So you’re on the prowl for bridal shower ideas. You have one to plan, and you’re not sure where to start or how to make it cool. We’ve all been there. And when you’ve been bitten by the bridal shower planning bug, it can be easy to feel like you have to pick just-the-right-idea to make the party come off without a hitch. But the thing about parties, bridal shower or otherwise, is that parties are… fun. Food + drinks + The Best People + music = fantastic. That’s why everything else—including themes, special touches and over-the-top decor—is filed away under “nice, but not necessary.”
If, however, your extra-AF party-throwing soul won’t let you host a fete without going ALL-THE-FUCK-IN, we are here to deliver with bridal shower ideas. And, of course, flower crowns. Always flower crowns. Team flower crowns for life.
So to help you figure out exactly how you want to throw this party, we’ve collected our favorite bridal shower ideas from all over the internet (and remember, we have all the details you need on how to pull together a bridal shower plus actually fun bridal shower games). But, guys, remember: Bridal Showers are fun! Flowers are fun! Tea sandwiches are fun! Parties are fun! Hanging out with people you love and celebrating one of your best friends’ nuptials is fun! Don’t sweat it, pick out your brunching shoes, buy a folder and notebook that has some semblance of organization, put on your big-girl-who-plans-stuff pants and nail the shit out of this bridal shower. 🙌 You’ve totally got this.
Bridal Shower Ideas
Themes get a bad rap, but a good theme can make a party infinitely easier to throw, since it helps make all of your decisions for you. Unsure about the decor? Consult the theme. Not sure what kind of food to eat? Hit up the theme. Looking for party actives? Tie those into your theme.
So to make this a little easier, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite bridal shower ideas and themes to get your brain whirring. Here are our best ideas, with full details below:
- Co-Ed Shower
- Dîner En Blanc
- Champagne Brunch
- Fancy Pajama Party
- Sports Day
- Carnival Style
- Derby Party
- A Boat Tour
- Boho Backyard Picnic
- Do It Gingham Style: Indoor Picnic
- Pool Lounging Party
- Nice By Nature
- High Tea (Or Just More Cake)
- Lowbrow / Highbrow
- Community Service
- Awards Night
- Stock The Bar
- Honeymoon Pre-Party
- Next-Level Drinks
- Food That’s Half The Fun
- An Eye-Popping Hotel Room
- DIY Activity Stations
- Fancy-AF Desserts
- Flower Crowns
- Donuts, In Wall Form
Before we even really get started, let’s pitch the idea of a shower-for-all. In the past few years, joint showers have become so popular that about half of the showers we attend are for both members of the couple. This can be particularly useful if there is a mother-in-law (or other female family member) involved who you might not want to be trapped planning a party with one on one. (Because when family dynamics get intense, sometimes adding more people can take the pressure off.) But if you share a group of friends, co-ed showers can just be a great way to get all your friends together pre-wedding in a much more chill environment.
Dîner En Blanc
Dîner En Blanc is a massive outdoor party (hosted all over the world), where thousands of people eat a fancy dinner under the stars dressed all in white. And yes, it looks as cool as you imagine. So while you probably can’t reserve a table for three thousand under the Eiffel Tower, you can throw a party in white for your guest of honor. (Pro-tip: Don’t serve dark messy foods for a room dressed in pure blanc. Sloppy Joe’s are out.)
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than the ladies-who-lunch vibe, and boozy lunch is a classic for a reason. It’s fun, and it’s simple. The easiest way to pull this one off is to rent a room in a restaurant for an afternoon. But if that feels too pricy, feel free to make tea sandwiches (or order pizza), pop some bubbly, and host it in someone’s house or yard.
Fancy Pajama Party
Have a group of ladies who have known each other since High School? Or just want to roll deep with the nostalgia vibes? Host a shower that’s also a Pajama Party. You can theme games and food around what you used to do at a slumber party, except this time nobody’s underwear gets frozen.
What if your person of honor wants nothing to do with the traditional pastels, girl talk, and games that showers are often known for? Maybe she’d rather be on the ball field instead. If so, host a baseball game or a sports day or a generally physical outdoor afternoon that’s just her speed.
All we’re saying is that renting a cotton candy machine is cheap, and fresh cotton candy is delicious. Why let the kids have all the fun? If you want to take it upscale, make that cotton candy glow in the dark with some glow stick magic (use the glow sticks as the candy wand). While you’re at it, consider popcorn, and maybe even an adults-only bounce house. No clowns though, because clowns are scary enough when you’re not day drinking.
If your guest of honor’s life mantra is “Go big or go home,” why not go big… with your hats? Most of us will never get a chance to rock a bonkers amazing hat at the Kentucky Derby, so instead throw a garden party that gives everyone an excuse to do just that. Mint Juleps only sweeten the whole bash.
A Boat tour
Party boats are fun, except for the people you have to hang out with when you buy tickets on a general public party boat tour. So a bridal shower is the perfect opportunity to get on the water, on you terms. We basically welcome any excuse to get on a yacht and pretend we’re Bey, but a catamaran will do just as well. And boat life fits the bill especially well for a bridal shower: Fun activity? Check. Pretty environment? Check? Literally sailing away from rest of the world with just your best people? Check check.
a boho backyard picnic
The classic old-school bridal shower always took place in someone’s backyard, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Or at least, just fix it up a little. For this party we’re talking tons of wild blooms (can we just live in a garden of bougainvillea??), pallets for low tables, patterned blankets instead of chairs. Warning: Take some cues from Pinterest but don’t bite off more than you can chew attempting to exactly recreate those painstakingly produced blogger photo shoots. The above photo is pretty, but it’s also not a real party. So dial your expectations down to real-world fun.
