As with all things “wedding year,” throwing a bridal shower comes with certain rules of etiquette—and we don’t just mean for the host.
Whether you’re the host, a guest or even the bride herself, follow the rules below to find out what you should and should not do.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Bride
It’s your wedding year! There’s so much to be excited about—your shower included. First and foremost, remember: you’re not owed a shower. It’s customary for bridesmaids to throw you one, yes, but it’s a generous act for someone to do.
Knowing this, don’t ask anyone to host one and don’t micromanage any of the planning. You’re the guest of honor! Just show up, look pretty and enjoy a fun, relaxing day with your family and friends. Here are some rules to follow as your shower is planned:
Who should host your bridal shower?
A bride should NEVER host her own bridal shower. Instead, they’re typically arranged and hosted by a bridesmaid, close friend, or a relative, like an aunt or a cousin. It’s also best if the bride’s mother or bride’s grandmother do not host the event, as it can appear as an ask for gifts.
Should you do anything special during the shower?
Bring the hostess a small “thank you” gift. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy; just a sweet token of your appreciation. And speaking of gifts, open all of them at the shower and be gracious about everything you receive.
Who should you invite?
Ask the host how many people you can invite—if he or she already has a venue or home in mind, that may determine the size of the group. Definitely invite your bridesmaids, close friends, local relatives and immediate family members. Consider inviting only those closest to you so that you can spend quality time with your guests. Traditionally, bridal showers are all female; but today, it’s not a faux pas to invite guys, if you’re hosting a co-ed shower or if they really are your closest friends or bridal attendants.
You should NOT invite:
Don’t invite any out-of-town wedding guests (unless it’s your mom, sister, grandma, another close female relative or the mother-of-the-groom), and don’t invite anyone you don’t plan on inviting to the wedding. Asking someone to celebrate your bridal shower and not inviting them wedding is both tacky and rude.
After your bridal shower, you should…
Send your “thank you” notes quickly! Follow our guide here.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Host
Someone close to you is getting married! That’s an exciting thing to be a part of. If you decide you want to throw her a bridal shower, here are some rules to follow as you plan:
When should you throw the shower?
A bridal shower should two-to-four months before the wedding.
When should you send out invitations, and what should they include?
Make sure all invites are sent no later than three or four weeks before the bridal shower. Include the date, time, venue, venue address, an RSVP date and an RSVP contact. Traditionally, etiquette rules state that the bride and groom’s gift registry should not be put on the actual invitation, but can be enclosed separately. Today, however, including it on the invitation is more common.
Who should be on your invite list?
Where you host the shower will determine how many people you can invite! So work that out with the bride in case you’re expecting a large guest list. Definitely invite her bridesmaids, close friends, local relatives and immediate family members.
You should NOT invite:
Don’t invite any out-of-town wedding guests (unless it’s the bride’s mom, sister, grandma, another close female relative or the mother-of-the-groom), and don’t invite anyone who won’t be invited to the wedding.
Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Guest
You got invited to a bridal shower! Feel honored—the bride must really think you’re something special. Here are some rules to follow to make sure you’re a good guest:
When should you RSVP?
RSVP as soon as possible and do so only for those listed on the envelope. Don’t be one of those guests that tries to bring friends.
What should you bring?
A gift! And lots of compliments for the bride and host. You do not need to send a gift if you can’t attend, and if you’re invited to multiple showers for the same bride, you can take a gift to just the first one or buy smaller gifts for each shower you attend.
Do you have to buy her something from the wedding registry?
While that’s convenient, thoughtful and customary, it’s not required! However, if the bride and groom have made a registry, use RegistryFinder.com to locate it and buy something you know the bride will love.
– Jennifer Agress is a Miami-based food and travel writer who has hosted five bridal showers and attended 20+.
All images are courtesy of Joy Lyn Photography– offering wedding and newborn lifestyle photography in Chicago, IL.