A bridal shower is an intimate celebration for a future bride and her loved ones before she’s married. Typically, a woman who’s close to the bride will plan and organize the shower – it may be someone who’s in the wedding party such as the maid of honor or a bridesmaid. At the bridal shower, guests will eat food, play games, and offer gifts to the bride. During the planning process, the host or bride might also prepare bridal shower favors for the guests to take home.
What is a Bridal Shower?
These days, many couples might choose to throw a wedding shower where all friends and family can come celebrate the marriage. In contrast, a bridal shower is just for the bride and her friends. Traditionally, a bridal shower would only include women. The guests at a bridal shower would all be invited to the wedding and include close friends, family, and some of the groom’s female relatives as well. Usually, there is no equivalent of a bridal shower for the groom, which is why a wedding shower is another option for the couple to celebrate together.
Bridal Shower Etiquette
Traditional bridal shower etiquette includes different customs for the bride, the host, and the guests. For the host, it’s typical to plan the bridal shower about six months before the wedding. At times, different close friends or family members might want to throw different showers. It’s common to have multiple bridal showers, but the hosts need to communicate and make sure they aren’t planned too close to one another.
For hosting, it’s usually the maid of honor or a group of bridesmaids who throw the shower together. In terms of etiquette, the group of women would split the cost. Since bridal showers are usually more intimate and casual get-togethers, one of the hosts would usually have it at their home or plan to go out for brunch or dinner. The hosts should plan to send out bridal shower invitations at least a month in advance to make sure all the guests have enough time to prepare. The guest list would include the bride’s closest family and friends, and it isn’t proper etiquette to invite anyone who isn’t also invited to the wedding. Though bridal showers are focused on the bride and her friends, it’s common for the groom to be there as well or make an appearance. With the groom there as well, it could be a great time to take photos for a future wedding photo book.
For the guests, it’s typical to bring a gift for the bride. One other piece of bridal shower etiquette is including the couple’s wedding registry on the bridal shower invitation. That way, the guests can easily choose a bridal shower gift and a wedding gift from the same list. Though not necessary, the host or bride may also wish to send the guests home with bridal shower favors, which would be small gifts everyone can enjoy. After the shower, the bride may also wish to purchase a simple gift for the host or hostesses or a thank you card to show her appreciation.
Bridal Shower Ideas and Activities
When planning a bridal shower, the host or hostesses will typically coordinate with the bride, though they’ll still be responsible for the planning and organization. To make it easier, the hosts might choose from different bridal shower themes to make everything look cohesive. With a theme, everything from the bridal shower invitations to the decor and games will be easier to choose. Some common bridal shower themes include:
- Garden party
- Bohemian chic
- Traditional tea party
- Retro glamour
- Relaxing spa day
As part of the planning, the host will include bridal shower games that everyone can play throughout the party. If there’s a theme, the games might apply to that theme. The games might be card games or trivia games that the guests can play while they’re eating or afterward. Depending on when the bridal shower is, the bridal shower food might be simple appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, or full meals.
Bridal Shower Gifts and Cards
If you’re attending a bridal shower and there isn’t a registry, you can always bring a personalized gift from Shutterfly. If you’re close to the bride, you probably have many photos of her or the two of you together that you can use. Consider the following bridal shower gift ideas:
- Mounted wall art with a photo of the bride or the couple
- Engraved jewelry with the bride’s new name if she’s taking on the groom’s last name
- Cotton tote bag with photos of the bride and her friends
- Custom ornament with a photo of the couple to be
Along with gifts, the guests should bring bridal shower cards with a loving message. If you’re a guest and struggling with what to write in a bridal shower card, you can simply offer your congratulations and include a loving quote. You can also share a funny anecdote or memory that you have with the bride or groom.