If you're throwing a party for someone, hopefully your goal is that they have fun. While bridal showers can sometimes get tied up in what other people want, here's how to make sure the bride enjoys herself at her own party.
Keep her out of the planning (but consider suggestions & preferences when offered)
The best (or scary, if you're Type A) part of someone else planning you a party is that you don't have to do anything. Let's keep it that way. She's planning a wedding and has enough event-related stress— don't worry her over the shower's venue problem or (especially!) who has or hasn't RSVP'd (she is dealing with enough of that, thankyouverymuch).
That doesn't mean forget her entirely—it's nice to consider your guest of honor's preferences. If she hates surprises, probably let her know a shower is on the horizon. If she doesn't eat meat, don't get catering from the Texas BBQ joint. If she doesn't want to play shower games or open presents or do anything else that makes her uncomfortable, consider her wishes. Yes, it is very nice of you to throw her a party at all in the first place, but parties are meant to make people happy, no?
Make it personal
What are the bride's interests? Make the shower personal to her. In our case, the bride is a prolific local theatre actress, so we went with a Broadway theme; We decorated with marquee letters in the couple's initials and love quotes from musicals around the room, made a DIY theatre-shaped card box, and we played DIY Broadway Charades. Because she's a writer, we giggled over wedding Mad Libs.
Even if you decide against a specific theme, you can keep it personal. We strung up globe lights and had photos of the bride and various guests pinned to it. Everyone contributed photos, and we all had a blast taking a trip back in time.
You can even make the food personal. The bride is a lover of macarons, so we bought some for dessert. She also founded the Boston Food Swap with us, and so our favors were homemade lavender jelly.
The downright easiest way to make it personal: decorate in her wedding colors. Bonus: if the bride loves the décor, some of it could be repurposed for the big day.
Make sure she has a drink
Being the guest of honor means a lot of chatting and mingling and catching up with Great Aunt Ruth, and that often leads to forgetting to eat. You don't have to wait on her, but it's thoughtful to make sure she has a drink in her hand shortly after arriving, and checking in once or twice to see if she needs a refill on anything.
Help her remember the day
This whole time in her life is flying by really fast. Give her something to help relive the day. We had the guests sign a blank book, and then added in the photos they brought as well as the love quotes to create a little scrapbook. It doesn't have to be anything fancy— we just used washi tape and Sharpie messages— but it'll be something she can look back on with fondness, because she had such a great time at her bridal shower (you awesome party planner, you).