Last Updated: May 3, 2017
Despite the interchangeable use of “wedding shower” and “bridal shower” in modern times, wedding showers are traditionally different than bridal showers. Wedding showers are usually co-ed and include a guest list of both men and women apart of the couple’s circle. Bridal showers are centered around the bride whereas wedding showers focus on the couple. As a result, your go-to rules for bridal shower etiquette won’t fully apply to your wedding shower plans. Learn some of the do’s and don’ts for wedding showers below before you start planning this special day.
If you have a specific question about wedding shower etiquette, skip to a specific section below to find your answer:
- Who to Invite to a Wedding Shower?
- When to Host a Wedding Shower?
- When to Send Wedding Shower Invitations?
- Who Host a Wedding Shower?
- Where to Host a Wedding Shower?
- Wedding Shower Gift Etiquette
Who to Invite to a Wedding Shower?
When it comes to creating your guest list, you should invite your bridal party, groom party, family, and friends to your wedding shower. As opposed to your bridal shower, your wedding shower guest list should include your fiance, along with male friends and family members. Guests who are being invited to your wedding shower should’ve received an official wedding invitation prior to the wedding shower invitation.
When to Host a Wedding Shower?
You should host your wedding shower four to five weeks before your wedding date. This is the best time frame to have your shower, as you’ll want to save the last two to three weeks for last minute details and to-dos. Avoid hosting your wedding shower down to the wire, since you’ll be focused on other wedding specifics like planning your rehearsal dinner, meeting with your wedding photographer, and writing your wedding vows.
When to Send Wedding Shower Invitations?
Wedding shower invitations should be sent out two weeks before your wedding shower date so guests have enough time to RSVP. Be sure to include important details on your wedding shower invitations, such as the date, location, time, and the contact information for the host/hostess so the guests can RSVP with the appropriate person. You’ll also want to list where the happy couple is registered at to ensure that guests are well-informed, although, each guest on your wedding shower list should’ve received a wedding invitation beforehand, as your wedding invitations will also include your wedding registry information.
As far as invitation designs, you can still customize a bridal shower invitation to reflect your wedding shower. Most wedding shower invitations are also known as “couple shower” invitations or “His and Hers” shower invitations, to reflect the both of you.
Who Host a Wedding Shower?
A close friend or family member can host your wedding shower. Whether it’s a surprise wedding shower or you personally ask a friend to host, avoid hosting the shower yourself since you’ll be busy with other wedding tasks.
Where to Host a Wedding Shower?
When it comes to location, consider hosting your wedding shower at your home, at a restaurant, or at another family member or friend’s house. If you’ve already had a bridal shower, you’ll especially want to choose a casual venue or host at home for the wedding shower to save time, energy, and money.
Wedding Shower Gift Etiquette
Since wedding showers aren’t as common as bridal showers, your wedding party, family, and friends will probably ask you about proper gift etiquette. There are a few ways to approach wedding shower gift rules based on the following contexts:
If you’ve already had a bridal shower:
If you’ve already had a bridal shower but plan on having a wedding shower, inform guests that they should bring their actual wedding gifts to the wedding shower instead of buying a separate gift for the shower. Since the shower is only four weeks away from the wedding date, it is completely acceptable for wedding day gifts to be given at this event. This is standard and often easiest for the couple as it’s more time-consuming to transport gifts (besides cash) day-of the wedding. This is why your wedding shower guest list should only consist of people who have been invited to your big day, so guests can choose gifts from your registry in advance.
Don’t forget to remind your bridal party that they’re not required to buy another gift for the wedding shower. Members of the bridal party can bring their wedding gift to the wedding shower as well, keeping their gift total at two (a bridal shower gift and a wedding gift).
If you didn’t have a bridal shower and your wedding shower acts as a couple’s shower:
If you’re opting out of a traditional bridal shower and want your wedding shower to take its place completely, you can have guests bring shower gifts for the couple and then send their wedding gifts as normal. Since this is a co-ed shower, you’ll want to plan out shower games and activities that everyone can enjoy.
If you didn’t have a bridal shower and don’t want separate shower gifts:
If you didn’t have a bridal shower and don’t want any shower gifts at all, your guests can bring their wedding gifts to the wedding shower. You can reference our easy guide on wedding gift etiquette to learn more about what to expect when it comes to wedding gifts.
When it comes to showing gratitude, don’t forget to send shower thank you cards if you received shower gifts, along with wedding thank you cards after your big day for any wedding gifts you received.
Wedding showers can be common or uncommon depending on where you’re from. If this is your first time learning about the difference between a wedding shower and a bridal shower, remember that this is a special occasion that brings together all of your family and friends at once, before you tie the knot. You can experience a tremendous amount of love and support with a wedding shower, making your big day preparation more exciting than you imagined.