The bridal shower (or couple's shower) is the maid of honor's pre-wedding piece de resistance. Even if someone else is hosting the bridal shower, like the bride's relatives, or you're holding it at a restaurant or spa, it's up to you to take the reins. Here's a handy bridal shower checklist to help you plan an amazing party for the bride-to-be.

Three (or more) months before

  •        Talk to the bride. Does she want all women or coed? Afternoon tea or a Saturday night soiree? Does she want a particular bridal shower theme, style or color? Does she want to gather at a fun restaurant, quaint tea salon, her parents' patio, a spa or your apartment? While most of the bridal shower details and decisions will be up to you, make sure you plan according to her input.
  •        Set the date—shoot for a month or two before the wedding. If certain bridesmaids and important family and friends can't convene until a few days before, hold off until then.
  •        If the bridal shower will take place at a tea salon, private dining room, restaurant or nightclub, make the reservations as soon as possible.
  •        Create the guest list for the bridal shower. And take note: Anyone you invite to the shower must also be invited to the wedding.

Two months before

  •        Send a save-the-date email or call important guests to see if there might be any scheduling conflicts.
  •        As a courtesy, call any guests who'll have to travel some distance to attend—they'll appreciate the advance notice.
  •        Confer with the bridesmaids to establish a budget.
  •        Purchase bridal shower invitations or materials to make them.
  •        Hold a brainstorming session to finalize decisions about table linens, flowers, menu, decorations, favors, music and activities.
  •        Order special menu items through the bakery or caterer, and rent linens and other equipment from a rental company, if necessary.
  •        Compile addresses for the guest list.
  •        Make a detailed to-do list and assign tasks.

One month before

  •        Assemble and address invitations. Don't forget to include information about the couple's registries. And, if it's a theme party, make sure to provide proper gift-giving instructions.
  •        Mail invitations.
  •        Shop for decorations, paper goods and other party props.
  •        Purchase favors.
  •        If guests have offered to bring desserts and other treats, email or call to confirm what they plan to bring.

Two (or more) weeks before

  •        Place flower order.
  •        Buy your shower gift for the bride.
  •        Make a shopping list for the food and drinks. Buy any hard-to-find ingredients.
  •        Purchase spirits, if you're having cocktails.
  •        Pick up any baskets, CDs, cake stands, audio equipment or serving ware that friends or neighbors have offered to lend.

One week before

  •        Confirm reservations.
  •        Confirm orders and delivery times.
  •        Confirm RSVPs.
  •        Assemble and gift wrap favors.
  •        Buy groceries.
  •        Create a mental floor plan to facilitate decorating and setting up.
  •        Organize shower games and activities.

One day before

  •        Prepare any menu items that can be made in advance (or just do prep work).
  •        Receive and set up equipment, assemble decorations and favors, and set table(s).
  •        Touch base with the bridesmaids—confirm who's bringing what and ask them to arrive early to help.
  •        Run any last-minute errands.

Reference: The Knot