Length of Bridal Shower

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How long should a typical bridal shower be? 3 hours? 6 hours? I was at a recent shower that had a start time of 2pm on the invitation. Nothing was ready when I arrived at the shower and we all sat around waiting until around 3pm while others were fixing food. The hostess sat around and visited while other guests started to help her mother (which happened to be the bride's mom) prepare the luncheon. Unfortunately the person I drove with had dinner plans and had to be home by 5:30pm. The shower was still going when we left at around 5pm. What should I or could I have done about this?

- Kathy


It sounds like the hostess at the shower you describe was disorganized, and likely, there was nothing you could have done about it. Bridal showers shouldn't be a day-long event, but it depends on the shower, your planned events, and the number of guests involved. Invitations should have specific start times, certainly. It wouldn't hurt to add an estimated end time on the shower invitation, either.

Typically, a shower can last anywhere from 2 - 4 hours, and this is usually understood by guests. Also, hostesses should be ready for their guests when they arrive so that the event runs smoothly. For extra shower tips, take a look at our Ten Tips for Easy Shower Etiquette.

Long Distance Bridal Showers

How can I throw a bridal shower for someone who lives across the country so we don't have the expense of shipping all the gifts to where she lives? Is there a way to have a bridal shower and order gifts from the internet so they can be shipped to her home?

- P.T


It can be hard to have a wedding shower for a bride whose family and friends are spread across the country or the continent! Read our How to Plan a Bridal Shower From Afar article for some ideas.

Most wedding registry sites will ship orders wherever you'd like them to be sent, so you can have an "on-line shower" if you like, and have everything delivered. However, a more personal touch would be for you to have a "brideless" shower with the guests in your area. Any gifts can be delivered to the bride in person at her wedding or at a pre-arranged time along with a photo album or recording of the event for the bride.

Cheaper Months to get Married

I was wondering when the cheapest months are to get married. A friend of mine told me that between May and September are the most expensive. Is that true?

- P.D


The most affordable months of the year to get married are November, December and January. The demand for wedding officiants, locations and wedding supplies is lower in the winter months because many brides' big wedding dreams are hinged on Valentine's Day, springtime, and summer weddings.

Also, Saturdays are the most costly day of the week to be married. Saturday at 7pm is the most popular day and time for a wedding ceremony. A money saving tip: you may want to consider a morning or early afternoon wedding. The reception will be more affordable, because it will not require a full meal. Happy planning!

Introducing the Families

My daughter has just become engaged. Who should reach out to the other family to meet for the first time? What is the proper etiquette?

- Wainh


There really is not a proper etiquette for making contact between the families of a newly engaged couple. The engaged couple should certainly be uniting the two families for the first time, but it wouldn't hurt for you to make the first move either. You certainly don't want to wait until the bridal shower! Your children love each other and are getting married! This is a happy time for both families, and cause for celebration.

The engaged couple can invite both sets of parents to an informal gathering; but if they haven't yet, you may need to prompt them with a gentle reminder. Both sets of parents and the couple could plan for a casual dinner out, or you could host everyone at your home for an informal get-together. In any event, it is important for your families to get acquainted as your children begin their lives together.

Bridal Shower Guests not Invited to the Wedding

I'm planning a wedding party for my best friend who just recently moved out of state but will be getting married in her home state. The majorities of the guests invited to the ceremony/reception are immediate family and close family friends. This left out a lot of former co-workers. I know it's inappropriate to invite these people to the "Jack and Jill Shower", but we would like to include them somehow. How should I word the invitation for this event since the party will consist of people invited to the wedding?

- Tina


If the ceremony and wedding reception is for family and close friends only, think about holding a co-worker only event either before or after the wedding. Make it a casual celebration with the bride after work. I suggest gathering your co-workers at a nice restaurant for a post-workday evening out, or hosting a relaxed wine and cheese get together at your home. Don't treat the gathering as a bridal shower, and do consider asking your guests not to bring gifts. Have your co-workers sign a card or contribute a conservative amount towards a group gift for the bride. Happy planning!

