Everything the bride needs to know to glow at her bridal shower.
Google “Bridal showers” and you’ll find tons of ideas for hostesses and attendees: themes, menus, and gifts. But what about advice for the guest of honor?
While you may host and attend many bridal showers throughout your lifetime, you only get to be the bride once. We’re here to help you shine in your spotlight role!
In today’s edition of “Ask a Real Bride,” we’re addressing questions like: How involved should you be in planning your own bridal shower? What are you expected to do during the shower? And, Is there a line between doing too much and not doing enough to help?
I’ve used the experiences and advice of both brides and bridal shower hostesses to compile a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” that will put you at ease and help you express your appreciation for everyone involved. Once you feel comfortable in the role of “bride,” you’ll be able to enjoy all the excitement!
This list will tell you everything you need to know to glow at your bridal shower!
Bridal Shower Basics for the Bride-to-Be
Bridal Shower DO’s:
- Provide a guest list
When the hostess (or hostesses) offer to throw you a shower, your first big responsibility is creating the guest list. If the hostess doesn’t specify how many guests to invite, ask her for a ballpark figure. Provide full names (with titles like “Mrs.,” “Miss,” and “Dr.”), and addresses.
Here at RegistryFinder.com, we think this is a pretty big deal. Make sure that by the time the bridal shower invitations have been sent, you’ve registered for plenty of items at every price point. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered!
- Arrive on time
…or even five minutes early! Arriving promptly will allow you to express your appreciation to the hostess, take in the details, and greet each and every guest.
- Bring a hostess gift
We have plenty of ideas for you here.
- Connect your guests
Pre-wedding events are a wonderful opportunity for both sides of the family to meet. Mingle and converse with each guest—feel free to pop around to different tables during the meal. Make introductions and connect friends and family with common interests and similarities.
- Open your gifts and thank the giver
Always read the card first! Scan the room and try to make eye contact with the giver so they can watch you open the gift. If possible, make a gracious comment about the gift or the giver.
Yes, it’s awkward. But you just have to do it! “Oh, a coffee maker! Thank you so much, Aunt Edith! Everyone knows I need my coffee to get going in the morning—we will enjoy this each and every day! OR “Thank you for the cake stand, Grandma! I’m going to ask you to share your famous chocolate cake recipe, too!”
This comes easier to some than others. If all else fails, just enthusiastically say, “Thank you, ______ (person’s name)!”
- Give a brief speech.
Very few of us enjoy public speaking, but just think of this as a time to express your heartfelt gratitude to everyone simultaneously. Common times to do it: after opening ALL of the gifts, or after cutting the cake.
What to say: “I just want to express my thanks to each of you for coming and celebrating our upcoming wedding! Aunt Sherri, thank you for opening your home and hosting this beautiful shower. I love every detail! Chris and I feel so loved by all of you. Thank you for these beautiful gifts and all of your support. Love you all!” You can definitely add to that, but don’t subtract!
- Stay until the very end
You were the first to arrive, and you should be the last to leave and bid each guest farewell. You might even recruit your groom to come at the end to help you pack up the gifts and say hello!
- Write thank-you notes
Do you feel like all of these tips are reminders to say, “thank you?” You’re right! So here’s one more: Write thank you notes promptly! Read my guide on how to write the perfect one!
Bridal Shower Don’ts:
- Don’t host one for yourself.
…or ask anyone to host it for you! Bridal showers are gift-giving events, and hosting one for yourself looks like an attempt to “gift grab.” For more on who should host a bridal shower, check out this post.
- Don’t panic if no one offers to throw you one.
Be patient! Planning may be in the works! But even if you don’t have a bridal shower, it’s ok: showers are not a requirement, and it probably means you’ll get even better wedding gifts!
- Don’t over-invite.
Stick to your hostess’s capacity for the event (if she hasn’t specified, ask!). Showers are for close friends and family; no out of town guests or people who have already been invited to another shower (exceptions: bridesmaids, sisters, moms). More on who to invite here.
- Don’t start a Pinterest board.
I’m serious! Don’t send your hostess suggestions for the theme, menu, or décor, unless asked. This includes sending “pins” from Pinterest. While your intentions might be to help, doing so creates pressure for your hostess. If she wants your input or opinion, she will ask!
- Don’t offer to pay for anything.
In effect, you are saying, “My expectations for this are very high. I’m not sure you’ll be able to achieve them without my financial help.” This is connected to my point above: sharing ideas and then offering to pay for them creates an uncomfortable dynamic for the hostess to either 1. Admit something is beyond her budget or 2. Stretch her budget to accommodate your expectations.
Every “do” and “don’t” boils down to gratitude.
Brides, I know your heart is to love and appreciate the family and friends who are honoring you with a bridal shower. Don’t fret if you realize you’ve made a mistake: when we know better, we do better! I hope these tips from our real brides and bridal shower hostesses help you feel more comfortable and at-ease in your role as bride. Enjoy it! It only happens once in a lifetime–so you glow, girl!
Have a Question for our Real Brides?
Let me know what topic you’d like us to tackle next! And if you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips! And as always, be sure to refer your guests to RegistryFinder.com, where they can conveniently locate all of your registries in one place!