A bridal shower is a pre-wedding ritual where all the close friends, family, and relatives of the bride-to-be come together for a party with the bride as the guest of honor. The bridal shower etiquettes say that it is an only-ladies party and everyone is expected to bring gifts along with them in order to help the bride prepare for her married life. These showers are getting very popular these days and are generally held a couple of months to a couple of weeks before the wedding takes place. It is also common for a bride to have more than one shower and mostly the bridesmaids are typically invited to attend all of the showers.
It is actually an age-old tradition where the brides and families who could not afford dowries were given gifts by their relatives and friends, so she can have enough household items and cash to set-up her marital home. But these days’ bridal showers are more focused only on celebrating the upcoming major event of the bride.
Not only do bridal showers help the bride and groom with the basics that they need for the new marital household but also these showers are a great way of celebrating the couple and their loving friends and family to meet and mingle with the bride a few days before her big day. No doubt bridal showers are a wonderful tradition and an amazing way to celebrate the wedding, but modern applications to this celebration have raised a lot of questions about the traditional bridal shower etiquettes and on how to go about hosting the bridal shower.
In this article, we are going to help you with all the important things you need to know for arranging a rocking and memorable bridal shower. Here are all the bridal shower etiquettes you always wanted to know:
- 1 Who hosts the bridal shower?
- 2 Venue for Bridal shower
- 3 When Do You Have a Bridal Shower
- 4 Who Is Invited to a Bridal Shower
- 5 Bridal Shower Invitations
- 7 Bridal Shower Food and Drinks
- 8 Bridal Shower Games
- 9 Bridal Shower Themes
- 10 Bridal Shower Gifts
- 11 Bridal Shower Gift Opening
- 12 Gift for Hostess
- 13 Jack and Jill Shower
- 14 How Much to Spend
- 15 What to Buy for Bridal Shower
- 16 Traditions
- 17 Packing
- 18 What If You Are Not Attending the Shower?
- 19 Does the Hostess Have to Get a Gift?
- 20 Thank You Notes for the Guests
- 21 A Gift to the Hostess
Who hosts the bridal shower?
According to a tradition, the bridal shower should not be thrown by the immediate relatives of the bride such as the mother, sister, mother in law or any close relative. The main reason behind this is that a bridal shower is usually hosted to give gifts to the bride and if the family itself hosts the shower, it may seem as if her family is asking for gifts. So according to the bridal shower etiquettes, usually the maids of honor, the bridesmaids, friends, cousins or co-workers host the party or share the responsibilities. Sometimes if an individual is not able to do it, several of the bride’s friends or relatives come up together and host the shower sharing all the expenses as well as organizing work together. But these days this trend is also changing and it’s perfectly alright if a family member hosts a shower for the bride. However, it is still considered better for them to get the maids of honor along throughout the planning process and the shower. Also, the tradition of the groom showing up with a bouquet of flowers just before the bride is about to open the gifts is in trend these days. It is a nice way of including the groom in your celebrations.
Venue for Bridal shower
The venue for bridal shower totally depends on the host’s budget and the type of shower that you are planning. It can be held at a friend’s place, a family member’s place, at any backyard, farm house, a local restaurant, country club, banquet hall or even at a church. If you want to make it more specific you can instead plan an activity oriented shower like a paint party, calligraphy lesson, day at a spa, bowling alleys, horse racing track, at a park, museum or any place your bride would be interested in. You can choose any location you prefer to host the bridal shower but be sure that all of the guests will be comfortable with the spot.
When Do You Have a Bridal Shower
The answer for when do you have a bridal shower is approximately 2-8 weeks before the wedding. This is because the bride will still have plenty of time to celebrate and will not be preoccupied with the wedding. You can choose the date that will be convenient for both the bride and also the guests. Also, make sure that the date doesn’t coincide with other preparations or celebrations of the wedding, especially if you are planning the bridal shower as a surprise party for the bride.
