The tradition of showering the bride-to-be with items to start her new life can raise a lot of questions.
I’m often asked these three questions when it comes to bridal shower etiquette.
The etiquette around bridal showers is always evolving. What was once considered “proper” for your mother’s shower may not apply today. This information is for etiquette for showers from a western cultural perspective. Every country, culture and even families have their own traditions around this.
Who Hosts a bridal shower?
The host of a bridal shower is typically a friend or relative of the couple. Traditionally, the parents or immediate family of the couple did not host the shower because it could give the impression that they are “asking” for gifts for their children. Keep in mind that there are certain situations where it may be the only option.
The Maid of Honor or Bridesmaids should not be expected to host the shower. They already have other obligations and expenses as part of the bridal party. If they want to, they can, but it should not be a given.
Also, it’s completely acceptable for several people to Co-Host the shower.
Who to invite to a bridal shower?
The guest list typically includes close friends, family members and the bridesmaids.
Today, all genders can be included. It doesn’t need to be an all-female shower like in days past. It’s whatever the bride and groom prefer. In this instance, a co-ed shower would be called a wedding shower rather than a bridal shower.
The guests invited to the shower are typically also invited to the wedding. So, the host should check with the bride on the guest list. The exception to this would be if it’s a small or destination wedding where the guest list is small or if it’s a workplace shower.
When the bride or couple are having multiple showers with different guests lists, the bridesmaids can be invited to each shower but they should not be expected to attend all of them. If they choose to attend every shower, they should not feel obligated to bring a gift to each one. A lovely card with a handwritten sentiment or small gift is acceptable.
Do you invite co-workers to a bridal shower?
If the bride’s co-workers are also close friends, then absolutely include them in the shower. A group of co-workers may offer to host a shower for the bride and invite everyone who works there. In this instance, it would not be expected that everyone would also be invited to the wedding.
The idea behind this tradition of bridal showers is to help the couple prepare for a new stage in life. The shower should be a special gathering of family and friends to celebrate the honoree(s) and open gifts.
Suzy Lins is a certified etiquette trainer located in Southern California. Educating on manners and etiquette to help people gain confidence to master business and social situations is the core of her teaching.