Do It Gingham Style
If you can’t have a full-on outdoor picnic, you can take this whole thing indoors. White! Tropicals! Gingham! (Anyone else so glad high fashion has wrested gingham back from the solely farmhouse world?) For this shower, think high class picnic. Tea sandwiches, a little bunting, and some camper-chic props.
Okay, so The Ace Hotel may be out of the question for those of us who don’t live right by Palm Springs, but recreating that retro poolside vibe is probably much more achievable. Think oversized sunnies, brightly colored bottled sodas, novelty floaties, and lots of water games!
Nice By Nature
In this party, you’re all about inviting nature in… without actually going camping in the woods. (Unless you actually want to go camping in the woods, of course.) Possible activities include making your own terrarium or meeting up to plant a tree. Think decorating with out foliage bouquets and, you know, flower crowns (always flower crowns).
High Tea (Or Just More Cake)
Look. When else are you going to have a chance to throw an adults-only high tea? Or just serve piles and piles of baked goods in stacks? The British do high tea for a reason, and it’s not just clotted cream. (Mmmm, clotted cream.) So pile high the baked goods, add some tea sandwiches, and remember, you don’t have to stick to tea. A cordial, sherry, or bubbly will do just fine as well.
Lowbrow / HigHbrow
We keep talking about kicking it up a notch, but sometimes kicking it down three notches is the way to go. What about a grown up, classy… fast-food party? Who doesn’t secretly just want a hamburger, fries, and a shake while watching someone open cute presents?
Bridal showers do not have to be all about wearing floral dresses and opening presents. If that is not your person’s style, consider volunteering at the local botanical garden, or going out en masse for an hour scouring the park for trash. It combines togetherness and community mindedness. Wrap it all up with some drinks and lunch nearby.
If you know your guest of honor is always looking for an excuse to go black tie, this is your chance to make this party fancyAF. And while you can always go fancy with no theme and no excuses… if you’re looking for a theme, think Oscar Night. Give out gag awards, have a red carpet, and have everyone dress to the nines.
Stock The Bar
One of the awkward things about a bridal shower can be not being sure what to give as gifts. While plenty of couples are happy to have two chances for folks to buy off their registries, some couples just flat-out don’t want that much stuff (or at least need a limited number of home goods). In those cases, the stock-the-bar shower can be exactly the right order. If you know the couple’s favorites in terms of booze, let people know. Because nobody ever complained about having too much bourbon.
This shower offers another excuse for creative gifting (and is perfect for the couple with nothing but a honeymoon registry or for two people that really just love to travel). Gifts can include lingerie (if not in mixed company. No negligees in front of future MILs, please). But they can also include luggage, passport holders, bathing suits, or whatever the planned honeymoon might require. Bonus points for theming the shower around the couple’s planned trips.
Plus our Best Food, Drink, and DEcor Ideas
Maybe you’ve picked a theme, maybe you haven’t. (And who among us has not been too cool for a theme?) But you still want a little something-something to make this party feel special. Here are some tried and true tricks to kick this bridal shower up a notch.
An easy way to kick a party up a notch is with fancy drinks. We all feel a little more posh when drinking something stylish. Options? How about a top-tier espresso bar with all the fixins’? A mini cocktail list with cocktails named after the couple’s favorite vacation destinations? Things served in adorable mini milk bottles or old jam jars? Let your mind run wild, since fancy booze (or just fancy soda) always makes people happy.
Food that’s half the fun
We love a good edible thing that’s also worth cooing over. Bright finger foods, like these tartines, are perfect for gazing at AND munching while talking. Perfect.
an eye-popping hotel room
Maybe you don’t want to throw this thing in your backyard. Maybe you don’t have a backyard to throw this thing in. What next? Assuming you have a smallish and well-behaved group of ladies and gents, consider renting a large room in a whimsically designed hotel. You’ll save all the money on decor, plus have a bed to lounge and gossip on.
DIY ActivitY Stations
The thing about bridal showers is that you want something to do beyond just opening presents and playing games. A tried and true way to solve this problem is a DIY station. Think custom bagel, corsages, tacos, and yes flower crowns. TBH, I still haven’t cracked the secret as to why, but I’m still 100 percent, totally on board with how DIY does double duty as activity and actual help.
The pavlova-in-lieu of wedding cake trend is total goals, but we think it’s especially perfect for showers. Salt n Pepper Here uses Meyer lemon curd on hers! *swoons* (Also guys, two words: MINI. PAVLOVAS.)
Hello again, my precious. Go nuts with buckets of blooms, wire, and floral tape for a DIY craft session. Who doesn’t love feeling like a woodland goddess? If you want to see a DIY flower crown station in action, well we’ve got that covered for you.
doughnuts, in wall form
Always, because obviously.
We know you guys have had some of the best themed bridal showers, so lay it on us. What are your best bridal shower ideas? And what bridal shower ideas are the absolute worst? (Because we’ve all been there too.)