A bridal shower is a time to celebrate with the bride-to-be. Whether you are the bride or someone who will potentially host or attend a bridal shower, you probably have a lot of questions. There is a whole list of bridal shower "do's and "don'ts," but here will covered the most common etiquette questions for the bride, the host and the guests.
Bridal Shower FAQs
Who hosts a bridal shower?
Traditionally, a bridal shower is hosted by the Maid of Honor. Nowadays, it is common for a close friend, bridesmaid, or even the bride’s family (mother, sister, mother-in-law or other female relative) to host the wedding shower.
When do you throw a bridal shower?
Typically, you would host the shower a few weeks to a couple of months before the wedding. If the bride is having a bachelorette party, it may be a good idea to leave some space between events so that the bride and her friends and family don't get burned out.
Is it okay to have more than one shower?
Of course! Many brides have multiple showers for different groups. For example, one may be specifically for family and close friends, while another may be just for casual friends from work or school.
Whatever the case, the hosts of the different showers should have some contact with one another to make sure that they aren’t inviting the same guests or encroaching on the same ideas/themes/activities. If a person is invited to more than one shower, make sure they know that they are welcome to, but not expected to, attend both.
How many guests should be invited?
This should be a collaborative decision between the host and the bride. Since the host is planning and providing food and drink for the party, it is advised that guest size is agreed upon before the planning process starts. The host may have a modest budget, so be sure to communicate expectations early on (if there are any).
Is it appropriate to invite men to a bridal shower?
A bridal shower doesn’t have to fit any single mold. Many couples choose to have co-ed showers to honor both the bride and groom at the same time.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Bride
Can I get involved in the planning?
Yes and no. You will want to take a step back and let the host make the arrangements, but at the same time, you want to communicate your expectations. Just remember that this is a party thrown for you. Even if it isn’t exactly what you want or what you would do, it is the effort and thought that count. Just sit back and enjoy it as much as possible.
This is my second wedding, can I have a bridal shower?
Of course! This old tradition has gone by the wayside.
What is expected of me at the shower?
Nothing! Just show up and be your charming self. Do make sure to bring a car to carry gifts home. Or you can arrange for someone to come by at the end of the shower (perhaps your fiancé) and help you bring the presents home.
Do I need to send out thank you cards?
Yes. It is important to send out a thank you card to each guest that attended. If several people pooled together to get you one gift, a card should be sent to each guest individually thanking them for that gift. The thank you cards should be mailed within a couple weeks of the shower.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Host
Is the host expected to cover all bridal shower costs?
Yes. The host is responsible for the costs associated with the bridal shower. The bride should not be paying for her own shower.
When do I send the invitations?
You will want to give your guests as much notice as you can. Mail your invitations out at least one month in advance.
Who do I invite?
The most important rule of thumb is that all guests that are invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. It would be very awkward to invite someone to a shower if they are not on the guest list for the wedding.
There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.
Since the bride may not be able to invite all of her colleagues to the wedding reception, it is common to have a "work shower." If you are hosting a work shower, and depending how large your company is, you should either keep the invitation list open to all the women in the company (for a small company) or her immediate team (if she works at a large corporation).
Another exception is if the bride is having a private destination wedding with only immediate family attending. The bride will more than likely still want to invite her closest friends to celebrate with her before or after the elopement. In that case, speak with the bride and create a guest list for the event.
What type of invitation should I send?
The invitation for the bridal shower does not have to be fancy, but as with the wedding invitation, it should be sent through the postal service. An email to let people know to save the date is perfectly appropriate, but a hard copy of an invitation should follow.
What should be included in the invitation?
The invitation should list who is hosting the shower, the location of the shower, where the bride is registered, and any other specific details about the event that the guest should know. If there is a theme, or type of gift expected, you should indicate this in the invitation. The RSVPs should come back to the host, not the bride.
What if I need assistance with the shower?
A bridal shower is a lot of work. Gather a few close friends of the bride to help with planning and to help on the day of the event.
There are a few important roles that should be assigned to helpers. The most important of these is the greeter. The greeter will be there to welcome guests when they arrive. They will introduce the guests to the host(s), show them where to place gifts, store their purse or coats, and point them to the food and beverages. It is important that the greeter know many of the attendees so that they can make those who do not know anyone feel welcome and comfortable.
The greeter can also be asked to write down the list of the gifts given by each guest. This should be passed along to the bride for her thank you cards.
Other helpers should also be assigned to assist with loading up the bride’s car with her gifts after the shower.
Do I need to have games?
No. Games are not required, but if you do choose to have a couple of games, they can be great icebreakers. Small prizes are typically given out to the winners, so be sure to have those ready to go. If the game could end in a tie, be prepared to have tiebreaking questions or multiple gifts for the winners.
Do I need to give a gift to the bride?
Yes. Even a small gift would be appreciated. The bride knows how much you’ve already contributed for the shower, so just a small gift is sufficient.
What if I cannot host the party at my home?
If you are not able to accommodate a party at home, you have two options. You could team up with someone else who has a large enough home or you could host the event at a community center or other casual, budget-friendly event space.
If you have the budget for a big celebration, a private estate venue could be a possibility. Here are some amazing bridal shower venue locations for you to choose from.
Be sure to check out our guide for themes, tips and ideas for your bridal shower.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Guest
Do I need to bring a gift?
Yes. It is expected that you bring a gift to the bridal shower. If you are a part of the wedding party, you may be invited to multiple showers. In this case, you are not expected to bring a gift to every shower.
If the invitation lists a registry option, you can select your gift from the choices the bride has created. However, this is optional. It is also perfectly acceptable to choose something that is not on the registry.
If money is an issue, there are other gift options. Something as simple as a card or bottle of wine is acceptable. All in all, this day should not be materialistic. The bride should be focused on having her closest friends and family with her to celebrate.
Do you have any unanswered questions that you would like to ask the Venuelust community? Join the discussion in the comments below.