Bridal shower etiquette and ideas
Tips and theme ideas to make planning a breeze
Sometimes bridal showers feel like they require as much work as the wedding itself. If you're the lucky one hosting the event, use these etiquette tips and bridal shower theme ideas to make planning a breeze.
Bridal shower etiquette
Learn the who, what and when:
- Who should host?
The maid or matron of honor, unless she willingly gives up the hosting privileges to another close friend of the bride. Usually the mothers of the bride and groom do not host the bridal shower or are involved in its planning. Instead, give the mothers, and perhaps sisters, who may not know a lot of the guests a "job" to do at the bridal shower. For example, the groom's mother can run the party games, and the bride's mother can be the record keeper as the gifts are opened.
- Who should I invite?
The wedding party, mothers and sisters of the bride and groom, and 10 to 15 of the bride's closest friends. A bridal shower should not include a large number of guests, in part because the bride's friends are hosting. Do not invite anyone to the shower who is not also invited to the wedding. The same goes for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Multiple showers are OK, hosted by different friends of the bride. However, don't invite the same person to more than one shower.
- When should invitations go out?
4 to 6 weeks before the wedding
- What should I include on the invitations?
— Bride's full name
— Date, time and location of the shower
— Host or hostesses' names
— RSVP information
— Date of the wedding
— Where the bride is registered
— Theme of the shower (if any)
— Whether it's a surprise for the bride
Hint: Did you know you can personalize invitations online at Hallmark.com? We'll even address, stamp and mail the invitations for you.
Bridal shower theme ideas
Get the party started with these suggestions:
- Around-the-Clock Shower
Guests are encouraged to bring a gift that corresponds with a particular time of day. For example, if your invitation says, "Noon," bring an item the couple could use at lunchtime, like a picnic basket.
- Kitchen Shower
At this type of shower, guests bring gifts to stock a kitchen. Think spices, cooking utensils, recipe books, non-perishable food items, frying pans and kitchen linens.
- Recipe Shower
Guests are asked to bring their favorite recipe along with some of the key ingredients needed to complete it. Consider sending recipe cards with the invitation and then compiling them in a coordinating album or recipe box.
- Nature Shower
There's a world of things to choose from: pine-scented candles, silk flowers, landscape photography books, outdoor equipment, gardening tools.
- Money-Themed Shower
It is perfectly fine to sign up for a honeymoon registry or include wording such as "We would love to send Katie and James on the honeymoon of their dreams! If you'd like to help, a financial contribution in lieu of gifts would be appreciated." If there is a need for cash other than for honeymoon expenses, it might be best to pass that information by word of mouth.
- "I Love This City" Shower
Are the bride and groom people who love to be out and about? Get season passes to local museums, theaters and sporting events, restaurant coupon books or subscriptions to local magazines. Arrange to have the shower at a scenic park or landmark and go for a walk to see the sights.
- Couple's Shower
Power tools, pairs of tickets, his-and-her matching car seat covers, shirts, luggage. Ask the invited guests to share their best advice for a long and happy life together and compile it in a scrapbook.
- Holiday Shower
When you send out invitations, assign each guest a holiday. A Thanksgiving gift could be anything from a roasting pan to a turkey centerpiece. Fourth of July? How about a flag, a big bowl for potato salad, or a red, white and blue door wreath. The couple will be ready to celebrate all year long.
- Gift Certificate Shower
Can shopping get easier than this?