Ten Tips for Easy Bridal Shower Etiquette

Throwing a Well-Planned Bridal Shower

Trying to plan a bridal shower without stepping on any toes can be a little tricky. You don't want to exclude anyone and you certainly don't want to offend or upset the bride or your guests by throwing an unorganized and chaotic shower. Here are some tips for planning and throwing a bridal shower with grace.

1. Who throws the bridal shower?

Traditionally, the maid of honor and the bride work together to plan the bridal shower, but there is no hard and fast rule about who throws the bridal shower. These days, close friends and family can opt to plan and host the shower festivities. Commonly, showers are held at the home of a bridesmaid or family. For larger parties you may want to rent hall space or a party room in a nice restaurant.

2. When should the bridal shower take place?

Bridal showers are usually held 1 - 2 months before the wedding. This will be a very busy time for the bride and her bridesmaids, so consider holding the shower slightly earlier to ensure a well-planned and much enjoyed gathering.

3. Who pays for the bridal shower?

Customarily, if she is planning and hosting the event, the maid of honor is usually responsible for the shower expenses. The bride's family often helps with expenses, and more recently, bridesmaids help with shower costs as well.

4. Who is invited to the shower?

Between 5 and 25 guests can be invited to the shower, provided they are all close to the bride and invited to the wedding itself. Decide with the bride if you would like a "girls only" or a couples shower. Make sure to ask the mother of the bride and mother of the groom if they have a special list of guests they would like to invite as well.

5. What information should be included in the shower invitations?

Bridal shower invitations can be less formal than wedding invitations. Simply make sure to include R.S.V.P cards and envelopes, the date, time and location of the shower, directions, and contact information. Add other relevant information as required, such as shower theme, bride's clothing size, or special instructions. Send invitations about 4 - 6 weeks in advance, and ask that guests R.S.V.P within 2 weeks of the event.

6. How long should a bridal shower be?

A bridal shower shouldn't be an all day event. Depending on the number of guests you'll be hosting and the activities you've planned, bridal showers can last anywhere from two hours to four hours. Make sure you provide shower start and end times on your invitations, but allow for a longer event so guests can linger and chat.

7. What kind of food should be served at a bridal shower?

In general, a proper meal is not served at a bridal shower. Hostesses should offer simple finger foods so they can direct the shower and enjoy the day. Easy to prepare warm hors d'oeuvres, vegetable platters and dips are a great idea. Serve desserts, tea, coffee and punch, or host a bridal wine and cheese shower. In warmer months, consider a casual barbeque party.

8. Does a bridal shower have to have games?

Bridal showers often do include games, but they are not essential to a great shower. If the bride doesn't like games, or the hostess feels that guests won't appreciate game-playing, that's fine. However, having guests join in a couple of simple and easy bridal shower games is a great way to break the ice and allow guests who may not know each other to mingle more.

9. Should guest favors be provided?

Bridal shower favors are not necessarily a tradition, but they are a nice way to recognize your guests' attendance. Favors can be thoughtful and inexpensive. Think about specialty chocolates, scented candles, flower seed packages, or even homemade cookies with the recipe attached.

10. What kind of thank-you notes should I send to shower guests?

Bridal shower thank you cards can be informal; it is far more important to thank your guests sincerely than impress them with your cards. Make sure to thank your guests for their specific gift; add a personal detail about how you've used and enjoyed their gift. Send thank you notes soon after the shower so that guests will receive your sincere thanks in about 2 weeks.

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