Bridal Showers: Bridal Shower Etiquette

Bridal Shower Etiquette
Plan a perfect party for the bride

All you need to know about bridal shower etiquette.

What is a Bridal Shower?

bridal shower etiquette

  • A bridal shower is a party held for the purpose of giving gifts to a bride before her wedding.

  • The wedding shower is usually organised by the bridesmaids or more specifically the maid of honor although it is also common for immediate relatives of the bride or her closest friends to arrange the bridal shower.

  • The custom emerged from dowry practices in cases where the woman's family did not have enough money to provide the basic homewares for married life. Friends of the bride would club together to offer what they could and have a party to celebrate the forthcoming wedding at the same time.

  • Today, the bridal shower is a custom primarily seen in the US and Canada and should not be confused with a Bachelorette party, otherwise known as a hen party or hen night in the UK, Australia and other parts of Europe.

  • The shower is normally held 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding.

Bridal Shower Customs
Tips on Bridal Shower Etiquette

There are many different customs amongst varying social groups but the basic format of a bridal shower is for the maid of honor to invite female friends and relatives of the bride to a party so that they may "shower" or give gifts to the bride and groom to help set them up in their new life.

In some communities, the wedding shower is a more spontaneous affair with guests turning up during an all day bridal shower. In most cases, however, the party is planned carefully to include fun party games as well as offering good advice to the bride on what will be expected of her when she gets married.

A wide range of ages will be seen at a bride's shower party with older relatives in particular expected to pass on their experience.

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

Every guest attending the bridal shower is expected to bring a gift. Hopefully, the bride will have a wedding list or bridal registry held at a local store. If not, tell her to get one!

Whilst some brides don't make a wedding list as they don't want to appear greedy, without one, guests have no idea what to get and it will be a complete pain in the butt having to return 15 toasters after the wedding!

The biggest question most shower guests will ask is how much do I spend? There is no right answer but aim to buy something that is not too flashy or too cheap.

Many people on a tight budget may find it difficult to buy something off a list, especially if most of the cheaper items are already gone. In that case, try to club together with other guests to buy a bigger item. Everyone gets to sign the card and the bride will not know how much each person spent individually.

It is perfectly ok in terms of bridal shower etiquette to ignore the bridal registry and either make or buy something related to items on the list. For example, if the bride has asked for a Chinese wok set, maybe get some Chinese bowls or sets of Chinese mats and chopsticks to go with it.

Homemade bridal shower gifts will always be appreciated and one budget way of offering a big gift without a high price tag is to put together a "starter home box" with some key essentials that the bride may already have but another is always appreciated.

Wooden spoons, paper plates, pencils and notepad, bin liners are all good examples, just use your imagination then wrap the whole lot up in a big cardboard box and attach a big ribbon.

Give your guests a thank your gift at your bridal shower

bridal shower thank you gifts

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