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Today, on the blog we are breaking down Bridal Shower Etiquette!
The custom of bridal showers is believed to have come from a time when the use of a dowry was common. They were held for brides who came from families who were not able to provide a dowry. Friends and members of the community would come together with gifts that would essentially compensate for a dowry. Allowing her to marry the man of her choice.
The purpose of the bridal shower nowadays is to create excitement for the wedding and to build anticipation. The term “shower” is supposedly derived from Victorian times when gifts were supposedly placed inside closed parasols, then “showered” upon the bride upon opening.
Traditionally no one in the bride’s immediate family should host the bridal shower. Most often the Maid of Honor is the host of the bridal shower, or bridesmaids can share the responsibility. Typically showers are held at the host’s home, or sometimes at the home of the bride’s parents. Take into consideration the size and location of people’s homes. It has become quite common for groups living in larger cities to rent private rooms at restaurants to host showers, simply because living conditions are much smaller and not able to comfortably accommodate larger groups.
Hosting a shower at a restaurant can be a bit pricey, but it does help to minimize stress with the planning process, as well as eliminate clean-up at the end of the event. A more cost-efficient route is to just offer tea and dessert as opposed to offering a fully-seated meal. Regardless of the location chosen, as the host of the shower it is important to remember to greet each guest upon their arrival!
We love when showers are smaller, intimate events. If you are the person hosting the bridal shower, we suggest obtaining a list from the bride of guests who she would like to attend. She can provide their email addresses, and if needed you can reach out to them for their mailing addresses. Invitations should be mailed, however emailed “E-vites” are becoming more acceptable, it just depends on the group. That said, we personally feel that nothing beats receiving an actual invitation in the mail!
It is suggested to host the shower a couple of months before the actual wedding day. Conversely, you do not want to host the shower too close to the wedding date because those weeks leading up to the wedding can be quite hectic at times. Also, it is nice to spread out the times for those guests needing to travel.
The majority of bridal showers are now held during the daytime and on weekends to best accommodate most people’s busy schedules. Children are not typically invited or included to allow everyone to truly enjoy themselves and relax for a couple of hours. As we know, the attention span of children is not long, and they can quickly become bored and restless. Similar to a wedding invitation, only those names written on the envelope of the bridal shower invitation are being invited. Meaning, invited guests should not ask the bride if they can bring along their mother, child, friend, etc.
You can have as many bridal showers as you would like, however guests should only be invited to one shower. It is also proper etiquette to invite only those guests who are invited to the wedding. The only exception would be coworkers of the bride who are not invited to the wedding but who would still like to celebrate with the bride. Although giving a gift is not required. If a guest is attending more than one shower for some reason, only one gift is expected to be given up at the bride’s first shower. The bride should then definitely acknowledge this gift to the guest at her second shower.
One quick note regarding gift-giving at bridal showers. Money or gift cards are not the preferred gift option. While money is of course always appreciated, some guests do not enjoy the idea of “gifting” money. If you are really wanting to give or receive cash, we recommend giving money on the wedding day. At bridal showers thrown for coworkers, gifts are not necessary. If you want to contribute towards a group gift, that could be an appropriate option. Another great option to celebrate would be taking your coworker out for cocktails or a group dinner.
We hope we were able to break down a few know-hows and tips for bridal showers! As always, if you have any questions or are in need of bridal shower inspiration, you can always reach out to the Storybook Team!
March 22, 2016
Storybook Weddings and Events is a luxury wedding planning and event production company in Chicago and the Chicagoland area and suburbs. Chicago Wedding Planner and Day Of Coordinator.