How to plan a bridal shower on a budget (2024)

As with weddings, bridal shower costs can sometimes get out of control. The average cost of a bridal shower is $15 to $40 per guest (that’s $300 to $800 for a 20-person party), but can go as high as $150 per person ($3,000 for a 20-person shower), according to Most bridesmaids in their twenties and thirties don’t have the cash to shell out thousands of dollars for a party —on top of the dress, bachelorette party and wedding travel costs.

How to plan a bridal shower on a budget (1)

Photo: Deposit Photos

If you need to keep the bridal shower you’re throwing to a reasonable budget, be confident that you can throw a memorable event without breaking the bank. Just because bridal shower venue, food, drink and decoration costs are low doesn’t mean the bridal shower needs to feel cheap. Here are a few planning tips that maids-of-honor and friends can take to plan a beautiful bridal shower on a budget.

Ideas for inexpensive bridal shower venues

Unless the bride has requested a specific restaurant, the most affordable bridal shower venue is someone’s home. If your place is too small, consider asking a friend or family member to host the event. In most circles, at least one guest lives in a space fit for a party. This will save on rental costs and the high-priced catering services venues often require.

If not, consider making a reservation at a restaurant instead of renting a room for the bridal shower. This can be a nice way to cut the costs of renting a venue while still getting ample space. Of course, it’s important the restaurant is amenable to the party taking over a portion of its dining room.

More intimate bridal showers could simply take over one of the larger tables. And you don’t have to have a full meal. Look for dessert-focused restaurants, tea houses or wine bars that can accommodate your group with festive drinks and snacks. Or hit up an eatery mid-afternoon when it’s less crowded and enjoy a cheaper meal of drinks and appetizers with the group.

Decorations and party favors on a budget

Most bridal shower decorations are thrown away after an event, so it’s wise not to spend too much money on them. At a bridal shower last year, I saw that candles served as both centerpieces and party favors. You can also get double use with flowers, candy or other little goodies.

Another great decorating idea: Make paper flowers of various sizes and place them around the room. Remember the ones you made in elementary school with tissue paper? Done in the colors of the wedding, these can be fun to make, cheap and easy to toss when done.

At one shower I attended, the host put bath salts into tiny containers (bought at the dollar store or in bulk online). These favors also doubled as decorations and were relatively cheap and classy.

Another way to decorate is with words of wisdom. Hang a piece of string across the room, put some clothespins on it and set out some slips of paper and pens. As an activity, guests can write out words of relationship wisdom then post them on the line. This will create a nice backdrop for the event without costing much.

You can also look for secondhand bridal shower decorations because likely they are in good shape having only been used once for a few hours. Make an agreement with friends to save and share “bride to be” banners or cake toppers, or ask on online buy-sell-swap forums.

How to plan a bridal shower on a budget (2)

Photo: Deposit Photos

Saving on bridal shower food and beverage

Food and drink is where many bridal shower budgets go astray. With some careful planning, yours does not have to.

The best way to cut costs is to schedule the event when people aren’t planning to eat a lot. Shoot for a mid-afternoon social, so most people will have had lunch and won’t be planning on making a meal of the event. Make sure to state that light refreshments will be served. Crackers and dips can appear refined without costing a lot; create a photo-worthy charcuterie board and people will be so impressed, they won’t realize they’re not getting a whole meal.

If you’re going the route of a tea party, it’s cheaper and easy to make much of the food yourself. Small sandwiches are easy and affordable to make, and scones aren’t that hard from scratch or a mix. Arrange tea bags in pretty bowls to seem festive, or order loose leaf tea in bulk, then use the extras for party favors (perhaps along with an inexpensive mug or tea ball).

Spread the costs of bridal shower food with a potluck. It won’t feel tacky if you ask everyone to bring a dish then write up the recipe on the card with a personal note for a bride. Collect all the recipes in a homemade recipe box to give as a personal gift from the group.

For cheaper bridal shower drinks, make champagne co*cktails with inexpensive champagne, juice and frozen fruit. Having pre-made drinks means that the most expensive part of the co*cktail — the booze — is rationed, instead of guzzled by a thirsty guest. For non-drinkers, throw some fresh-cut fruit into a pitcher of free tap water, and you’ve got a fancy, spa-inspired drink.

Budget bridal shower invitations

These days, even wedding invitations are going online, so there’s no reason you can’t send an electronic bridal shower invitation via Evite or Paperless Post. Your guests will just throw out a paper invitation once the event is over, so you might as well go cheap in this area to spend more on party food or gifts.

If you truly want a paper invite, many online services make reasonably priced invitations. It’s easy to make something professional without spending a ton. (VistaPrint, Zazzle and Shutterfly are some good places to check out.)

If you’re willing to consider the DIY route, you can buy wedding- or bridal shower-themed printer paper and print out an invite on your home computer. Or buy blank note cards and use your crafting superpowers to make your own invites. This is best done for smaller events; you don’t want to hand write 50 individual cards.

