So you’re planning your best friend’s shower, and you want it be be the best shower ever (OK, you’ll settle for one that’s fun and goes off without a hitch). Or you’re the bride-to-be, and even though you won’t be planning your own shower, it helps to have an idea of what to expect (especially if your maid-of-honor is show on the draw).
Read on for everything you need to know about bridal showers…
What Is It – Traditionally, a bridal shower is an opportunity for the bride’s close female friends and relatives to “shower” her with items she’ll need to make a new home and enter into marriage. In fact, bridal showers are really the only wedding related event explicitly centered on gift giving. Like many events and customs surrounding weddings, the rules for bridal showers have bended a bit. Guest lists often include male attendants, and gifts don’t necessarily have to consist of hand towels and kitchen appliances.
When Is It – Showers typically take place a few weeks or months before the wedding but can really occur any time that’s convenient for the group to gather. If the bride has a lot of long distance bridesmaids, they may choose to plan the shower and bachelorette party over the same day or weekend.
Who Hosts – The maid- or matron-of-honor traditionally plans and hosts the bridal shower, enlisting the help and input of the other bridesmaids. It’s typically viewed as impolite and self-serving for the bride’s close family members (mom and sis) to host the bridal shower, since it’s a gift giving event. The etiquette around this has relaxed somewhat, however, especially if the maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids live far away and are unable to host.
Who’s Invited – The guest list includes all the bridesmaids, bride’s mom, sister(s), and other family members, as well as the groom’s close female relatives. Other friends and even co-workers may attend. As couples showers are becoming more popular, spouses and the groom’s attendants are also joining in the fun. Really, the only rule pertaining to the shower guest list is that everyone invited to the shower must also receive a wedding invitation. (etiquette says: if they’re important enough to attend the shower – and bring a gift – then they’re important enough to attend the main event). The bride and shower hostess should consult before sending out the shower invites to make sure the guest lists match.
Where Is It – The style of the party will usually dictate the location, so the ‘maids can get creative with the shower venue. Here are some ideas: a tea room, a garden, a park, a backyard, a friend’s house, any restaurant or function space.
What Happens – Bridal Shower Games – Since bridal showers center on gift giving, the bride will usually open gifts surrounded by guests. One bridesmaid will keep track of who gave what to help her with thank-yous after the event. Another shower custom is the mock “bouquet,” which the bridesmaids will create out of the package ribbons and bows for the bride to carry down the aisle at the wedding rehearsal. Planned activities and games are a traditional shower staple, but don’t feel restricted to the typical “pin the tail on the groom” or “toilet paper wedding dress.” If you’re looking for something a little bit different, consult these ideas for bridal shower games Other requisite shower activities include – eating, laughing, and a little female bonding.
Ideas & Trends – Incorporating a theme can make planning a bridal shower easier and more fun. Remember, the bridal shower doesn’t necessarily have to be a girly tea party. If the bride isn’t that type of girl, there are tons of options for themes based on her interests, whatever they may be – reading, gardening, outdoor activities, volunteerism, you name it.
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