Bridal Shower Etiquette

My female family members with me at one of my bridal showers

My female family members with me at one of my bridal showers

Bridal showers come out of the old dowry practices where a poor family may not have been able to provide a bride with a dowry.  (A dowry is property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage).  As a result, friends of the bride would get together and bring gifts for her and her future husband to start their household.

There are so many questions when it comes to modern day bridal showers!  Questions from the bride, from the hostesses, from the bridesmaids, and from the bride and groom’s families.  Let me break down some of the aspects of bridal showers for you.

How Many Showers Does the Couple Need?

Typically, there is one big shower and a couple of smaller ones.  The maid-of-honor or a some close friends will probably throw the “big one.”  If the bride work in an office or school, their place of work will probably throw her a shower.  And then they’ll probably have 1 or 2 more, depending on how many circles she has – family, friends, groom’s family/friends, work, etc.  There is no set number that is appropriate.  It all depends on the bride and groom!

Bridal Shower Costs

The hostesses of the shower cover the costs of the bridal shower.  You can have 1-2 hostesses or many, many more.  A large shower consists of 30+ guests.  If the shower is at someone’s home, obviously, your costs will be lower.  If you have a luncheon or brunch shower, plan on spending about $15-$40 per guest.  If you are having an afternoon shower at someone’s home, plan on spending about $10-$15 (or less) per guest. 

So, what are you paying for?  Food, activities/games, favors, decorations, rental fees, cleaning crew, etc.  You can be as simple or elaborate as you wish.  The more hostesses, then the more the cost responsibilities are spread.  But that also means, the more input from more people.  There are pros and cons to each, and it all depends on you (the hostess) and everyone else involved!

Bridal Shower Themes

This depends on the hostesses and the bride.  Make the theme relevant to the bride’s interests, for the season (spring, winter, etc), for the venue, and for the guests.  If you are inviting younger women to the shower, then gear the theme to something that they would enjoy.  If you’re inviting older women, the theme will be completely different.  If you are having the shower at a venue, sometimes that dictates the theme.  If you’re having it inside, that will warrant different themes than an outside shower.  Pinterest has so many ideas, so pick a few that you like, share them with the bride and let her pick.

Bridal Shower Hostesses

Tradition holds that immediate relatives (mother, sister, future mother-in-law) should not throw a shower for the couple because it may appear that they are asking for gifts.  Times are changing, folks!  It’s perfectly acceptable for a family member to host a bridal shower.  Typically, the maid of honor, close friends, or other family members throw the bridal showers.

When to hold the Bridal Shower?

The bridal showers should held between 4-6 months to 2 weeks from the wedding.  My personal opinion is to have them about 3-4 months before the wedding.  As the wedding gets closer, a bride’s weekends fill up with dress fittings, meetings with the venue, engagement photo shoots, bachelorette party, and many more final details.  Plus, the guests don’t need to be overwhelmed by a bride’s shower and her wedding within a month of one another.

Who to Invite?

Bridal showers usually include a bride’s closest female friends, female family members, and sometimes friends of the groom.  If you’re having a couples shower, then you can invite both men and women, but be sure to limit the guest list.  Not everyone that is invited to the wedding needs to be invited to a bridal shower.  Avoid inviting guests to multiple showers, unless it’s the bride’s mother, sister, and future mother-in-law.

Thank You Notes

Designate someone to write down gifts as the bride opens them.  Be clear and legible.  After the shower, make sure that the bride has this list so that she can write her thank you notes promptly. Remember, we've included a place to record wedding gifts in the 3-in-1 kit guest list manager so you'll have a record later on. 

There are so many resources available to you online in addition to what I’ve shared with you here.  So, if you are going to be a bridal shower hostess, the end goal is that the bride is “showered” and ready to have her household ready for her and her future husband.  And it should be a fun party too!



Southern Bride and Groom:

Martha Stewart: