Party Plan: Bridal Shower Etiquette Part 2

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Here are more tips about how to give a proper shower in our Bridal Shower Etiquette Part 2 post.

  • Don’t intimidate anyone—especially bridesmaids—to host a shower.  It’s a financial burden that many aren’t able to take on, especially if they are buying dresses and shoes for the wedding, giving a bachelorette party for the bride and perhaps traveling to the wedding destination. Many times an older family friend or group of friends are happy to host a shower.
  • A shower can simply be a shower with no theme other than to celebrate the upcoming marriage of the bride. Sometimes the hostess likes to plan a shower with a theme, however, and there are many kinds of showers.
  • Registry information is great to include with a shower invitation, but do not put it on the invitation itself. Put it on a separate sheet. The theme of the shower may be noted on the invitation, but color preferences or sizes should be noted on a separate insert.
  • Only invite guests to a shower who will be invited to the wedding. Showers are special get-togethers for people you know very well—not excuses to haul in more gifts. The only exception is a workplace shower to which a large number of coworkers contribute. (If an office shower involves only a few coworkers, thoughtful couples will probably include these colleagues in the wedding guest list.)
  • Asking guests to address their own thank-you notes is a no-no!
  • Extensive decorations are not necessary. You may want to put a special wreath or sign on your front door to welcome guests. You will want to set an attractive table with a centerpiece and set up an attractive way of arranging the gifts. For example, the hostess may have a large tub, basket or wagon for guests to place their gifts in.
  • There is no rule about the refreshments other than they be appropriate to the hour and to the tastes of the guests. Cocktails may be served nor not, depending on the inclination of the hostess and the habits of her guests. Wine, too, may be served if the hostess wishes. However, soft drinks or iced tea or coffee should be offered for those guests who prefer not to drink alcohol—especially early in the day. At a late-afternoon shower, the menu is typical tea fare—sandwiches, cake or cookies, tea and coffee. A punch, mixed drinks, and wine and beer are generally offered at evening showers.
  • Showers are rarely dinner parties, although if it is a couples or mixed-generation family celebration, a potluck meal, a cookout or buffet may indeed be part of the shower. Showers are frequently dessert parties, or they may be held later in the evening, If a substantial dessert is served when guests arrive, no additional food need to be offered.
  • A shower usually includes several games and activities to serve as icebreakers and as a time for having fun. But the type of games should reflect the interests and ages of the guests. The present-opening is generally the high spot of all showers. After refreshments are served, the guests are expected to gather round while the guest of honor opens the packages one by one and thanks each giver. It is perfectly fine to play the games after the gifts are opened if the hostess prefers.
  • One of the bridesmaids or a friend should sit beside the bride and make a careful inventory of the gifts and who gave them, as well as making sure gift cards are kept with the respective gifts.
  • Throughout the shower, the ribbons and bows from the gifts are collected by an attendant or one of the guests and arranged in a colorful, and one hopes, tasteful array on a paper plate. Presented to the bride at the conclusion of the gift opening, many brides have photographs of themselves wearing this colorful arrangement, The purpose is not to provide the bride with a new style of hat. The custom is for the bride to use this arrangement at the wedding rehearsal to substitute for her bridal bouquet.
  • The shower hostess usually gives the bride a gift but a smaller token gift is appropriate if she is bearing the full cost of the shower by herself. The hostess may also coordinate the buying of a major gift to which many guests contribute.

If you want to learn more about the etiquette of giving a bridal shower, check out this post.


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