Celebrating the journey to wedded bliss is a joyous occasion, and what better way to honor the bride-to-be than with a bridal shower at a winery? Galway Rock Winery provides a picturesque backdrop, exquisite wines, and an upscale relaxed atmosphere that sets the stage for a memorable event. We’ll guide you through the steps to throw the perfect bridal shower at the winery (or any venue), ensuring a day filled with love, laughter, and uncorked happiness.

Here at Galway Rock we host a lot of parties, so planning an event has become second nature for us.  My mom and I joke that we could throw together a shower, or a wedding at a moment’s notice and no one would know we did it on our way into work. For those of you out there who don’t throw a party every week of the year; here are the things we think will make your shower seem like you are a DIY Diva with the etiquette of Amy Vanderbuilt herself while keeping your stress level at Zen Goddess.

Bridal Shower Etiquette:

One of the most stressful parts of wedding and shower planning is worrying about if you are doing things the right way and appeasing all the family and friends of the happy couple.  No one wants to offend Great Aunt Nelly; we all just want to have fun!  These are some of the big questions we get asked.

1. What is a bridal shower?

I promise this isn’t a silly question.  A bridal shower is a party held a few months before a couple gets married where family and friends “shower” the couple with gifts (typically for their home) to get them started off in life.  

2. Who is in charge of planning a bridal shower?

Typically the Maid of Honor has this honor.  But more often than not the other bridesmaids, and the mother of the bride get involved too.  

3. Who pays for a bridal shower? 

Typically the bridal party, or the bride’s parents, or a combination of both pay for the event.  My number one tip for hosting a stress free shower is to make sure everyone who is responsible for paying for the event sits down and puts together a very realistic budget that everyone agrees on before you start any planning.  We’ve seen beautiful showers that come together on a shoestring budget.  The happiest showers start with a good understanding of what is reasonable for all the people involved.

4. When do you host a bridal shower?

The shower should take place 2 to 3 months before the wedding.  Shower invitations should go out at least a month in advance of the shower – bonus points if you can make that 6 weeks.

5. Who do you invite to a bridal shower? 

Typically a shower is attended by the women who are also attending the wedding.  It’s really important that anyone you invite to the shower must be on the wedding guest list.  Lately we have seen quite a few jack-n-jill showers where both the bride and groom and their close family and friends are all invited to the shower.  It’s a good idea to ask the couple what they prefer.

Bridal Shower Themes:

You want to make this shower a unique experience that really celebrates the happy couple.  Adding a theme is really not necessary, but it can actually help to narrow down the other choices you have to make.  Our best suggestion is to find something the couple enjoys together and run with it.  Do they like to go hiking, love their dogs like crazy, enjoy traveling together, or maybe a particular type of music?  One easy theme, especially if you are hosting the event at the winery, is to call it a “Toast to Love” and really play up the special venue.

Bridal Shower Catering and Food:

Here at Galway Rock we have a number of catering options, but we also allow folks to take care of the food themselves.  We know that the food at an event can be the biggest expense, so to give our guests flexibility we do not require them to purchase the food package directly from us.  Depending on your budget and also the time you want to devote to food prep here are the top three ideas that shower guests rave about:

1. Bridal Shower Brunch:

Ladies love to brunch!  Hosting a brunch shower can be the most cost effective way to feed a large crowd.  Breakfast foods are often the cheapest on a restaurant’s menu.  Guests love it too because hosting a party in the late morning doesn’t cut up their entire weekend day.

2. Bridal Shower Foodie Favorites:

Find out the couple’s favorite restaurant and order a few pans of food from there to pop into our buffet servers.  This is a great way to keep the prep work out of your own kitchen while showcasing the couple’s love for food.

3. Bridal Shower Appetizers:

No matter the time of day simply putting out a smorgasbord of apps is one of the best ways to feed a crowd.  We like this because it really gets the group mingling as they walk around with their plates and a glass of wine.  Guests at an all app event tend to spend less time at the table with their close friends and more time mingling and merging families.  

Bridal Shower Decor and Ambiance:

By choosing the winery as your venue you are already starting with an elegant backdrop that doesn’t need much attention in the decorating department.  You can choose to enhance the winery’s natural beauty with tasteful decorations that complement the surroundings by simply purchasing budget blooms from the grocery store or ordering bunches of inexpensive baby’s breath and placing vases or mason jars all around the tasting room.  Some other popular things to consider include:

1. Playing up your theme with creative centerpieces.

How about a decorative camping lantern at each table for those adventurous couples, vases filled with puppy biscuits for the couple that loves their dogs, vases wrapped with maps, or sheet music for that couple who loves to travel, or go to concerts together, and stuffing empty wine bottles with budget blooms for a toast to love theme.  My best advice here is to just pop on pinterest and type in your theme name and the word centerpiece, or decoration and tons of ideas pop up.:

2. Custom signs make a big impression on your guests.

You don’t have to go crazy.  We like to use Canva to create printable signs to leave around the tasting room.  Pop them into frames you have at home, or grab some bulk frames from Amazon.  Signs can say anything, but a few ideas are: A welcome sign with the name of the bride and the date of the shower, gift table, guestbook and photo booth signs, favors and treat signs.  Basically you just want to tell guests what you want them to do and how to do it.

3. Balloon arches are a big thing right now. 

There are professionals who will show up with metal framing and put together an arch for you the morning of your event.  If you are up for the task yourself you can buy a kit online and have a balloon blowing party with the bridesmaids the night before.

