How to hold a traditional Bridal Shower

How to hold a traditional Bridal Shower

What is the difference between a Bridal Shower and a Wedding Shower?

Quite simply, traditionally a Bridal Shower is an all-female party and a Wedding Shower is a mixed-gender party during which both the bride and groom attend. The Wedding Shower itself has morphed over the years into combined Bridal and Groom Showers.

The traditional Bridal shower is also under fire due to its strict gender roles in a more inclusive and non-binary world.

Should the Groom Attend the Bridal Shower?

If you are going to have a traditional Bridal Shower, you then have to decide whether the Groom should attend, to say hello, and to be seen as well. It depends on you. Some couples like to be seen as a ‘couple’ even before the big day, others prefer it to be a women only celebration with only the bride attending and the groom making a quick disappearance.

However, having said that, mixed sex wedding parties are becoming more popular, with guests giving gifts to the couple and not just too the bride.

Managing the guest list for your Bridal or Wedding Shower

The simple rule is that not every-one on your wedding guest list attends the Bridal or Wedding Shower, those invited to the Shower should also be invited to the wedding. If not, to put it bluntly, it looks like you are inviting people to your shower just to get some presents off them.

That said, some people will have multiple showers, one for wedding guests and one for their office colleagues, for example. You would not be expected though to invite all your office to your wedding.

The safest and simplest is to invite to your Wedding or Bridal Shower, your close and personal friends and family. It makes sense with Covid around to make the Shower as small as possible anyway, to reduce the chance of transmission, so you could use this as a reason to trim your guest lists anyway.

When should I hold my Bridal or Wedding Shower?

Showers are normally held sometime from a couple of months to a couple of weeks before the wedding itself.

What do you do at a Wedding or Bridal Shower?

In the pre-Covid days, a shower would be a daytime event, with many brides holding it at a restaurant, someone’s home, or a function room. It would normally involve a light meal, possibly some alcoholic drinks, games and trivia competitions, ending with the bride or couple opening their gifts and entertaining the attendees.

Obviously, with Covid, everything has changed when it comes to Bridal or Wedding Showers, from who can attend, how many can attend, where you can hold your Shower, whether you serve food or not, and a multitude of other considerations now have to be taken into account, to keep everybody safe, and  not break any rules or laws, wherever you may live.

This means that Covid can be taken as an opportunity to chuck out the Wedding Shower rule book and give you the opportunity to do what you want to do, regardless of tradition. 

The truth is there aren’t any rules anymore and both a wedding shower and a bridal shower can take any shape or form! It is your day, so make your own tradition and celebrate any way you want, on your terms!

Can I have more than one Bridal Shower?

These days it is getting more and more common for a bride to have more than one shower. This reflects the change in society since the Bridal Shower became popular and how we have more roles and responsibilities in our lives; we literally are becoming many more things to many more people. 

If you do have more than one shower, it is a good idea for your shower hosts to consult each other to avoid duplication of names across the different guest lists. 

Bridesmaids would traditionally be invited to all the showers, but not expected to attend more than one.

Who should host the Bridal Shower?

If you follow tradition, your shower should not be held by the bride’s mother, sister or future mother-in-law. The reason for this is that it was to ensure that it did not look like they were soliciting gifts for the bride.

These days though, we have to be a lot more practical, and you may find that your sisters house is perfect for the shower. Don’t worry about the tradition, times have moved on and everybody will understand.

Having said that, it is often left to the maid of honor or bridesmaids to arrange the Shower itself, this does not only split the workload (especially with managing Covid as well), it also helps split the cost of hosting the Bridal or Wedding Shower.

Regardless of who manages or hosts the shower, the host should be on hand, alongside the bride, to meet guests as they arrive and thank them for attending.

When should I send out the invites to the shower?

You should send out your invitations to the Shower, four to six weeks before the invite itself.

What is a Bridal Shower Invitation?

Traditionally a Wedding or Bridal shower invitation is put in the good old post, though it is acceptable to send out a ‘save the day’ email, just in case the invitation gets mislaid.

Bridal Shower Traditions

Bridal showers tend to follow popular, family and cultural traditions, ranging from making a Bouquet out of shower day ribbons, to giving family and very personal gift and mementoes that are specific to you and your family.

After the Bridal Shower?

It takes a lot of effort and planning to arrange either a wedding or bridal shower, so it is always nice if the bride to be handwrites a thank you not to those who have attended and helped arrange her special day, as well as giving a small gift of appreciation to the host for their generosity and kindness.

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Written by Steve Williams
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'.