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How to Plan a Bridal Shower on a Budget + Printables

January 15, 2020

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A bridal shower is a special event in which the bride-to-be and her closest gal pals get together and celebrate her transition from Miss to Mrs.

While bridal showers are indeed an essential part of the bride’s journey into marriage, the event can quickly turn into a source of stress due to the planning and expenses that come along with it. In fact, bridal showers can cost upwards of $150 per person when going all-out.

Luckily, there are plenty of fun and frugal ways to help reduce the cost of this special occasion. Read along for suggestions on how to create a priceless — but not too pricey! — experience for the bride-to-be and her guests alike.

Get a Planning Partner

First and foremost, find a friend to help plan out the details of the bridal shower. From the invitations to the thank-you notes, there’s a ton of planning involved, so be sure not to go at it alone. Choose someone who knows the bride well enough so they can help to make some big decisions on her behalf.

Having a planning buddy will hopefully eliminate the need to pay for any third-party event planners and act as a knowledgeable soundboard for any challenging moments you may encounter.

Editor’s Tip: Be sure to have a small thank-you gift in mind for your partner at the end of the planning process. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or fancy, just a small token to show that their hard work was appreciated. You can use this Amazon coupon to find something online and eliminate having to make another trip to the store.

Set a Budget

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Like any event, it’s important to set a budget for the bridal shower prior to making any purchases. In order to set a viable spending limit, account for all aspects of the shower — this includes both before, during and after the event has taken place. Having a complete bridal shower budget breakdown will help you stay within your means and foresee any possible roadblocks.

Traditionally, someone other than the bride, such as the maid-of-honor or the bridesmaids, take on the responsibility of paying for the bridal shower so that the bride doesn’t have to add any more expenses before her big day.

Because the details of the party will be planned without the bride, it’s critical to have a thorough conversation with her in advance to gauge her expectations along with any special or unique requests she may have.

Print out this bridal shower budget planner to make sure you’re accounting for all aspects of the event and not overspending along the way.

Choose an Atypical Venue

In the past, bridal showers would be held at a nice restaurant or banquet hall. However, with recent COVID-19 restrictions, options on where to gather are likely much more limited.

Not to fret. Instead, consider somewhere that can accommodate your group and not cost a dollar, like a park or a friend’s backyard. Even many apartment complexes have community centers that can be used for special occasions.

Some additional low-cost party venue options are:

Community garden

Outdoor theater

Hotel banquet

Airbnb for a day

Winery patio

Country club gathering room

Being flexible and willing to try out an atypical venue will not only make the party more unique but will also save an arm and a leg by allowing you to opt-out of reservation and booking fees. The more money saved on the venue means the less to worry about spending on all the other aspects of the shower.

Remember, as long as the space is big enough, it can always be fixed up to fit the party theme.

Reconsider Snail Mail

Sending out charming invitations is a creative part of the bridal shower process that can’t be skipped. But that doesn’t mean they have to come out of the budget.

Virtual invitations can be sent by email and won’t cost a dime. To make the process even simpler, we’ve created a few different customizable and shareable bridal shower evites that can be downloaded and sent via email in a snap.

Choose from one of the designs below, add in the party details, and this to-do is done.

If e-vites aren’t your ideal, there are tons of prepared, customizable cards online that can be edited to include a photo and all the specifics and are able to be printed out quickly.

Shutterfly even has their own brand of editable wedding invitations, thank-you cards, and address labels called Wedding Paper Divas. After personalizations are made, use this coupon for a discount on wedding invitations to make sure you’re getting the best price.

Remember, you’ll want to send out invites to your guest list two weeks to a month ahead to give everyone plenty of time to plan and prepare accordingly. Be sure to have all the details such as the location, date, and time solidified before making the card to avoid any confusion or need to resend information.

Use DIY & Dollar Store Decor

Cute decorations are a staple of any fabulous bridal shower, but when purchasing everything new, the costs can add up quickly. Stay within your budget by reusing items you already own and making your own decorations, and if you must buy new items, shop at a dollar store when possible.

Items like balloons and streamers will probably need to be purchased, but can easily be found at a discount store for a low price. Dollar General has lots of party decor (and a coupon!)

While ordering online and purchasing from a party store may seem like the easiest route, there are likely things in your own home that could work perfectly as decor for the bridal shower. Provide your own lace table runners or sheer window coverings to bring elegance and class to the venue.

