Bridal Shower Etiquette Tips

by marciag

Organize a fabulous party and avoid mistakes with these bridal shower etiquette tips for this special occasion.

A bridal shower is a special event in the life of a bride to be, and having gone through it (twice) already, I know some of the mistakes and etiquette blunders to avoid and what to focus on to make a great party exceptional.

The party should be fun, but also special, where gift giving is a main activity, but it's not the only one - at least it should not be the only reason for holding the party. Having said that, let's get started.

If you have a few tips of your own, leave them in the Comments section below.

Image credits: Creative Commons Flickr

Who Is Invited To The Bridal Shower Party?

A rule of thumb and a main point of bridal shower party etiquette is that only wedding guests should be invited to the bridal shower, so they should already be on the wedding guest list. People who are not attending the wedding should not attend the party either. This is a big source of etiquette breach if you do it the wrong way.

Of course, this doesn't mean that all female guests attending the wedding will have to be invited to the bridal shower.

Most commonly invited guests are close female relatives of the bride (and sometimes of the groom), the bride's close friends and very close co-workers.

When some close friends  live in other states or far away places, do not invite them to the party, but make sure to invite them to the wedding. The main reason is because first of all, most probably they won't be able to attend your party anyway, due to the distance. Second, a bridal shower party invitation literally binds them to sending you a gift. This means that they'll send you two gifts: one for the party and one for the wedding, while attending only one of the events. It's not really fair for them now, is it?

Who will be invited will also depend on the location and space available. If you do have the place, inviting 20-25 people is a good number to start from.

A final tip here: do not send out the invitations the last minute. Invites to the party should be sent out at least one month to 6 weeks in advance to give time to the guests to prepare and organize their time so that they can make it to the bridal shower.

Have You Ever Hosted A Bridal Shower Party?

Who Should Host The Bridal Shower?

Some people stick to an older rule that says that moms should not host the party because they will do it mostly based on what they want and not based on what the bride to be wants (and will try to get the most expensive gifts for her daughter as well). Traditionally it has been said that it is rude for the family to host it simply because it looks like they are asking for gifts.

However these days this is no longer such a strict rule. Today pretty much anyone can host the bridal shower, although in most cases the maid of honor with the help of the bridesmaids will host it.

One of the mishaps some couples do is to host their own party. This is another one of those no-no cases in the bridal shower etiquette.

When it comes to paying for organizing the party, usually the maid of honor will chip in along with the bridesmaids. In some places I've also seen the bride's family paying for it, so again, it's not a general rule, but more of an etiquette guideline.

A Fun Video Of A Lovely Bridal Shower Party

Great for getting ideas for your own

Before Hosting The Party Always Consult The Bride

This is again something that many hosts forget to do: to consult the bride before hosting the party. There is some important information that you need to get from the bride, such as when is the best time to hold the party, what types of gifts she would like and especially what should be the main theme of the event.

In addition you need to ask her what type of bridal shower she wants: a lunch at a country club, a party at her mom's house, an office party or a gathering at a friend's house.

Also the bride is the one who traditionally selects the guest list (unless we're talking about a surprise party), with a guidance from the hostess on the upper limit of how many people should attend.

While consulting her on the major points of the party is recommended, you do not want to overload the bride with lots of details on organizing this major event for her.


For More Tips That Help Organizing That Fabulous Bridal Shower Party

The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book: How to Have a Fun, Fabulous, ...
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When Sending Out The Bridal Shower Party Invitations

Here are again several etiquette issues that could come up worth mentioning.

  • The first thing I noticed once (when I was invited to a party) was that I didn't have an RSVP enclosed. Without an RSVP it's a bit difficult to respond whether I'm going or not.
  • If the guests need to pinch in with some money of their own for the party (e.g. if the party is held at a spa or club where there is an entrance fee, for example), unless you specifically tell them the amount, they might not bring any money with them at all. You need to be very clear and specific on monetary details, along with the location, the actual dates and times of the event, as well as with the main theme of the party so they can bring adequate gifts.
  • This is not a matter of etiquette, but it's a nice gesture - unless the shower is secret, why not send an invitation to the bride as well? Sure, it is obvious for her that she should be there, but a beautiful invitation will always be a nice keepsake to remind her in later years about her bridal shower party.
  • Invitations should be sent to the guests by snail mail, and not by email. It is good, though, to follow up with an email (if you have their email addresses) to notify them to expect an invitation in the post in the next few days.


Looking Back In Time

"Bridal Shower" Saturday Evening Post Cover, February 26, 1955

Plan Your Budget And Accept Offered Help

This is a major petpeeve of mine because I've seen it time and time again: the host doesn't plan the party budget and ends up either overspending or a bit short on the money for the shower. Nobody has unlimited funds, especially in these times, so planing is simply a must these days.

If you know how much money you have that you can spend, you can get quite creative with the decorations without overspending.

It is also important to budget properly when several people host it - i.e. when the bridesmaids also chip in. Everyone needs to know how much money to allocate to it. For example if someone has less money than required, then maybe they can do some other useful things - how about creating the beautiful invitations if they have the craft skills, or bringing home baked cookies and pastries that will be enjoyed during the party.

Updated: 08/01/2013, marciag
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Do You Have Your Own Tips For Hosting The Party?

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dustytoes on 06/09/2014

You do have some very good tips for planning a bridal shower.

kimbesa on 08/04/2013

That book looks good! It's important to get the invites right for a shower, or any party.

Natural_Skin_Care on 08/01/2013

I'm horrible at party planning so thanks for this.

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