By The Knot Editors
The bridal party is responsible for planning this typically all-female fete, so don't wait until the last minute to get started.
1. Make a Party Plan
If it's not a surprise (which is totally up to you), ask the bride what kind of a shower she wants. If she's not an English tea kind of girl, don't put on a scones-and-crumpets gathering just because it sounds fun to you.
2. Determine Your Budget
Even if all the maids can't attend, they must all contribute to the shower fund. Be clear about what everyone owes from the beginning.
3. Decide On a Date
A shower can take place anytime between six months to a week before the wedding. Depending on where most of the guests live, you may need to schedule it far in advance so everyone can make travel plans.
4. Talk To the Bride's Mom
Even though she's not the host of the event, she'll probably want to pitch in or have siblings or family friends who'd like contribute, whether it's providing the cake or hosting at their house.
5. Gather the Guest List
Ask the bride or her mom for names and mailing addresses. Everyone invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding.
6. Order and Send Invitations
They should go out between six and eight weeks before the event, depending on how many out-of-towners are on the list. Make sure guests RSVP to one person (the maid of honor, for example) to keep numbers organized.
7. Share the Couple's Registry Info
Spread the word about where the bride is registered so that folks don't get frustrated searching. It's perfectly acceptable to include this information on the shower invite.
8. Buy the Bride a Shower Gift
Even though you're paying for the party, it's necessary. Consider going in on a group gift from all the bridesmaids -- like a standing mixer or luxury bedding -- to lessen the financial blow.
9. Have a Present Plan
On the day of, create a gift-opening assembly line. Here's how it works: One person should bring the bride a gift to open (and take the already opened gift to a designated spot); another can dispose of the torn paper; someone can gather ribbons to create the traditional rehearsal bridal bouquet; and most important, one bridesmaid needs to keep track of who gave what gift so the bride does not have to rely on her memory when writing thank-yous.
10. Attend All Other Showers
Many brides are showered twice to satisfy two groups of loved ones: one for their mother's friends, and another for theirs. While you need host only one, you should show up at the other too.
© 2009 The Knot Inc. All rights reserved.
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