If your home inventory doesn’t cut it, ask the bridesmaids or family members if they have any items like glass or dining ware that they would be willing to lend for the occasion. Borrowing items will save money by eliminating the need for buying plastic cutlery or renting nice porcelain.

Some more items to find at home to save a pretty penny:

Tablecloths

Candles

Plants

String lights

Photo frames

Vases

Artwork

Opt for a Potluck Menu

Food can easily become one of the most expensive parts of a bridal shower, so rethinking the typical catered meal could be your wallet’s saving grace.

Communicate with guests before the event to determine who will bring what for the meal. Be sure there are a few different hors d’oeuvres, a few main dishes — such as a pasta or a meat plate — as well as a few sides.

Not only will it save some green, but arranging the event as a potluck will make the occasion even more memorable. Guests will appreciate tasting a variety of homemade dishes and might even want to swap some recipes by the end of the meal.

Make Homemade Desserts

Similar to apps and dinner, supplying the bridal shower with homemade desserts is another way to save money without sacrificing any tasty treats.

Again, communicate with any attendees to see if they’re willing to bake some sweets to bring to the event. You could even ask the bride’s family members if there are any favorite recipes she has from childhood that they wouldn’t mind making for the occasion. Asking for input from the bride’s loved ones will not only make them feel special, but will also be a heartwarming touch.

If you’d prefer to purchase treats, use this coupon from Lindt Chocolates and pick out a few different truffle flavors for the group to try.

Get Creative with DIY Bridal Shower Games

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Bridal shower games are a lighthearted way to laugh and interact while getting to know the bride and each other better.

While there is no official time limit, make sure that the games don’t feel overwhelming or drawn out. Generally, about three different games works out well.

Word games like Scattergories and Mad-Libs are always popular, along with other classics such as Pictionary and 20 questions. All of these games can be found online if nobody in the group already owns them.

Instead of buying a game or spending time making your own, simply print out some fun paper games! We’ve created a couple of printable games, especially for bridal parties.

Who Knows the Bride Best?: Answer questions about the bride that range from easy, such as, “What is the date of the wedding?” to more challenging questions, like, “What is her favorite thing about the groom?”

What’s In Your Purse?: Each player will tally up the contents of their purse according to the score sheet. The gal with the most points wins!

These games will undoubtedly get the group laughing as they play together!

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Plan for Budget-Friendly Shower Party Favors

If you’re struggling with party favor ideas that won’t go over budget, try finding an item or two that you can buy in bulk to break down into gifts for multiple people. Stores like World Market, Costco, and, of course, Amazon tend to have giftable and unique bulk items.

Split up items into cellophane bags and add a cute ribbon or piece of lace along with some pink or white tissue for a classy touch.

Inexpensive gifts ideas to buy in bulk:

Face masks

Lip gloss

Candles

Coffee beans

Hair accessories

Fuzzy socks

Loose-leaf tea

Earrings

Tote bags

Airplants

Reusable straw

Succulents

Pocket notebooks

Candies

Bath bombs

Other Ways to Save Money and Celebrate Remotely

If your bride is keeping her social distance this season, think about throwing her a virtual bridal shower. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time together without having to worry about physical interaction — or breaking the bank!

Follow these tips for a seamless virtual bridal shower:

RSVP online: Send invites virtually via email.

Video chat: Create a Zoom link and customize the room name (how-to here).

Splurge on snacks: Since there are minimal costs for a virtual shower, you might have the budget to send guests a small gift card for snack items to enjoy while on the call. Editor’s tip: Starbucks is nationwide and has these Starbucks coupons available! Did someone say cake pop?!

Game on! Games are still able to be printed out and played from home, just make sure to send the PDF beforehand.

Make a photo reel: Get a slideshow of the bride set-up and share your screen to give everyone all the feels.

Finally, to make sure you’re truly the hostesses with the mostess, don’t forget a gift for the bride. Use this Saks Fifth Avenue coupon to get a luxurious gift without paying upscale prices.

We hope you’ve found some ideas on how to host the most lovely bridal shower without costing you a fortune. From fun games to yummy snacks, your frugal bridal shower is sure to create special memories for the bride and her guests.

Sources: Cost Helper | Wedding Paper Divas | Zoom

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