Need some help figuring out bridal shower etiquette for your party? We've got several tips for the bride and the hostess to make sure everything goes smoothly.

overhead shot of bridal shower table with guests in backyard

For the Bride:

The party is for you, but not for you to plan.

Your friend has offered to host a party for you, and that means that you aren't in control of planning it. So, unless she directly asks for your input, refrain from requesting a specific theme, menu, or the latest in glam details. When you already have so much left to plan, having someone else in control can be a treat!

When the hostess asks for a list, make sure to send it to her asap.

Provide the hostess with a guest list for the number of people she says you can invite. As she is hosting, honor her head count because it is probably due to financial or logistical reasons, not an arbitrary number. A large part of proper bridal shower etiquette is being able to appropriately take care of guests, and this can get expensive. If you need to include more people, simply have two separate showers.

Mention any special needs of your guests.

From dietary restrictions to mobility issues, your hostess will appreciate a heads up. The hostess isn't required to accommodate every diet throughout the meal, but if she knows that several people are vegetarian, she'll probably make sure at least a couple of side dishes are available to them. In the case of mobility issues, work out a solution with the hostess about you could get a wheelchair in through an alternate entrance, etc.

Send out thank you cards within a couple weeks of receiving your bridal shower gifts.

You've still got a million things to do before the wedding, but work to get these thank you cards out asap. To make this task super simple, pre-address and stamp the thank you cards before the bridal shower.

bridal shower guests gather around outdoor bar table

For the Hostess:

Plan a shower that fits your budget.

Sure, we all want a bridal shower that will excite the Pinterest crowd, but sometimes that's just not financially feasible. Make sure the party you plan fits your budget and space.

Ask the bride for a guest list, and give her a number of people you can accommodate.

Let the bride know ahead of time how many people you can accommodate. This will help her whittle down the list of names she sends to you. If she sends you more names than you asked for, ask her to go over the list again. Don't feel bad if you can't afford a party for more than a dozen people. These things are expensive, and it's already very kind of you to offer to host.

If possible, don't list the registry on the invitation.

Modern bridal shower etiquette has shifted on the issue of including a registry on shower invitations. While most bridal shower invites include the registry right on the invite, traditional rules dictate that a registry shouldn't be listed. Go somewhere in the middle and include an enclosure that lists the registry, or wedding website.

You are the MC.

You're running this show. Don't hesitate to move guests into another room or direct them towards the next activity. Most of them are probably waiting for your cues anyway. If it would help you, make a schedule ahead of time.

Keep track of the thank you list.

Do the bride a favor and keep track of who is giving her what. You don't have to be the person doing this, though. Ask another friend or family member if you are busy taking pictures or refilling drinks.

Photography: Sara Ford