As with many wedding rituals and traditions, bridal showers are governed by certain points of etiquette. Although the rules are becoming more relaxed regarding bridal showers and weddings in general, it is wise to be aware of them to be sure you don’t cause offence to any of your guests.
Here are five common bridal shower etiquette dilemmas and possible ways to resolve them.
Should the bride have a shower for her 2nd wedding?
This is really down to the bride and how she feels about the whole wedding. It is always good to arrange something in the bride’s honour, but if she wants a small understated wedding, then perhaps just arrange something low key such as a shopping trip with lunch and gifts for the bride, maid of honour, mothers, and sisters.
If the bride wants a full bridal shower there’s no reason not to have one. People should still want to celebrate her forthcoming wedding even if they attended a shower for her first one.
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The bride lives miles away, can we still have a shower?
If the bride has moved away from her hometown, but many of her friends and relatives are still there, try to find a weekend when she can travel back for a bridal shower. This may need to be a couple of months before the wedding while she still has free time. If she is coming back for the actual wedding, you can hold a shower in the week before the big day.
You can always hold a party without the bride, where you get her friends together to wrap presents, make a video with personal messages from everyone, or make a book with photos, recipes, and memories in it. These can then be taken along when you travel to the wedding. It’s not really a bridal shower without the bride though, so try to arrange it so she can attend if at all possible.
Can we arrange a shower for a small or destination wedding?
Generally, the rule is that only guests invited to the wedding should be asked to attend a bridal shower. However, in the case of a destination wedding or a very intimate family event, there may be an exception. Most people will see it as a good chance to celebrate your marriage even though they can’t go to the wedding, rather than a cheeky way of getting extra gifts.
Are you serving coffee or dessert portions of your wedding cake?
Make sure your bridal shower guests are aware that you are only having a very small wedding and they are sure to understand. Be careful to send thank you notes to everyone that attended your bridal shower, and if you are having a party after a destination wedding, make sure all bridal shower guests are invited.
Who pays for the bridal shower?
Generally, the host foots the bill for the bridal shower, and this is traditionally the Maid of Honour. Bridal showers don’t have to be extravagant affairs and can be done well even on a tight budget. If the bride wants a fancier bridal shower than the Maid of Honour can afford, or if the mothers want to invite extra guests that aren’t on the Maid of Honour’s list, they should contribute something towards the cost of the shower.
Can a family member host the bridal shower?
It used to be seen as unacceptable for a member of the bride’s family to host the bridal shower, as it would seem that they were soliciting gifts. However this is now an old-fashioned view, and with an increasing number of brides having Maids of Honour that live in different cities or even countries, it can be far more practical for a sister or mother to host the bridal shower. The fact still remains, however, that a bride should never host her own shower.
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