4. Selfie stations are a must in our opinion.

These really get the party going and keep people mingling the whole event long.  We offer a free selfie station at all of our events with a customized photo booth app that sends photo cards right to your guests email, or phone.  Here is a link to the photo booth app we like the best.  

Bridal Shower Invitations:

Set the tone for the celebration with beautifully crafted invitations. Emphasize the winery theme in the design and include essential details such as the date, time, location, and any dress code. Encourage guests to RSVP to ensure a smooth planning process. You don’t have to go crazy with invitations.  It can be as simple as heading over to Staples for plain wedding white invites, or you can go more custom by using Canva to create your own unique design.  My best advice for making this as easy as possible is to grab a bottle of wine and sit down with the bride and her address book and have an addressing party.  

Bridal Shower Wine Experience:

One of the highlights of a winery bridal shower is, of course, the wine!  We know that everyone has their favorite styles and sweetness level so we encourage hosts to select a variety of wines to cater to different preferences.  Consider incorporating a theme, such as a “Love & Wine” pairing.  Our most popular experience is having a Mimosa Bar.  We put out three different types of sparkling wine and a selection of juices and garnishes for guests to concoct their own mimosas.  This is always a huge hit.  

Bridal Shower Games and Entertainment:

Keep the celebration lively with games and entertainment that celebrate the bride. Wine-themed games like a blind tasting challenge can add a touch of fun.  The best games are those that get the crowd mingling, celebrate the bride and groom, or help the happy couple in life. Our advice is to keep it to three games and keep it fun.  Click here for a great list of shower games.  Our top five games are:

1. Put a Ring on it:

Purchase a few bags of party favor rings and give each guest one or a few rings when they walk in.  Every time a guest says bride or wedding they have to hand over a ring to the one who catches them.  The guest with the most rings at the end of the shower gets a prize.

2. Vows Mad Libs:

Print out traditional vows and leave blank spaces for nouns, verbs, and adjectives. A bridesmaid or party host asks each guest for a word. At the end of the party, the bride reads the wedding vows to the crowd.

3. Cell Phone Scavenger Hunt:

This is like the traditional what’s in your purse game, but using what you have on your cellphone.  Things like – a photo of the bride and groom together, photo of the bride and groom when they were a certain age, the wedding date saved in the phone.  Winner gets a prize.

4. Shower Gift Bingo: 

Print or buy bingo cards.  Guests fill in typical shower gifts in the squares.  As the bride opens her gifts guests cross off their squares.  Whoever gets BINGO wins a prize.

5. Newlywed Game: 

Send a survey to the couple with questions about themselves and their relationship.  Turn the answers into questions to see who knows the couple the best.  Winner gets a prize.

Bridal Shower Favors and Keepsakes:

Send guests home with a token of appreciation that reflects the shower, or winery theme. Miniature wine bottles, custom wine glass charms, or even personalized wine stoppers make for thoughtful keepsakes.  If you’re working with a theme, search for inspiration on Pinterest for DIY gifts.  These gifts do not need to be expensive; a simple twist of candied almonds in tulle is traditional and pretty.  We love seeing them set at each table place to add to the tablescape.

Bridal Shower Outfits:

What’s the dress code for a shower?  Traditionally the dress code for a shower is business casual.  If you don’t know what that means, it generally means no jeans, no shorts, no short skirts, shirts with collars, and tie optional. Putting it to use in a social setting means you should wear a dress or nice pants and a blouse or sweater.  

Bridal Shower Gift Ideas:

One of the simplest options for a bridal shower gift is to order off the registry.  The couple will put a registry together at one or two stores with items that they need for their home.  Information about where they are registered should be included in the shower invitation. 

It is completely acceptable not to order off the registry and give a more personalized gift as well.  Why not lean into the theme and give the couple a case of wine for all of life’s moments, or a signature wine glass set.  We have created a downloadable label template for you and recommend ordering these labels.  Each bottle of wine has a label telling the couple when to open it.

If you are hosting a shower you should make sure the couple has registered for their wedding gifts before the shower invitations go out.  You will also want to designate someone to write down the gifts and who gave them as the bride is opening them to make thank-you-cards easier to write.  Also, don’t forget to figure out how all the gifts are getting home from the event.  If everyone has a small car you may need to have several folks assigned to take a few of the gifts home for the bride.  

Bridal Shower Checklist & Logistics:

This may seem like a lot, but we promise it can be very simple.  Here is a link to a great checklist with a timeline.

  1. Decide who is in charge of the planning
  2. Decide your budget and who is responsible for paying for the bridal shower
  3. Pick a bridal shower venue
  4. Decide on and order food and beverage
  5. Decide if you want to incorporate a bridal shower theme
  6. Order or make invitations and send them out 4 to 6 weeks before the bridal shower
  7. Plan for any decorations and signs you may want to use
  8. Decide on a shower gift for attendees and any bridal shower game prizes
  9. Figure out who is in charge of decorating the venue and who is in charge of cleaning up from the party
  10.  Have FUN!

How to plan a stress free bridal shower:

If you would prefer to skip all the planning and decorating so you can just sit back and relax we have a no-stress bridal shower option at Galway Rock Winery.  Simply tell us the number of guests and pick your food and beverage options from our catering menu.  We will take care of the custom signs, baby’s breath floral centerpieces, and mini wine bottle party favors for you.  

Hosting the perfect bridal shower at a winery can be easy and fun.  By incorporating wine-themed elements, and curating an experience that celebrates love, you’ll create a bridal shower that the bride and guests will cherish forever. Here’s to a day filled with laughter, love, and the clinking of glasses in celebration!