Saul Metnick

How to dote on your soon-to-be daughter-in-law in all the right ways

There’s nothing more exciting than your son settling down. You’ve poured your heart and soul into the man he’s become, and now you get a new daughter who loves him just as much as you do. If your son picked her, she must be amazing.

While your boy’s beloved pulls together the big day, planning a bridal shower is often one of the first tasks for the mother of the groom. A shower all about the bride-to-be is such a special celebration. It’s one of the first times all of the important ladies in her life to come together for a bit of fun. But, let's be honest, it’s also a chance to let your party planning skills shine with a whole new side of the family.

To help you host the ultimate bridal bash, we’ve rounded up some shower basics to get you started.

A Touch on Tradition

Though traditionally taboo for family members to host a shower, times have changed. Originally only a duty for bridesmaids, these days, bridesmaids, close friends, co-workers, and yes, even members of the groom’s family, often play host. Nearly all etiquette experts agree that protocol no longer prevents a future mother-in-law from showering the bride. 

Talk to the Bride

She’ll be thrilled you want to throw her a pre-wedding party, and she’ll probably have a few ideas of her own. Figuring out her vision for the event will help you pick the right location, theme, guests, and more.

Set the Date

Aim for one to two months before the wedding, but this can be flexible if scheduling conflicts arise. Send an email save-the-date or give key guests a call to make sure there aren’t any scheduling conflicts.

Gather the Troops

You’ve raised your hand as the host, but it’s okay to spread a bit of the responsibility around. No one expects you to single handedly pull off the perfect party, and close friends are often eager to feel involved.

Guest Lists and Invitations

Since it’s meant for the bride’s nearest and dearest, showers are often intimate affairs. It’s important to remember that all of the gals invited to the shower should also be on the wedding guest list. Once you’ve got your guest list, the sky is the limit with invitations. From delicate or traditional to spunky or sweet, shower invitation options are endless. What you send out will set the tone of your event. Be sure to mail invitations four to six weeks before the shower.

Related: How To Write a Charming Thank You Note

Get Creative

We love a traditional shower, but we’ll give a big thumbs up to a unique bridal shower theme any day. Bridal shower themes can help you focus décor or offer a fun way for guests to tailor gifts. Consider a paper shower, where guests bring all the stationary and cocktail napkins a bride will ever need, or something spirited like a cocktail or wine shower, where guests help stock her collection while keeping the fun pouring during the party as well. Use some creativity when it comes to bridal shower games, too. Games can help new family and friends get to know each other and get the merriment moving.

Set the Menu

Your shower menu will depend on a few factors, including your theme, guest count, and time of day. Before settling on what to serve, consider whether you’ll be doing most of the cooking or if you’d like to have guests bring a dish or dessert. Or, there may be a few dishes you may want to cater in. Not sure where to start? We’ve got some bridal shower-ready recipes and ideas to help you curate the perfect menu.

Party Time

Put your mother of the groom hosting hat on for what is normally a three or four event, which allows enough time for food, a game or activity, and gifts. Make the day memorable by incorporating some traditional bridal shower rituals, like making a bouquet out of shower gift ribbons and bows. Put pen to paper while the bride opens presents to help her keep track of gift givers and on top of thank you notes. Send guests off with a cute bridal shower favor, and pat your self on the back for a party well thrown.