Tasked with planning the bridal shower or bachelorette party? You can't lose by celebrating the bride-to-be with these crowd-pleasing party ideas.

By Maggie Seaver
Updated May 03, 2019
Credit: Getty Images

From the bridal shower to the bachelorette party, every bride deserves to be thrown a few prewedding festivities she’ll never forget. Needless to say, not every bride-to-be craves the same type of celebration: Personal taste, guest list, budget, and logistics all factor into it. At the end of the day, make sure you’re doing something suited to the bride’s style. She loves you, knows you, and trusts you to plan a party she’d sign off on.

Need some inspiration? Not sure whether she’s into a night out clubbing or a cozy cabin getaway? Peruse this roundup of popular (and easily customizable) bridal shower and bachelorette party themes, ideas, and more to find the perfect party sweet spot.

Popular Bridal Shower Ideas, Themes, and Activities

Choose the right bridal shower plan for the guest of honor. This celebration’s about her, so before anyone starts planning, touch base with her to gauge her interest and preferences.

Host a Brunch, Lunch, or Tea

A shower doesn’t get more classic than this. If you’re going by the book (which isn’t a bad thing), a bridal shower brunch, lunch, tea, or even dinner is a perfect way to celebrate. Host at someone’s home, set up a chic picnic, make a reservation, or go all out by booking a private room or event space. The budget and bride’s preferences will lead you to the right venue option.

Incorporate an Interactive Class, Craft, or Activity

One bridal shower trend we’re loving right now is the hands-on party. Have a sommelier host a guided wine-tasting, take a flower-arranging or candle-making class, make your own lingerie, or hire on-demand beauty pros for some in-house pampering. If your budget doesn’t allow for an outside hire, stick to free activities. Go on a leisurely hike, play lawn games, or decorate cupcakes and cookies at home.

Make It a Themed Gift Shower

Themed bridal showers are a blast—and they help guests narrow down their gift options. Host a travel- or honeymoon-themed bridal shower, lingerie shower, stock the bar party, or a food-centric shower. Themes help inform the décor, set the mood, and nudge guests to bring a certain category of gift (for example, a stock the bar party calls for gifting cool barware from the registry, a fun mixology book, or top-shelf liquor).

Throw a Couple’s Shower

Another shower trend on the rise is the combined couple’s shower. Why should only one person get all the fun (and gifts)? Celebrate the couple together by incorporating a little bit of what they both love and inviting both of their nearest and dearest. Couple showers are also a great excuse to keep things casual or replace the classic brunch shower with a sophisticated dinner reservation. Anything goes—truly.

Indulge in a Destination Shower

Feeling extra? No judgment. Take the shower somewhere unexpected by renting an AirBnB or borrowing someone’s vacation home for a prewedding getaway all about spoiling the bride. If you’re trying to minimize travel and expenses for the entire bridal party, suggest combining the bridal shower and bachelorette party into one, fun-filled weekend somewhere special.

The Best Bachelorette Party Ideas

Whether the bride’s interested in something loud or low key, the whole squad is bound to love one of these foolproof bachelorette party ideas.

Hit the Town

This is the bachelorette party version of the bridal shower lunch—an iconic, right-of-passage crowd-pleaser for brides who like to party. By the way, your bachelorette night out doesn’t need to cost thousands and end up like The Hangover (unless you want it to). An at-home pregame followed by a casual pub crawl, for example, is the perfect compromise.

Party by the Water

Any excuse to wear a floppy hat and “Bride Tribe” one-piece swimsuit, right? For the bride who’ll do anything to be by the water, charter a boat, head to the beach, or chill poolside for her bachelorette party.

Enjoy a Relaxing Spa Day

If the bride’s not interested in a rowdy night out, it’s definitely not required. A detox day (or weekend) of facials and massages is the ultimate antidote to wedding planning stress.

Plan an Interactive Bachelorette

Remember those hands-on bridal shower ideas? The same concept applies to bachelorette parties. Have a mixologist show you how to whip up cocktails, brave a group workout class, book a private pasta-making session, or sketch a nude model (yes, that’s a thing).

Host an Old-School Slumber Party

One of the most beloved and affordable bachelorette party ideas, a group slumber party is never a bad idea. Eat, drink, and celebrate the bride until the sun comes up—without taking off your PJs or worrying about leaving your credit card at the club.

Splurge on a Weekend Getaway

Destination bachelorette parties are hotter than ever right now. One of the biggest perks of an extended bachelorette is there’s time for both partying and pampering—especially if the bride can’t decide between the two. Opt for more popular bachelorette destinations (think: Las Vegas, Nashville, or Miami) or shoot for something off the beaten path (say, a dude ranch in Wyoming or a luxe trip to Iceland). If the squad can swing it—both money- and scheduling-wise—multi-day bachelorette festivities might be exactly what everyone needs to bond and celebrate.