Cupcakes With Bride-to-Be's Picture

Even the desserts at this bridal shower put the bride-to-be front and center. Cupcakes with an image of the nearly-newlywed were served for dessert.

25. Mimosa Bar

To add a celebratory feel to your shower, break out the bubbly with a festive mimosa bar for bridal shower guests to enjoy.

26. Individual Cakes With Lemon Decorations

Especially for a tea party theme, mini cakes and sandwiches lend themselves well to a high-tea-inspired menu.

27. Custom Cookies

Reinforce the bash's aesthetic with on-theme decorated sugar cookies.

28. Individual Fruit Parfaits

For a brunch shower, add individual fruit tarts or berry parfaits to the menu.

29. One-Tier Simple White Cake

While your wedding cake may be a multi-tier masterpiece, stick with something more petite for your pre-wedding needs. A mini cake like this would also be a welcome addition to a bach party weekend or even an engagement party.

30. Individual Naked Cakes

Each guest at this bash received their own petite naked cake.

31. Cotton Candy Station

You'll score major bonus points with a to-be-wed who has a sweet tooth if you bring in a cotton candy station.

32. Doughnut Bar

At a brunch- or breakfast-inspired shower, offer an assortment of sugary doughnuts or guests to nosh on.

33. Fresh Squeezed Juice

Start a morning wedding shower off right with fresh-squeezed juice.

34. Single-Tier Cake With Fresh Flower Accents

There's so much to love about this cheerful-and-petite cake; fresh blooms and fruit, decorative icing and even an eye-catching milk-glass stand.

35. Cake With Lily of the Valley Details

There's a reason the royals love to use lilies of the valley in wedding arrangements—the blooms, even in icing form, are beautiful.

Bridal Shower Favors

Since a wedding shower is all about gifting, make sure attendees depart with a small token of appreciation. Get inspired by even more bridal shower favor ideas here.

36. Macaron Party Favors

Guests departed this shower with a duo of sugary macarons.

37. Lavender Party Favors

Guests at this event got to select either a bunch of dried lavender flowers or a lavender soap to enjoy.

38. Mini Rose Bottles

Keep the party going by sending attendees home with a split of your favorite wine.

39. Pastel-Hued Mug Party Favors

For coffee lovers, consider having a coffee bar at the shower and gifting each attendee a cute mug to use that day and then bring home with them.

40. Macarons Under Glass Cloches

Favors don't have to be given at the end of the event. At this shower, a cloche-covered macaron greeted guests as they sat down for brunch.

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