Bridal Shower 101: The Basics You Need to Know

The bridal shower may be one of the most traditional pre-wedding parties (dating back to 1890), but there are still plenty of people who have questions about the who, what, where, and when of this gift-giving celebration. 

Here are the basics of bridal showers, the foundation on which you can plan and host this special get together for the bride-to-be in your life.

Who hosts the bridal shower?

Traditionally, someone outside of the bride’s family hosted the bridal shower, like the bridesmaids, the groom's mother, or the maid of honor (if not the bride's sister). But modern times means mixing it up, so it's not uncommon for the mother's bride, sister, or other close female relative or friend to take the reigns.

Who pays for the shower?

Whoever hosts the bridal shower pays for it as well. Guests are not expected to pitch in for anything but their individual gifts for the bride.

When is the bridal shower held?

Typically, the bridal shower is held between two weeks and three months before the wedding day. The large gap in time gives the host the opportunity to choose a date that is convenient for the bride and guests. 

When do bridal shower invitations get sent?

Plan on sending out invites at least four to six weeks before the party date. This gives guests and the bride plenty of time to prepare. Also make sure the bride has created a registry before sending out the invitations so guests have gift items to choose from.

Who is invited to the bridal shower?

The bridal party, bride’s family, and close female friends are at the top of the invite list, as well as the groom’s close female relatives. The key thing to remember: if someone is invited to the wedding that doesn’t mean she has to be invited to the bridal shower. Conversely, if someone is invited to the bridal shower it is customary to also invite her to the wedding. 

Where is the shower held?

The short answer is, just about anywhere! The venue really depends on the host's budget and type of shower. Some popular options are restaurants and family/friend's home. 

What happens at a bridal shower?

A typical "format" includes a meet and greet (maybe using an ice breaker game), food (could be a sit down meal or a more casual finger-food style), games and/or activities, and gift opening.

How do gifts work?

Most people assume that gifts will be given and will bring one of their own. Feel free to include the gift registry in the invitation and let guests know if the shower has a theme (kitchen, for example) so they can bring gifts that correspond. 

That's the lowdown on bridal showers. If you have any other questions about this popular celebration, send us an email and we'll steer you in the right direction!

And if you liked this post, you might like reading all about Rehearsal Dinner 101.

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