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While many weddings and pre-wedding events have been dramatically altered, postponed, or canceled due to the COVID pandemic, it’s totally possible to have a successful outdoor bridal shower during this time. With a few minor adjustments, you can take part in most of traditional bridal shower activities—opening gifts, playing games, enjoying food and drink, and more. Yes, there are a few safety measures you’ll need to include, but a fun outdoor bridal shower is well within reach.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to throwing the ultimate outdoor bridal shower during COVID.

Communication is key.

The guest of honor and hosts (usually bridesmaids and/or family members) should have an open and honest discussion before starting to plan an outdoor bridal shower. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to safety measures and social distancing, so that the event can be planned accordingly and precautions can be communicated to guests. Keeping guests as safe as possible should be the ultimate goal here.

Find an outdoor space.

Experts agree that outdoor celebrations are safer than indoor events, so your best bet is to find an outdoor space for your bridal shower. A loved one’s backyard is a good option, provided that it’s big enough for your guests to maintain distance. Parks are another idea, though you might need to acquire a permit to host an event there. Restaurants or other venues with large outdoor spaces or covered patios can likely accommodate outdoor bridal showers, as well. You’ll also want to consider coming up with a rain date or reserving tents for your event in case of inclement weather. And bonus: Outdoor spaces are usually so pretty on their own, they require very little added decor.

Keep the guest list small.

It’s essential to review your state’s gathering restrictions before creating your guest list. Many states aren’t allowing events of more than 50 people, so it’s best to keep your guest list to your very nearest and dearest to ensure your event doesn’t get too crowded (we’re thinking 20 guests or fewer). We’ve also seen “shift showers,” where 2-5 guests visit with the guest of honor for hourlong shifts throughout the day. Another option: You can always livestream your outdoor bridal shower so that those who aren’t able to attend can enjoy the festivities from home.

Share safety guidelines before the event.

Your guests will likely have questions about the precautions you’ll be taking at your outdoor bridal shower. How many guests will be attending? Will masks be provided or should guests bring their own? Will social distancing be enforced? How will food be served? What’s the best way for guests to greet the guest of honor? What should a guest do if they’re not feeling well on the day of the event (answer: stay home!)? Include an insert with the invitation or send an email outlining these safety measures so that guests can decide if they feel comfortable attending.

outdoor bridal shower
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Ask for gifts to be sent beforehand.

Guests traditionally bring gifts to a bridal shower, but for a COVID event, it’s best to have shower gifts sent to the host or bride in advance. This lessens contact between the guests and the guest of honor on the day of the event, and makes it easier and safer for the guest of honor to open her gifts on the big day, should she choose to. Information on how and where to send gifts in advance should be provided in an invitation insert or via email.

Display social distancing signage.

Even if you outlined rules in advance, guests may get excited when arriving at your outdoor bridal shower and conveniently forget about social distancing. By displaying a few well-placed signs throughout your event, you can gently remind your guests to maintain distance and wear masks. Hand sanitizing stations are also a good idea near entrances and exits. 

Provide boxed meals.

Food is an important part of a bridal shower, but potlucks and COVID do not mix well. Instead, we recommend enlisting a caterer or local restaurant to provide boxed meals or bento boxes for each guest, so that everyone can safely eat without contact.

Offer spaced seating.

At most bridal showers, the bride sits in a decorated chair or “throne” while guests gather around. This can still occur at an outdoor bridal shower during COVID, as long as spacing is maintained. Guests’ chairs should be placed six feet apart in a large semicircle, so everyone can watch the bride open gifts without getting too close. Boxed meals, favors, and games can be placed on each guest’s chair, as well.

Enjoy games and activities.

Aside from watching gifts being opened, there are other bridal shower games and activities you can partake in from a distance. While the toilet paper wedding dress competition might be out, games like “Guess the Dress,” “Bridal Emoji Pictionary,” “Bridal Bingo,” and “What’s in Your Purse?” can likely be played safely.

Share speeches.

While hugs and kisses are probably out at an outdoor bridal shower during COVID, there are other ways for guests to show their love for the bride. Toward the end of the shower, each guest can be invited to stand at their seat and say a few heartfelt words about the guest of honor.