Here comes the bride, da da da da…but the celebration begins long before she walks down the aisle! Whether your bride is planning a traditional wedding with all the trimmings or a destination wedding on a remote desert island, she - and her fiancé - are sure to still want a bridal shower. It’s a wonderful and relaxed way to toast the happy couple before all their relatives swoop in. Not sure how to plan bridal shower? Read on! The answers to these frequently asked bridal shower questions will make planning the party “pure bliss.”

Is it appropriate to involve the bride-to-be in planning the shower?
Other than picking a date and giving you a guest list, most brides generally just show up at the bridal shower. If your bride is a “micro-manager, include her in the bridal shower planning process; it will help keep her calm. And everyone wants a relaxed bride!

When should you have a bridal shower?
A bridal shower is usually held 2-3 months before the actual wedding. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. If you are inviting several out-of-town guests to the bridal shower, and they will all be in together for another reason (Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July) plan the bridal shower for that time – even if it’s 6 months before the wedding.

Who should be invited to the bridal shower?
Who you invite to the bridal shower may depend on the total number of showers being given for the bride. It is not uncommon for the bride and/or groom’s mothers to have a bridal shower as well as the bride’s friends and maybe co-workers as well. If there are several showers being given, you can be selective about your bridal shower guest list. But remember to always include immediate family members and the bridal party.

Is it acceptable to have a coed bridal shower?
A bridal shower can be “girls only” or a “boy girl party,” whatever the bride and groom want. Many grooms like being included in all the pre-wedding festivities. A coed bridal shower may have a less traditional theme such as a tailgate, travel or a barbeque.

When should the bridal shower invitations go out?
To maximize attendance, mail the bridal shower invitations 4-6 weeks in advance. If the bridal shower is being held during the holidays, or another busy time of year, consider sending out a save-the-date card.

Is it appropriate to include where the bride is registered in the invitation?
Yes! A list of where the bride is registered is always helpful for guests. Individuals can decide to purchase a bridal shower gift from the list or not but it’s always nice to have the option.

How much should a bridal shower cost?
There is no set amount to spend on a bridal shower. Time of day, food, location and entertainment will all affect the bottom line. Choose a number that you’re comfortable spending and that is your bridal shower budget.

What’s the best location for a bridal shower?
A bridal shower can be held anywhere! Traditionally bridal showers have been held at home but a favorite restaurant, spa, even the beach can all be great bridal shower venues.

What’s the best theme for a bridal shower?
To a certain extent, the location of the bridal shower will determine the theme. A bridal shower held at a heath club or spa will naturally have a health and pampering theme. If the bridal shower is held at home, round-the-clock, kitchen or recipe themes are great and guarantee both fun and practical gifts. An elegant tea where guests wear their “finest frocks” and eat party sandwiches promises to be a memorable bridal shower.

What do you do at a bridal shower?
Opening the gifts is usually the “main event” at a bridal shower. (Don’t forget to have someone keep a list of who gave which gifts – it makes writing thank you notes after the bridal shower so much easier.) Oohing and aahing over what’s received and making a paper plate bouquet with the bows are traditionally part of the festivities. In addition to eating, it’s always fun to play games at a bridal shower. Easy games like Newlywed Know How (how well do the newlyweds really know each other?) or Advice Your Mother Never Gave You, will have all the bridal shower guests laughing for hours.

Should you have prizes for the bridal shower games?
While prizes aren’t required for bridal shower games, it’s always nice to give a little token to the winners. Candles, coffee, note cards, soaps or lotions in small sizes and colorfully wrapped are sure to be well received by bridal shower guests.

If you give prizes at the bridal shower should you have party favors as well?
Bridal shower party favors are a nice way to thank all the guests for coming. The theme of the bridal shower may automatically inspire a party favor idea, pretty china tea cups for a tea party shower, hot sauce with a personalized label for a barbeque, even a luggage tag for a travel shower. Personalized candy bars or mint tins from Party411 are a wonderful way to thank guests for attending the bridal shower.