Planning the Perfect Bridal Shower

Text, Concept + Design by Kate Murtaugh | Photography by Shannon Grant Photography
*Photographed at Chapel Grille’s Skyline Terrace, a contemporary four-season al fresco-style event space with floor-to-ceiling accordion windows and doors that showcase panoramic views.

Whether you’re the sister, bridesmaid, mother, cousin or colleague of a newly engaged bride-to-be, throwing a bridal shower can be a daunting task. Today, there are plenty of ways to throw your bride a memorable celebration that doesn’t include traditional (and, let’s face it, cheesy) games or hours spent opening gifts. Kate Murtaugh, owner and creative director of Kate Murtaugh Events & Design, shares her top tips for ensuring your bride’s big day is everything she’s dreamed of—and fun for her friends and family.

Thoughtful Theme

For the bride-to-be, a shower isn’t just a party, it’s a day she will remember forever. The event doesn’t have to be over-the-top or expensive to be special—just get creative. Think about the bride’s favorite foods and drinks, her personal style, the activities she enjoys and where she likes to hang out, and try to incorporate them into her shower theme.

Set the Tone

Start the invitation with something clever to grab invitees’ attention. Use a catchy phrase, image or special paper that reveals the theme of the event and makes them want to RSVP right away. Be fun and creative! If the party is a surprise, be sure to note this prominently in the invitation.

Culinary Creativity

This party does not have to be limited to a Saturday brunch with mimosas and frittatas. Instead, focus on personalizing your menu and spotlighting the guest of honor. Make dishes the couple enjoyed from childhood, that they had on their first date or that represent the different countries they’ve visited.

Fabulous Favors

So often people give out useless favors like bubbles (who really needs a bottle of bubbles?). Opt instead for a colorful or interactive gift, such as a make-your-own flower bouquet. Set up the supplies needed using a variety of in-season blooms and fun ribbons. Guests will love the thought behind it. Plus, how awesome is it to bring something home that will last days beyond the celebration?!


Is the bride an all-around cocktail lover? Make the event her very own happy hour with a build-your-own cocktail bar or fixings for her favorite beverages. One idea is to put together a fun, interactive Bloody Mary bar and let guests mix up their own custom blends. Since most bridal showers take place around brunch or lunchtime, it’s the perfect way to get people to let loose!

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