Bridal Shower for an Out-of-State Wedding

My nephew is getting married to a woman from another state. The wedding will be out of state and I want to host a couple's shower for them. My brother and his wife informed me that they will not be inviting people other than the family because they did not want people to feel that they would have to send a gift. More importantly they will be having a reception in the groom's home state. My question is, can I still give them a shower or would that be inappropriate?

- Shirley


Have you asked the bride and groom what they would prefer? Often a busy bride and groom don't have time to attend a number of showers, especially if there is inter-state travel required. Simple may be better. I would imagine that one shower will be adequate for the couple, but it is lovely of you to consider hosting a second shower for the couple.

Celebrating a Fourth Marriage

In our office we have a lady that is getting married for the 4th time. What should we do to celebrate her upcoming wedding? What kind of celebration should we have?

- Nancy


It can be a little awkward planning a celebration for a second, third, or fourth marriage. The couple won't need much, so they may not want a traditional bridal shower or have a bridal registry. In many cases, even the bride feels awkward making a big deal of her second, third or fourth wedding. Every wedding deserves a celebration - the first, the second, the fifth - although as the number increments, the celebrations tend to become more low-key.

As her co-worker, naturally you would want to congratulate and celebrate with her. Consider throwing a celebration that is more like a fun, casual bachelorette party. An informal celebration with co-workers out at a restaurant or in a co-worker's home is a great way to celebrate a colleague's marriage. I don't suggest that you all purchase gifts for the bride, but do consider contributing a small amount for a small, meaningful group gift such as an elegant picture frame, a photo album or something as simple as a set of stylish napkin rings.

Inviting Childhood Friends to the Bridal Shower

I am in the process of planning a "couples" bridal shower for a person I grew up with. I am planning on inviting the people in the neighborhood who where friends of the family or who knew the bride while she was growing up. If I invite someone to the bridal shower, does the bride have to invite this person to the wedding? The wedding will be a distance away from the home she grew up in, and many will probably not attend.

- Lisa


Regardless of who may or may not attend the wedding, inviting a guest to a bridal shower and not to the wedding itself is considered bad etiquette. In spite of the fact that many shower guests may not be able to attend the wedding because of distance, you still risk offending them. Some consider a shower invitation without a wedding invitation as a "gift grab." If you are concerned about including the family and bride's old friends, have an informal gathering where guests are not expected to bring gifts.

Delayed Wedding Celebrations

My son was married at City Hall last month while home on leave. He is scheduled to go to Iraq next month. When he returns in April they would like to have a renewal ceremony in the church. Our pastor is also in Iraq at this time, but will be home then. Can we have a complete ceremony with a slight change of words or are there other changes we should make? Any suggestions you could give us would be appreciated.

- Rebecca


Upon your son's safe return, a special ceremony and celebration for the new couple is a great way to mark the new marriage and celebrate with family and friends. A second ceremony taking place at a church could consist of repeating the first wedding vows or write their own vows to include more personal and timely emotions between the bride and groom.

Ask the couple if they would like to rewrite their vows or stick with their original words. The ceremony and vows need not be changed, just alert your pastor that the couple is renewing their vows, and he can address this detail to the congregation during the ceremony.

By all means, if the couple missed out on a traditional wedding day, have a complete ceremony and reception when you can. Celebrate with friends and family as if it were the couple's proper wedding day.

Wording for Monetary Gifts on Shower Invitations

My daughter and her fianc have been together for 5 years, engaged for three. They have an established household. They are planning and paying for their own wedding and honeymoon. My husband and I would like to give them a Jack and Jill Shower. On the invitations, is there a polite way to let guests know a "Money Tree" will be available to anyone who would like to contribute towards the wedding/honeymoon? The couple is registered at a house wares store only. I understand this information should be included in the invitation. I am also my daughter's maid of honor.

- Cheryl


Congratulations! You're a mother of the bride and a matron of honor, and you're probably pretty busy. The money tree is a symbol of good fortune and a great way to give an established couple some extra money to help with wedding expenses. However, there is no polite way to ask for money from your shower guests. Offer the invitee an option by simply stating that there will be a "money tree" and allow them to decide whether they would like to bring a gift from the registry, or contribute to the money tree.

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