What is it all about? wedding shower etiquette, wedding shower invitation etiquette, bridal shower etiquette, bridal shower
The Wedding Shower: Traditionally showers are a women-only affair when sometimes the groom makes an appearance after the event, possibly to watch the opening of gifts. In recent years, co-ed or couple showers have become more accepted and popular, i.e. they become wedding showers instead of bridal showers. They are also thrown for those couple who decide to have a very small wedding ceremony, sometimes a destination wedding or a simple Cityhall ceremonial affair.
Their friends pool their efforts together and throw a party for them where people could come together to celebrate the joyous occasion. These guests would also bring a gift that may double up as a wedding shower or wedding gift.
Sometimes these wedding showers can also take the form of a simple elegant affair, or dinner and cocktail party, where there are maybe no bridal shower games. They are less fuss and more about a celebration about being together rather than setting up a home. Sometimes its combined with the engagement party.
Usually it is held in the evenings on the weekends, unlike the traditional afternoon bridal shower, coupled with good food and wine.
The Wedding Shower Etiquette is Similar to Bridal Shower Etiquette
Etiquette guidelines for bridal showers and wedding showers are similar.
Adapted and adjusted from Bridal shower etiquette
Usually any well-meaning good friend will the host of the wedding shower (and never the bride herself or her relatives.)
It is bad manners to do so and will seem like you are soliciting gifts from friends.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this etiquette guideline. Multiple showers are also popular these days especially if you are
uncomfortable with mixing different groups of friends. It is still more elegant to have one and keep it fuss free.
How many showers should there be?
An elegant reader wrote to me, “How many showers are enough?”. I thought it would be good to include it here to gain different perspective on wedding showers.
No one should be invited to more than one such event for the occasion.
Sometimes we can blindly follow tradition and have many parties centering around one wedding.
For instance, The engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelor, bachelorette party, the wedding, the house warming etc. To repeatedly invite guests seems like an open solicitation of gifts. You don’t have to do all this. It is your choice.
Wedding Shower Gift Etiquette
What types of gifts?
There is the wedding shower tradition of bringing gifts that are useful in setting up a new home. e.g. bread-maker,
some new pots and pans etc. However these days, it is acceptable to bring other sorts of gifts which ‘represent’ the couple.
Guests may bring gifts for the household as well if they like, or simply anything that represents the couple.
Presents should be mere tokens of congratulations. They should not be expected or demanded.
See also Sending A Wedding Gift Etiquette.
Wedding Shower Gift Registry Etiquette
It has become the norm to include registries in the wedding shower invitation cards. I’m not too fond of it, if you want to be truly elegant, forget about registries and definitely forget about mentioning gifts.
If you have a registry, please register modestly priced items.
If you decline the invitation, sending nothing more than good wishes. Of course, you could send a gift if you want.
If you feel taken advantage of at the registry, better not to go then bear a grudge all your life.
It should not be used as a fund raising event. That is vulgar.
Wedding showers should never be thrown to get gifts to be exchanged for cash. It is an abomination.
Other Wedding Shower Etiquette
When should a wedding shower be held?
It should held two-three months before your elegant wedding.
Any earlier it will sound like you have been too preoccupied with the wedding which is not as real life as your friends, family and the person you are going to marry, and any later you might just stress yourself and your bridal party a little too much.
As per tradition, you’ll be showered with gifts to set up your new home.
Do not ask or even drop a hint for a new pair of Manolos (designer shoes).
And oh, don’t forget to invite people to the shower only if you’ll ALSO be inviting them to the wedding.
This is unless a couple decides to have a destination wedding and returns, sometimes friends throw a shower for them which can be also known as the wedding shower when they return.
Remember your thank-you notes and send a thank-you gift if the party had been elaborate.
Even though your host will be doing most of the work, she will rely on you to provide a guest list and may ask for further help. Being organized about this is a courtesy.
Also, have realistic expectations, accept that no one flies down for a shower.
You should send a very special gift to the host to thank them, especially if you thought it was a fabulous wedding shower.
When it is their turn, you should return the favor.
Each guest should only be invited to one shower.
Wedding Shower Etiquette
Don’t Like Your Wedding Shower Plans?
So you heard that your bridal shower will a barbecue and it’s not really your thing? What do you do? Should you comment and refuse?
No. You smile and remember that someone is making a lot of effort to throw you a party in your honour.
Appreciate how blessed you are.
“Let them have their fun and remember anything they’re doing for you is a gift so you need to be showing gratitude, not attitude.” Miss Manners Wedding Etiquette
Wedding Shower Etiquette
Who Pays For What?
In the traditional bridal shower, the maid of honor and the bridesmaids usually help pay for the bridal shower and the bachelorette party just as the groomsmen pick up the tab for the bachelor party.
So likewise, for a wedding shower, the hosts and group of friends may chip in for the food and drink. They usually also bring presents, so bring on your big smile and etch this wonderful gesture into your heart.
Most likely you’ll be overwhelmed with the thoughtful gesture, so make a speech, a toast to express your gratitude and appreciation.