Who Is Invited to a Bridal Shower
Guests bringing gifts is a very important etiquette of the bridal shower. And since it is already understood that guests are expected to get a present for the shower, it is always better to invite only the nearest and dearest ones. Every guest who is invited to bridal a shower must already be on the wedding guest list. While it is not necessary for all the guests on the wedding list to be present on the bridal shower, it is inappropriate to invite people to the shower who are not included in the wedding guest list.
Since it is an only female get together you can send invitations to all the close female friends, family and colleagues. If you are planning on hosting more than one bridal shower, you could invite only the family members to one, friends to the other and colleagues another one. If there is only one bridal shower going to be held, you can invite everyone together at once. It is not necessary to invite every female guest who is on the wedding list to the bridal shower. Who is invited to a bridal shower is totally dependent on the number of guests you are inviting and their closeness with the bride.
You can invite all of the bride’s work colleagues to the shower, as it is difficult to invite all of them to the wedding. But the most important guests for the bridal shower are the mothers and sisters of both the bride and the groom and they must always be invited to all of the bridal showers to take part not only in the party as well as the organization of the bridal shower.
Bridal Shower Invitations
Bridal shower invitations set the tone for the bridal shower and it’s important to establish the theme and mood for the party. There are endless options to choose from for the invitations, it can either be sweet and simple letterpress or a high-end couture. You can choose whatever suits your budget best. You could also make a creative e-card and send across as an email invitation. Ideal Bridal Shower Invitation Etiquette is to make sure you send the bridal shower invitations to all the guests at least 2 weeks before the shower date.
Although it is recommended and appreciated to include the registry information, color preference and theme of what kind of gifts are to be brought to the shower but it is always better not to include the registry information directly on the invitation but to insert a separate card for it.
Bridal Shower Food and Drinks
Another important etiquette of a bridal shower is that the host provides guests with food and drinks. The kind of bridal shower foods that is served totally depends on the time of the day, the theme of the shower and the venue. While it is entirely up to the bride and the host of the bridal shower what they like to serve their guests but popular bridal shower food styles that are served include sandwiches, wraps, pies, salads, soups etc., in savoury; tarts, cupcakes, muffins, biscuits, cakes, fruits, pastries etc., in sweets; and since it is a celebration, alcohol can also be served and drinks such as cocktails, mocktails, champagne etc., are a very popular choice of drinks along with cold drinks, juice, tea, and coffee. You can also arrange for food depending on various factors, hire a food truck or even include novelty food items.
Bridal Shower Games
While the traditional bridal shower was only reserved for gift giving, another modern addition to bridal showers these days are games. In the bridal shower, people from many different groups and circles will be invited; from the bride’s childhood friends to her colleagues, from her neighbors to the groom’s relatives, from the bride’s aunt’s to her mom’s friends, everyone will be invited. In such a situation where most of the people do not know each other, bridal shower games can help a lot in starting up a conversation and are a great way to breaking the ice. Games could be fun and help people talk about themselves and interact with each other. You can pre-plan a list of games that can be played by discussing it with the bride and other people who are helping you in hosting the bridal shower. Different kinds of bridal shower games can be played depending on the theme and venue of the shower. However, if you or the bride decides not to host any game, you can just ask your friends or the bridesmaids to make an effort for drawing everyone into a conversation or keeping them busy and making the evening enjoyable for them.
Bridal Shower Themes
Adding a theme to the bridal shower adds an extra charm to the celebration and can be a fun way of tailoring gifts for the couple. You can set any bridal shower theme that the bride-to-be prefers depending upon the personal interest of the bride like the kitchen, lingerie, house-ware, bath, travel, decoration etc. Suppose the bride is going to travel after marriage, you can consider having travel as bridal shower theme in which every gift that the guests bring should be able to fit in a box so that it can also fit into the luggage of the bride easily. You can also choose to gift her kitchen items that would last longer and help her in daily chores. You can choose to gift her any decoration piece that she can use to decorate her house like lamps, wall hangings, handicraft items or other showpieces. If it is a small and intimate shower where only close friends are invited, you could also set a lingerie theme where each one of you would gift her some kinky stuff.
Along with gift themes, you can also add themes to the dress-code, food, place and totally throw a themed bridal shower.
