Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bridal Shower Etiquette

Bridal showers are a chance for friends and family to help a couple start their journey together, which, of course, involves showering them with gifts! If you find yourself in charge of planning a shower, here is a look at some classic shower etiquette with some modern twists.

Hostess with the Mostess 

The couple shouldn’t host their own bridal shower, as it can appear like a pursuit for presents. Traditionally, the maid of honor or bridesmaids host the shower. But now, it is acceptable for family friends, relatives, or even coworkers of the bride or groom to host. Often, a group of friends or relatives will come together to host the shower, which can help distribute tasks and expenses. If no one steps up to the plate, it’s now considered appropriate for even the mother of the bride or groom to host.

Who to Invite

The general rule of thumb to determine who to invite is simply that all bridal shower guests must also be invited to the wedding. The guest list is usually comprised of the female attendants, family, and friends of the bride. But nowadays, showers can be co-ed and may include the groom and his friends. When creating the guest list, remember to communicate with the bride for her guidance and approval.

What to Do

Of course, like any party, there should be food and drinks. Snacks, hors d’oeuvres, or desserts are perfectly appropriate. Just be sure to time the shower between mealtimes so guests are not expecting a full meal.

It has become customary to play a shower game. Just keep in mind the personality of the guest of honor and refrain from choosing games that may embarrass a shy or reserved bride. With some planning and help from the groom, a popular game can include trivia on how well the bride knows her groom-to-be. Nowadays, some showers even involve a planned activity, incorporating spa days or cooking classes.

Of course, at a shower, the gifts take centerstage, and a portion of the event is devoted to the bride opening her gifts. The hostess or another designated person should sit closely to take notes on who each gift comes from so that the bride can easily write thank you notes later.

What’s the Magic Number?

There isn’t a magic number of showers that is acceptable. However, if there will be multiple showers, try to invite different people to each one, so the same guests don’t feel obliged to buy multiple gifts. Also, if several showers are planned, it can be fun to vary the themes. While friends of the bride’s mom may throw a more traditional shower for housewares, the bridesmaids could throw a lingerie shower for an unexpected twist.

The Bride’s Role

After being showered with gifts, the bride should not forget to do a little gift-giving herself. The bride should give each hostess a small thank you gift at the end of the party. Items they can use in their own homes or gift cards to a restaurant or spa are appropriate gifts.

Planning a shower doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Modern day shower etiquette is flexible. Just keep in mind the personality of the bride. Happy Planning!

*Emily Fairbairn contributed to this article.