Bridal shower costs to share

These days, the host, whether a member of the bridal party or a friend, shouldn’t be shy about sharing hosting duties and party costs. Ask bridesmaids to bring a few items so that the entire cost doesn’t fall to one person. Or divide responsibilities: one friend can be in charge of food, another supplies the drinks and a third buys the decorations.

Dividing the responsibilities keeps it affordable for everyone. Most bridesmaids expect to chip in for the festivities, but they’ll be relieved if they don’t have to cover all the costs themselves.

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  • How to have a great wedding on a small budget
  • Cheap, healthy party snacks
  • Ways to save on wedding and bridesmaid dresses
How to plan a bridal shower on a budget (2024)


What is a reasonable budget for a bridal shower? ›

That works out at $300 to $800 for a 20-person party but can go as high as $150 per person or $3,000 for a 20-person shower. Based on these estimates and an average bridal shower guest list of 35-50 people, a reasonable budget for a bridal shower is between $350 and $7,500.

Who usually pays for a bridal shower? ›

In short, the host is the one who pays for the bridal shower—or at least some of it. Most commonly, this is the maid of honor, but the couple's relatives, friends or even the to-be-weds themselves can all pitch in to cover the cost of the wedding shower.

How to plan a low key bridal shower? ›

Tips for a budget-friendly bridal shower
  1. Host at home. ...
  2. Work with a co-host. ...
  3. Send online invitations. ...
  4. Keep the guest list small. ...
  5. Get creative with decor. ...
  6. Keep the appetizers simple. ...
  7. Organize a potluck. ...
  8. Plan games for entertainment.
Apr 19, 2022

Who should not host a bridal shower? ›

Traditional etiquette dictates that the maid of honor—not the mother of the bride—should host the shower. Nancy is a freelance writer for Some etiquette rules were meant to fade away into oblivion, like the one about family members of the bride not hosting her bridal shower.

What food to serve at a bridal shower? ›

Fabulous Bridal Shower Finger Foods
  • Crescent Vegetable Appetizers. Quick & Easy Crab Dip. Veggie Dippers. Open-Faced Turkey Sandwiches.
  • Veggie Crescent Cups. Flower Fruit Kabobs with Luscious Fruit Dip. Watermelon & Blackberry Bites. ...
  • Mini Rainbow Fruit Kabobs. Fruit Jersey Cake. Balsamic Fruit & Cheese Kabobs.
May 19, 2023

What do you do at a simple bridal shower? ›

The bride will open her gifts in front of the guests and often express her gratitude with a short speech. And opening gifts isn't the only thing the bride does at this event. In addition to gift giving, bridal showers may also involve playing games, eating great food, and having the bride's favorite drinks.

Who splits the cost of a bridal shower? ›

The total budget is typically split up evenly among those who are hosting (the maid of honor and bridesmaids, usually), but it's important that everyone is comfortable with the suggested amount.

What does the maid of honor pay for? ›

"We often see the maid of honor assist in covering the cost of the bridal shower (often in conjunction with a family member of the bride), covering her own costs and some of the costs of the bride for the bachelorette party (in conjunction with the rest of the bridesmaids), her own travel to and from the wedding, a ...

What is the difference between a wedding shower and a bridal shower? ›

While a typical bridal shower can be gender-specific or highly focused on the bride's side, a wedding shower includes all! It's usually a larger event that has more of a party atmosphere.

Does the mother of the bride plan the bridal shower? ›

Traditionally, the mother of the bride doesn't host the bridal shower (the maid of honor typically assumes the chief shower-planning role), however, your daughter will likely want you to be a part of the celebration.

What not to do when planning a bridal shower? ›

  1. Don't confuse the bridal shower with the bachelorette party. These are two separate events. ...
  2. Don't post every aspect of the shower on social media. ...
  3. Don't invite anyone who isn't invited to the wedding. ...
  4. Don't give raunchy gifts at the bridal shower. ...
  5. Don't feel like you have to plan the whole shower yourself.
Aug 8, 2023

What games to play at a bridal shower? ›

Wedding Shower Games Guests Will Love

Printable games like bride and groom trivia or gift bingo are always a hit and easy to set up — just print them out, provide some pens and let the fun begin. For something a little more interactive, consider doubles Jenga, pictured here.

What is a normal amount to spend on a bridal shower gift? ›

The Knot suggests an attendee should spend between 50 to 75 dollars on a shower gift. (However, if you also got the couple an engagement gift, the 20-20-60 rule can also apply—so your shower gift should cost 20 percent of your total budget.)

How much should each bridesmaid spend on bridal shower? ›

For the parties, such as the bridal shower and bachelorette, bridesmaids can spend several hundred dollars or upwards of $1,000. Family or family friends could also host and pay for the shower, which could cost between $500 to $2,500, according to Yeah Weddings. Gifts for the shower typically range between $25 to $75.

How many people to expect at bridal shower? ›

A bridal shower should be an event for those closest to the bride, both in relationship and location. I'm often asked how many guests should be invited to a shower, and I usually recommend keeping it to around 25 guests if possible. Everyone wants to see their gift opened and the reaction on the bride's face.


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