Bridal showers are a cherished tradition, offering an opportunity for friends and family to come together and celebrate the bride-to-be. While some may be for 10 people over tea, other showers may be for 100 over Champagne…however regardless of how simple or extravagant a celebration, here are ten tips to help you navigate hosting and attending any bridal shower:
- Hostess with the Mostest: Traditionally, the bridal shower is hosted by the maid of honor, bridesmaids, or close friends and family members. However, any trusted individual or group eager to celebrate the bride’s upcoming nuptials can take on the role of hostess with enthusiasm and creativity. A bride would not traditionally host a celebration for herself, and instead let those around “shower” her with love.
- One Shower for Many Memories: While it’s most common to have one bridal shower, multiple showers may occur if the bride has different social circles or family branches eager to honor her. Ask the bride before planning more than one, as she may feel strongly that one (or more!) is most appropriate.
- Guest List Etiquette: The guest list typically includes close friends, family members, and other loved ones of the bride. While it’s courteous to consult with the bride regarding her preferences, surprises can also add an element of excitement to the occasion. Be mindful of the bride’s comfort and ensure that the guest list reflects her social circle and relationships.
- Couple Showers: In recent years, couples’ showers have gained popularity as a way to include both partners in the celebration. While bridal showers traditionally focus on the bride, couples’ showers provide an opportunity for the partner to participate in the festivities and share in the joy of the occasion.
- How many invites?: When determining the number of guests to invite, consider the size of the venue, budget constraints, and the bride’s preferences (key!!). A smaller, intimate gathering may allow for meaningful connections and conversations, while a larger event may accommodate a broader circle of friends and family.
- Gift-Giving Guidelines: If you attend multiple bridal showers hosted by different groups, it’s customary to bring a gift to each event. While it may seem redundant, each gathering offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the bride and shower her with love, support, and well wishes.
- Registry Respect: While gifts are a traditional part of bridal showers, guests should feel free to choose a present that reflects their relationship with the bride and their budget. Encourage guests to consult the bride’s/couple’s registry for gift ideas, ensuring that your gift will align with the couple’s tastes and preferences.
- Keeping Guests Entertained: Bridal showers often feature games and activities designed to entertain guests and create lasting memories. From traditional favorites like “Bridal Bingo” to personalized quizzes and DIY crafts, tailor the festivities to suit the bride’s personality and interests. Some brides may wish for / opt out of any or all games and request a “simple social”, or gathering without planned events within it.
- Time and Location: Traditionally, the bridal shower should not be too close to the wedding, as she will have her hands full leading up to the big day. It’s most common to throw a bridal shower one to five months before the wedding day. Consider the bride’s schedule and preferences when selecting the date, time, and location of the bridal shower. Whether it’s an elegant brunch at a local bistro or a cozy gathering at a friend’s home, choose a venue that sets the tone for a relaxed and enjoyable celebration.
- Thank you Cards: Express gratitude to the hostess and guests for their generosity and support with heartfelt thank-you notes following the bridal shower. Whether handwritten or digital, a sincere message of appreciation expresses your love shared among all who attended. Be sure to ask the bride ahead if she wishes to open gifts there in front of guests or at home. PRO TIP: Whoever hosts the shower should be in charge of writing down the gifts and who they are from to help the bride when she writes thank you letters.
By following these etiquette tips, you’ll ensure that the bridal shower is a cherished and memorable occasion, filled with love (and hopefully cake)! Just remember that while some surprises are usually welcome, sometimes it’s best to consult the bride on her vision on a few specific things like guest lists and timings. Oh, and remember that the color white is reserved for the bride-to-be on both her wedding day AND her shower! Cheers!