Bridal Shower Gifts
The bride is supposed to make a gift registry to provide the guests with a list of suggestions that she would like to receive as bridal shower gifts. Before sending the invitations, the register for bridal shower gifts should already be prepared so you can give a hint to all the guests about what to get as presents. While it is not necessary but it is often appreciated and welcomed by the recipients to know what gifts to buy for the party. You can just give a small hint in the invitation card at the end after all the other relevant details have been mentioned. But if the bride has not created a gift registry, you can leave it up to the guests to bring whatever they like. However, a registry list is only a suggestion and the choice of bridal shower gifts that the guests want to bring is always up to them.
If you are planning on having more than one bridal shower, the same guests should not be invited to every shower, but if you wish to invite them they are not required to bring a gift to every shower they attend.
Bridal Shower Gift Opening
Gift opening is the highlight of the event and is done in the presence of all the guests. The perfect time for bridal shower gift opening is when the lunch/dinner is finished and dessert is being served or has already been served. Mostly the end of the bridal shower is the perfect time for opening the gifts according to etiquettes. Although the bride is supposed to open all the gifts, you can ask someone to sit close to her and assist her in unwrapping the gifts and clearing the mess once the gift unwrapped. Additionally, someone should be present next to the bride in order to record all the gifts and make a list of the giver’s name next to it so the bride can write a personalized thank you note to each one of them. Also, the bride creates a lovely bouquet out of all the ribbons and bows attached to the gifts presented while she opens them one by one. You could also plan some bridal shower gift opening games if you or the bride like it.
It is very important for the bride to unwrap the gifts very gracefully since it will be done in the presence of the guests. The gift opening process should be carried out very smoothly and gracefully, keeping in mind the love, time and effort that the guests have put in, in presenting the gift. Finally, the bride-to-be must leave all the guests a lovely thank you note.
Gift for Hostess
Buying a gift for hostess is another nice etiquette of the bridal shower. Throwing a bridal shower is considered as a very generous act on the part of the hosts as it takes a lot of time, money and efforts. Hence, it is always recommended for the bride-to-be to present a lovely gift for hostess along with a warm thank you note.
Jack and Jill Shower
Couple’s shower is also getting very popular these days and is usually called as the Jack and Jill shower. Here a shower for the would-be bride as well as the groom is organized together. However, this is only a recent trend and not everybody follows it. Although the tradition about bridal showers is that it is only an all women affair and the bridal shower etiquettes suggest an only ladies gathering, these days brides are choosing to include their grooms, his friends, and family as well in the celebrations. This can also be a good idea as it gives a chance for all of the groom’s circle of friends and relatives to get into the fun. This way the groom and his friends can lend themselves to some creative themes of celebrating the occasion.
In case you want to do a couple’s shower, you can select an amazingly good theme for it after consulting the bride and groom of how they want it to be. You can also go for hosting a great outdoor shower as a couple’s shower.
So, these were a few etiquettes that should be followed while hosting a bridal shower. You can never go wrong if you follow all the above mentioned bridal shower etiquettes.
Now, let’s move on to the guests and see what bridal shower gift etiquette they got to follow while getting a gift for a bride-to-be. Here are some bridal shower gift etiquette and gift giving tips to all the guests.
If you are a guest at a bridal shower, it is customary for you to get a gift to the bride-to-be and congratulate her on the marriage. The main event at the bridal shower is the opening of gifts and so you will obviously want yours to be memorable or at least presentable. Here are a few factors that you can consider while choosing the perfect bridal shower gift.
How Much to Spend
No matter what the occasion is, choose to gift only what you can afford. Your relationship with the bride and also your financial situation are the main factors that will help you decide what gift you should be giving. While as for the bridal shower gifts, $25 to $75 is an acceptable price range for getting a gift. You could also choose to give the bride-to-be a homemade gift or a piece of craft made by yourself.
