For a lot of us, the images of a bridal shower make us think of a sterile hall, hats made out of ribbons and bows, and lunch meat sandwiches.

Bridal showers in this age can be anything you can imagine. They aren’t confined to Sunday afternoons, but can be range from a girl’s day out, an evening of cocktails or a themed party.

Fresh off of the high of my afternoon tea themed bridal shower last week, I wanted to share my tips to make your bridal shower successful! Along the way, I’ll share some pictures from my bridal shower to give you ideas in the planning process.

1.  Create a guest list – It’s important to follow tradition to a certain point. Make sure to invite women from both the bride and groom’s side, but limit it to people the bride actually knows. The biggest tip when creating a bridal shower guest list – Only invite people that are also invited to the wedding!

2. Choose a date- Personally, I think the best timeline for a bridal shower is between six months prior to the wedding and two months prior to the wedding. You want it somewhat close to the wedding because people will be more excited as your wedding date is quickly approaching, but you don’t want it too close to the wedding that you are so stressed you don’t enjoy your shower.

3. Send out invitations – Whether it’s E-vites or regular invitations, send out something. It makes the event more formal and with everyone’s busy lives an invitation is a good reminder of the event. Make sure to add an RSVP date on the invitation so you have a final number of attendees.

4. Choose a theme –  Yes, choose a theme and no, “bridal shower” is not a theme. The theme doesn’t have to be something huge or obscure, but having a theme ensures a more cohesive shower. You could even make your bridal shower theme an extension of your wedding theme.I chose afternoon tea for my shower because my wedding theme is vintage. I figured I could play off my wedding theme and even use some decor I plan to use at my wedding. Once you have a theme, it’s easy to tie in games, location, food and decor.

5. Choose a venue- Once you have a rough idea of how many people you are inviting, your theme and
timeline you can choose a venue that fits with these requirements. I chose an old town hall because it fit with my vintage afternoon tea theme. Always make sure to find out if your venue has any rules. For example, my hall had a “no balloons” rule, which was fine by me since balloons did not fit into my theme. Other important questions to ask are if you are allowed to bring your own food and the timeline of when you get the venue and when you need to be finished up.

6. Food – Remember your bridal shower doesn’t have to be an afternoon buffet. You could choose an evening wine and cheese party, appetizers only, a dessert party, the sky is really the limit! You could also choose to have your shower at a restaurant that will take care of the food for you. I chose a venue where we had to supply our own food. Thanks to an amazing group of bakers and cooks, we had a wide variety of afternoon tea treats like mini sandwiches, scones, cookies, cupcakes and lots of tea on hand.

7. Games – This part is really the preference of the bride and depends on the theme and location of the shower. Since my shower was a sit down afternoon tea, it made sense to have some games. My bridesmaid did a great job of coming up with a variety of games that got people involved and laughing.

8. Favours – Most people bring gifts to a bridal shower, so it only makes sense to thank them for their love and support towards the couple. Since I love beauty products, I decided to do an interactive favour and went for a beauty bar. We set up tables at the back of the room with empty gift bags and baskets of beauty items and people got to choose whatever products they wanted to fill their bags with.

9. Get Good Helpers – I was blessed with the greatest team of bridemaids in the world (and yes, I guess I am a little biased). Along with my mom, they executed this shower without a flaw, with a smile on their faces and in heels! Make sure from the beginning of your wedding you surround yourself with positive people that will make your planning stress free and fun. Choose people that you love and that love you. The amazing thing I never expected from all of this, was how much more I fell in love with my bridesmaids. It really takes your friendship to a whole new level, seeing how much someone else cares to make sure you have the best day ever.

10. Feel the Love – Above all, this day is to make the bride feel loved and supported. Show your love by sharing your favourite memories with your guests, even though it’s a busy day take the time to talk to each guest. Ask them for advice about the wedding or married life and thank them for just showing up. It is really the best feeling in the world to be in a room with all your favourite people. Never get too stressed out that you lose the true meaning of a wedding. Enjoy the day because you only do it once!'
Written by Tracey