On average, it costs $1,695 to be a bride. Of this total, $400 is spent just for the bridal shower. This includes buying gifts, expenses for the event, and going to the shower.
But it is not necessary to spend so much. I was a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding last summer. I threw the shower with another bride for just under $300. It was a great time, and most importantly, by the bride.
From venue selection to giveaways and anecdotes, there are several fundraising tips you can implement and still have a shower to remember.
Planning a bridal shower on a budget
Planning a bridal shower on a budget can be challenging, but it is certainly doable. Here are some tips to help you plan a successful and affordable bridal shower:
First, consider your home. If you host the party yourself, you will not need to pay the rental fee. But there are circumstances where this does not work. I live in Pennsylvania, and my shower friend lives in Michigan. But my father-in-law lives in Michigan, where we grew up, and generously let us borrow their house for a few hours. If you find someone willing to share their home, you might give an inexpensive “thank you” gift, such as a bottle of wine.
You’ll probably save some money if you don’t have a house. But the shower should not be in a fancy restaurant or hotel ballroom. Think outside the box and compare prices. Here are a few atypical places to check out:
- You can live in an apartment where your friend or relative of the bride lives, in a community center. Many complexes rent these rooms to residents.
- Park. If the storm breaks, create conditions!
- City, village, and other local governments often have rooms large enough for guest showers.
- Historic home or school building. These spaces may be run by a non-profit and may be available at a reasonable cost.
- Many fraternal organizations, such as Rotary and the VFW, maintain meeting spaces with kitchens, tables, and party supplies.
Regardless of which vehicle you choose, traveling hundreds of kilometers is expensive. When I had to go from Pennsylvania to Michigan, I compared the cost of driving to the cost of flying. The cost of gas to get there and back was about $150, and the plane ticket would have been at least $200 per person. Since my husband will also be traveling, we saved over $350 in travel expenses by driving for a wedding we attended in the area.
Depending on where you and the other co-hosts live and where the shower will be held, you may find different ways to save money while traveling.
- Plan the shower, so it falls within a few days of the bachelorette party or a few days after the girls are ready to go on the trip. Of course, maybe you want to have a bachelorette party a few days before the wedding to save time and money for the bridal shower. Showering a week or so after the marriage can be overwhelming for the bride, her friends, and her family.
- Find cheap flights to get the lowest possible fare if you must fly.
- Carpool with other shower hosts or guests from your area and share gas costs.
Even if you are the groom, you don’t have to attend the shower if it doesn’t make financial or logistical sense. Any reasonable bride will understand if you can’t make it to the bridal shower. Plus, you can always bring your gift on board.
Shower invitations cost nothing. You can send an Evite or create a Facebook event and invite everyone to the party for free.
But this approach has one small problem: not everyone uses the Internet regularly. The bride likely has a grandmother or other relative who does not use Facebook.
An internet search will reveal many companies that will make custom-printed invitations. Don’t order from the website if you can’t find an active coupon code. I paid $84.70 for 40 invitations and prop cards using the coupon code. Each guest was asked to share the bride’s recipe on these cards.
Alternatively, you can stop by any card shop and find suitable blank party invitations. Or you can make them yourself – even if you are not the crafty type, you can buy invitation kits in many office supplies and stationery stores. Most are compatible with standard word processors. Use a holiday font, add a photo or two of clip art, and print on your home office printer.
To save money, avoid getting scattered if you don’t shower in the required space. It is much more profitable to prepare food yourself. Check out these quick and easy appetizer recipes for parties, or peruse your cookbooks and the Internet for finger food recipes that match the theme of your shower.
Also, spread the cost of food around by having each person helping out at the shower bring food. I shared the partying duties with my friend’s sister, so we split the cooking duties.
And for alcoholic drinks, maybe have one soft drink and one alcoholic drink. My mother-in-law made some sangria for us. I made punch from this simple recipe:
- 2 quarts cranberry juice
- 2 quarts of ginger ale
- 46 grams of pineapple juice
- 1 cup lemon juice
You will need dishes, but you or your co-host probably have the appropriate words for the service. If not, borrow them from someone who does. If you want to serve your guests using collapsible plates and silverware, you can find them inexpensively at the grocery store.
5. Decorative items
Party supply stores sell a large variety of centerpieces, balloons, garlands, streamers, candy, and other items. While you might want to think about it, they aren’t necessarily showered decorations. A more economical option is to try on your items for things that match the shower’s theme.
The theme of the shower I was a guest at was “Around the World.” I brought a stuffed kangaroo my friend brought me from Australia, sea snails from my honeymoon in the Caribbean, and a few things I could find at home. Other decorations you can lay around include:
- Strings of Christmas lights
- Houseplants will be used as a centerpiece
- Thematic pictures or postmen
You’ll have enough to work with if everyone helping out at the shower contributes a few decorations.
Silly bridal shower games are a staple of any shower. Below are a few that cost little or nothing:
- Prepare a list of questions about the groom (What is his shoe size? What was his first car?). Place them near the bride and see how much she heals.
- Make a list of how to say “love” in different languages using Google Translate. Adjust the workspaces for your guests to adjust the translation to the correct language.
- Watch out for cheap toilet paper. Divide the guests into teams and set out to create the best toilet paper “wedding dress.”
7. Favors and rewards
Along with games come prizes. It is customary for party guests to receive party favors. Shop around and get creative – you can find inexpensive options for blessings, like beautiful soaps, candles, or sweets. For game rewards, there’s nothing wrong with regifting that beach scrub you got for Christmas but didn’t use.
Spending a ton of money on a bridal shower will not guarantee a good time. These parties are fun for the bride because she gets to see her friends and family, open presents, and be the center of attention. Focus on making the event enjoyable, not extravagant. Following these tips, you can plan a beautiful and memorable bridal shower on a budget.
What other ideas do you have for saving money on a bridal shower?