Practical yet fun, a bridal shower is meant to shower an engaged couple with gifts to be used when establishing a home together. Progressively more relaxed, bridal shower etiquette has evolved throughout the years as styles and requirements change. A nice occasion to spend time with the bride, offer advice, and show support, there are still basics of wedding shower etiquette that should be adhered to so as not offend any guests or family members.
Organizing the Shower
Typically thrown by the maid of honor and/or bridesmaids, someone else can perform the organizational honors after checking with the maid of honor since the privilege lies with her. The bride should be comfortably involved throughout the process via emails and phone calls to ensure her approval of the process. The maid of honor should ask the bride if there is a particular theme she would prefer for the party and seek her advice on any food and drinks to ensure that her favorites are included.
It’s important to keep in mind that there will be a diverse guest list of friends, family, and co-workers and their interactions should be considered. By tradition, a wedding shower is intended to be a gathering of a small, intimate group of the bride’s friends and family. Including wedding party members and the mothers is mandatory. They should be assigned tasks such as running the party games or helping with the removal of gift wrap to help everyone feel like a key part of the day. Only guests invited to the wedding should receive invitations to the shower.
Scheduling of Shower
Based on traditional etiquette, a shower should take place between four and six weeks before the wedding and any time of day is acceptable, but mid-morning or afternoon events are most common. It should be determined if the shower will be a more traditional "girls only" party or a couples party, more commonly referred to as a "Jack and Jill" wedding shower.
Order of Events
An itinerary is a prerequisite. It’s important to have a general idea of what activities will occur, and when. There is no set order that a bridal shower should occur, but it’s important to note that gift opening should not be the first activity. The bride should talk to all the guests in attendance. Drinks and snacks should be served before the gifts are open, and games also are appropriate. This is out of respect for those who came and shows them that their presence and company are more valuable than the gift they brought. The gift opening segment of the shower can be boring for guests, but door prizes or party favors can lighten the atmosphere.
Games and Sentiments
Games and sentiments are both personalized touches to any wedding shower. Games allow the guests to mingle and serve as an ice breaker at the start of the event so that they are comfortable as the afternoon progresses. The games should not be tacky or uncomfortable for the bride, but kept light and fun for all the guests to enjoy. Verbalized sentiments can bring the focus to the bride in a positive way as guests share advice or words of encouragement about her upcoming nuptials. The maid of honor can record each guests’ sentiment for the bride to keep as she embarks on her exciting future of marriage.