What to Buy for Bridal Shower
The invitation that you receive for the bridal shower should already give you a hint about what to buy for bridal shower and the kind of gifts that are requested by the bride. If a themed bridal shower is being hosted, the invitation will tell you about what to buy for bridal shower by mentioning specific gift categories or preference of colors that are expected. But it is only a suggestion and not a demand. Always feel free to go against the grain and gift what you want to. A bridal shower registry often helps you in knowing what to buy for bridal shower, but if the bride has not made a bridal shower registry, you can buy something for her from her wedding registry. Buying from the registry helps you know that you are buying something that the bride wants and will be useful for her.
You can buy anything like a coffee maker, barware, a piece of lingerie, some fashion accessory, decorative chopsticks with rice bowls, luxurious linen napkin rings of etc. You could also team up with other guests who are invited to the shower and plan something big like a snorkeling gear, a visit to a spa, a big household item, a pair of ballet tickets etc. You can also choose to get some personalized gifts like custom wine glasses, personalized cutting board, heartfelt love quote, customize something with the bride-to-be’s initial, his and her mugs etc.
One thing to remember is that cash and gift cards do not make a good gift for the bridal shower. Although cash gifts are acceptable but it is not the best choice to bring a cash gift, especially for a bridal shower. Since the bride will be opening all the gifts presented to her in everyone’s presence, it’s nice if she has something good from you to open.
There are a few traditions and superstitions regarding the bridal shower gifts like it is considered as good luck if the bride uses the first gift that she opens first. Also, the third gift that the bride opens is next in the line to get pregnant. These are age-old superstitions that were believed by people.
Another bridal shower tradition goes like the maids of honor gathers all the ribbons from the unwrapped gift covers and creates a ribbon bouquet out of it, which the bride is supposed to carry with her down the aisle at the wedding rehearsal.
It always feels good to receive a beautifully wrapped gift. You can either choose to wait in the long line of the gift wrapping section or you can do it yourself with utmost care and love. Select a nice decorative box with a stylish design and choose some warm colors to wrap the gift. In case you know the favorite colors of the bride, select the wrapper accordingly and use a fine ribbon to go with it. You can also add some faux flowers as accents and include a card with your last name on it. This will help the maids of honor or the bridesmaid in tracking all of the bridal shower gifts properly.
What If You Are Not Attending the Shower?
It is a proper etiquette to send across a gift to the bride-to-be even if you are not attending the bridal shower. If you are not able to send a gift, you should at least send a handwritten note congratulating the bride-to-be for her upcoming date as a nice gesture.
Does the Hostess Have to Get a Gift?
Like everyone else, it is customary for the hostess as well to get a gift for the bride-to-be. But you can choose to give her something small but nice from your side since you are already hosting the shower for her. Alternatively, you can also coordinate with a few other guests in buying her a major gift. It all depends on your financial status and how the shower is setting you financially.
So these were a few suggestions and proper etiquettes of bridal shower gift giving for all the guests attending the shower.
Finally, coming to the bride, there are a few bridal shower etiquettes that should be followed by the bride-to-be as well. Since the host puts in so much efforts to host a bridal shower for her and all the guests also put in efforts in getting her nice gift and attending the shower. It is a good etiquette if the bride-to-be thanks them back in a nice way. Let’s see how she can do it.
Thank You Notes for the Guests
The bride-to-be should always send back heartfelt thank you notes to all the guests that were present in the bridal shower and got her gifts as a token of appreciation and gratitude. It is a good bridal shower etiquette to do so. These notes should be personalized and handwritten with a short note about how much you liked the gift and how you plan to use it.
A Gift to the Hostess
It is a nice gesture to give a lovely thank you gift to the host of the bridal shower. Since a lot of planning, work, time and effort goes in into organizing the bridal shower, it is nice on the bride’s part to show her gratitude and appreciation for the amazing bridal shower hosted by the hostess. As a bridal shower etiquette, you can give her a heartfelt gift along with a lovely hand written thank you note. The gift can be anything small like flowers, a box of candy, a dinner or lunch date at a nice restaurant, a visit to a spa or just anything that your hostess might like.
This was a complete guide to all of the bridal shower etiquettes that you always wanted to know. The etiquettes for the hostess, the guests, and also the bride-to-be. So the next time you have to host a bridal shower or attend it or even if you are the bride yourself, you know what exactly to do and what not to do.