gold and aqua bridal shower tablescape
Guest List

First, you should ask the bride for a list of suggestions about who to invite. You absolutely don't have to invite everyone on the list.  It could be your friend gives you a list of 50 people and you can only afford a shindig for 20.  Ask her to trim down her list to fit your location and budget. Also, unless this is an office bridal shower, everyone invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. Confirm with the bride that she intends to or has invited everyone on the list.

Pick a Theme

A theme can be a fun way to organize your party. It's easy to find thousands of bridal shower ideas, but it's hard to edit them down to a manageable list.  Throwing a kitchen-themed shower for your epicurean friend or a camping shower for the pal who just can't seem to stay inside is a playful way to celebrate.  Then again, your theme could also be sheet cake and tea. Nothing elaborate is required.  It should simply be a social gathering with some type of refreshment served.

Menu

Speaking of food, make sure the time of the party and the type of refreshments coincide. For example, no one will expect anything other than light bites or cake if the shower is at 2.  But if you invite people at 6pm, they are probably thinking there will be heartier fare since it is near the dinner hour.  Also make sure to address any food allergies or sensitivities of the bride. Since it is a party thrown in her honor, make sure that she can eat the majority of the food offered.

Activities & Games

Opinions on shower games seem to vary wildly between groups of friends. Some think they are a laugh riot and a shower non-negotiable, others just wish they could eat the cake, drop off their gift, and go.  You probably know most people on the list and can gauge how they will feel about such things. As a hostess, you will never have less fun than forcing a group of young women into a round of wedding bingo. So, if you think your friends would love playing wedding trivia, go ahead and plan it. But remember to be adaptable to the party schedule if your guests seem less than thrilled.  Certainly, though, it's never a bad idea to plan something if conversation starts to really lag.

Thank You Duty

It's easy to forget who gave you the wine glasses and who gifted the cheese plate when you are surrounded by a gaggle of friends and talking the entire time. Give your friend a hand by taking notes on which gift goes with which guest. If you want to score extra, super-duper bonus points, pre-address the thank you note envelopes for her. It will help the bride get them out in a timely and efficient manner.

Credit: Dana Fernandez Photography