When it comes to bridal shower etiquette, there are a ton of questions that need to be answered before you can even begin planning this pre-wedding celebration.
Of all these questions, by far the number one being asked is ‘who pays for the bridal shower?’
More specifically, what are they paying for? And perhaps most importantly, how much is it going to cost?
Having been financially responsible for quite a few bridal showers, we’re here to answer these questions plus give the full breakdown of each and every expense you’re expected to cover.
As an added bonus, we’re going to let you in on our top budgeting tips for saving some serious cash.
Who traditionally pays for the bridal shower?
The straightforward answer to this question is this: whoever is in charge of throwing the bridal shower is also responsible for paying for it.
Typically, this responsibility falls on the maid of honor and bridal party. That being said, it has become much more common for the mother of the bride, and even close female relatives, to chip in to cover some of the cost.
Regardless of the situation, it’s very important that all parties involved agree on the overall budget before any planning can begin.
One additional point that we want to make clear is this: There is a difference between throwing and hosting the bridal shower. In other words, although someone may offer their home up to host the shower, that does not mean they are responsible for throwing (i.e. paying for) it.
How much does a bridal shower cost?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this particular question as it really depends on a variety of factors.
For example, someone who needs to rent a venue space will undoubtedly be spending much more than someone who can host it at home. Furthermore, those looking to host a smaller, more intimate shower will spend less money than those hosting a larger gathering.
If you’re interested in exact numbers, we can tell you from experience that we’ve spent upwards of $500 throwing a bridal shower, but have also spent at little as $50 (not including gifts). This is by no means a concrete amount you should expect to spend, it’s simply an example of just how vastly different budgets can be.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide on an overall budget that you and your fellow hosts are comfortable spending. From there, it’s simply a matter of knowing what you’ll need to spend it on.
Bridal Shower Budget & Expense Breakdown
If you’re wondering what in the world you need to buy for a bridal shower, here is a full breakdown of all associated costs:
For those who can use their own or another guest’s home, there will be no need to spend money on a venue. For those who don’t have that luxury, you will need to factor in the cost of renting out an event space or restaurant. If going with the latter, don’t forget to include both tax and tip into the budget.
As bridal shower invitations can get quite expensive, you’ll want to shop around to find the best bang for your buck. If sending out physical invites, factor in the cost of packaging (e.g. envelopes and stamps) as well as shipping.
Food & Drinks
It’s more than likely that the majority of your bridal shower budget will go towards providing food and drinks for guests. Depending on your overall guest count, this expense can seriously add up.
This is another bridal shower expense that can end up costing more than planned if you’re not careful. From banners and balloons to centerpieces and table settings, there is no shortage of things you can spend money on.
Games & Prizes
While playing bridal shower games is not always necessary, they are a fun way to entertain guests and help break the ice. Luckily, they are also fairly cheap to purchase. And while you don’t have to give out prizes to the game winners, it is considered a nice gesture to do so.
As with the game prizes, giving out bridal shower favors is not a mandatory expense, just a thoughtful one. If you do choose to purchase favors, be very careful that you’re keeping the cost per item as low as possible.
Last but not least comes the bridal shower gift. This expense is entirely up to you, so you can go as high or low as you’re comfortable with. If you do have your eye on something that falls out of your budget, consider splitting the cost with a fellow bridesmaid or guest.
Our Top Money-Saving Tips
If you’re worried about going over budget during bridal shower planning, try saving some money with these top tips:
1. Print Your Bridal Shower Invitations
An easy way to save on bridal shower invitations is to purchase a premade template and do the printing yourself! While you will still need to buy envelopes, stamps and pay for shipping, you will wind up spending more time than money in the long run. And if you’re extra crafty- you can even make the invitations yourself!
2. Prepare the Food Yourself
Instead of paying for catering, design a food menu that you can prepare yourself and have others pitch in to help. By having the bridal party, plus some close relatives of the bride, bring a dish, you will save a ton of money. Just make sure everyone coordinates on who’s bringing what!
3. Don’t Overdo it With Decorations
When it comes to bridal shower decorations, less is more. Especially if your venue is already well decorated. Save money by skipping on things like flowers and centerpieces, and instead opt for a few fun touches like a personalized banner or fun backdrop.
4. Forego Favors
Trust us when we say that most people forget about their favors the second they walk out of the door. So do yourself a favor by foregoing them entirely and spending the money on something more important. And if you absolutely have to have them, keep the cost as minimal as possible.
5. Grab Some Free Games
Last but not least, save money on purchasing bridal shower games by grabbing some free printables online. Lucky for you, we’ve hand-designed 12 of the most popular party games and have them available to download here.
WHAT’S NEXT: Bridal Shower Schedule and Order of Events