How to Plan a Bridal Shower on a Budget

Bridal showers can be a fun way to kick start all the pre-wedding festivities. When you think about holding a mini-party though, it can be a little bit daunting with everything that goes into it: venue, food, games, gifts, etc. Wondering how to plan a bridal shower on a budget? Look no further.

What is a bridal shower?

According to history, bridal showers started as an alternative to families paying a dowry for their daughters marrying. Nowadays, they are typically small get togethers where loved ones honor the couple-to-be.

The fun thing about bridal showers is that they are evolving away from tradition and really can be however you want them to be.

Some people like to keep this as a sort of women’s brunch for the bride where other showers are more of a cookout for the couple together. It can be whatever you want it to be.

How to Plan a Bridal Shower on a Budget

Do you even need to have a bridal shower? The answer is no! For me, my bridal shower was mainly just a fun way to see my friends and close loved ones before the wedding. We live out of state so it allowed me to spend some extended time with those whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Pick a date

Bridal showers usually happen a couple of months or weeks prior to the wedding. It is best to talk to whoever is hosting your bridal shower and give them a few options for when might work best.

Consider what type of bridal shower you want to have. Do you want to do a small private brunch, an evening of classy cocktails, or something casual in the backyard? All of this might influence when and what time would work best for a bridal shower.

If you are on a budget, consider hosting your bridal shower on a less popular day like a Friday afternoon or on a Monday of a long weekend. Typically event rentals are most expensive on a Saturday, so look into other days as options to cut costs.

Guest list

The more extensive your guest list, the more your bridal shower is going to cost. Keep costs down, but only inviting necessary people to your bridal shower.

For me, that was my bridesmaids, closest friends, aunts, and my soon-to-be in-laws. Just because they are invited to your wedding, doesn’t mean they need to come to your bridal shower.

Think of your bridal shower as a more intimate affair for those really close to you. If you want to invite more people, then try to cut costs elsewhere such as your venue choice or what food you are going to serve.

Pick a location

Hosting a bridal shower in places like a backyard or a friend’s house is going to be one of the cheapest way to host a bridal shower. You can easily set up some pop-up tents to help keep people shaded with tables and chairs.

You could also rent out a park pavilion, which will be covered from any weather and has many picnic tables. The only potential downside with locations like these is it requires you to bring in catering or make your own food.

Alternatively, you can consider a renting out a private room at a restaurant or other venue. Restaurants will likely have their own menus and servers for your event, which can take a lot of pressure off of you.

Hot Tip: As an out-of-town bride, I chose to have my bridal shower in Pittsburgh where my family and most of my friends live. It was farther for me, but it meant that more people that I loved could be there. If you live in a different state, consider where might be convenient for your guests to attend.


Generally, bridal showers will be a much quieter event than your wedding will end up being. Because of this, I would consider having a small sit down meal or finger foods. It allows you to really take the time to enjoy talking and being with your guests.

You don’t need anything over the top when it comes to food. If you are really on a budget, consider making the shower more of a potluck where everyone brings a food option. You can also order affordable catering from places like Panera or Chipotle.

Bridal Shower on a Budget: Food

Alcohol can easily be one of the most expensive parts of a bridal shower. If you are having a brunch, consider serving tea and coffee instead of alcohol to cut down on costs. You could also bring your own champagne and serve mimosas, rather than having access to a full bar.


Bridal showers on a budget don’t need to go over the top with decorations. In fact, a good looking venue, perhaps at a garden, may need hardly any decorations at all. If you need to spruce up the space a little, then balloons or flowers from the grocery store make for easy decorations.

Bridal Shower on a Budget: Decorations


Even if you don’t want gifts at your bridal shower, it is likely your guests will not want to show up empty handed. In fact, many people rely on your wedding registry to treat you. Just make sure you have a gift table where they can drop those presents off so they can relax hands-free.

Explore More: Check out my ultimate wedding registry checklist to make sure you don’t forget a thing!

Bridal Shower on a Budget: Gifts

I was not expecting it at my bridal shower, but people likely will want you to open gifts in front of everyone. It brought me back to being six-years-old opening birthday presents in front of everyone, which was a little nerve-wracking.

Of course, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want, but know that it is one of the fun things people might expect at a bridal shower. It’s a bonus if you have as cute of a helper as I had!

Bridal Shower on a Budget: Gifts

Bridal Shower Games

Bridal shower games are one of those hokey traditions that some people choose to take ’em or leave ’em. Games can range from toilet paper wedding dresses, to answering Newlywed-style questions, to “how well do you know the bride”.

One of my favorite games from a bridal shower I attended was when they set a timer and if the timer went off while the bride was opening your gift, then you won a prize. This prize was either a small gift basket or the centerpiece of the table at which you were sitting.

Explore More: Check out this article for some fun bridal shower game ideas.


Many brides question what they should wear to their bridal shower. It is common to wear white, but it is not required!

I know many brides choose to get different dresses for all pre-wedding events, such as their engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. Those costs can all add up quickly and definitely are not necessary.

Instead, opt for something you already have in your closet or feel free to repeat an outfit! It might be a fun time to check out a thrift store if you are set on wearing a bunch of different outfits.


Favors at both weddings and bridal showers are becoming more a thing of the past. I still believe you should have a way to say thank you though. To save money, try to use decor that doubles as your favors.

At my bridal shower, we had hand painted candle holders that everyone got to take home. Alternatively, this could be some beautiful flower centerpieces that can be given away.

Bridal Shower on a Budget: Favors

The biggest favor you can give is writing handwritten thank you notes for every guest that attended your bridal shower.

Designate a specific person, like your maid of honor, to keep track of all the gifts you received. This will help you write personalized notes and not forget who got you that awesome ice cream maker.

Think Out of the Box

One tradition people will often do at bridal showers is collecting all the bows off of the gifts and making them into a bouquet to use at the wedding rehearsal. As I say with all traditions, you don’t need to do that if you don’t want to.

Bridal showers can be fun and whatever you want them to be. Think outside the box when it comes to bridal showers. It doesn’t just need to be a tea or a brunch (though those can be fun too!).

Consider going for a sip ‘n’ paint class or perhaps heading to a winery for a wine tasting. Other options could be taking a floral arrangement class or perhaps doing a co-ed bridal shower. Enjoy in the festivities with your significant other!

Whatever it is, make it yours. Relax and enjoy celebrating!

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