Bridal shower etiquette

22 October 2015
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Bridal showers present a great opportunity for the bride-to-be to bond with all the ladies nearest and dearest to her before her big day. But sometimes the planning of the shower itself can be confusing. Who throws it? What should be invited? Below are a few pointers on throwing a bridal shower.


According to tradition, a shower should not be thrown by the bride’s immediate relatives, such as her mother, future mother-in-law, or sister, since it may leave an impression that they are asking for gifts. But this is changing and it's perfectly acceptable for a family member to host a shower these days. Quite often the maid of honor or another good friend hosts, or several people—often bridesmaids—share the responsibility.

It is common for a bride to have more than one shower; when this happens, the hosts should consult one another about guest lists to avoid duplication (though bridesmaids are typically invited, though not expected, to attend both). Showers are generally held from a couple of months to a couple of weeks before the wedding.

Regardless of who throws the shower, the host should be on hand—alongside the bride—to meet guests as they enter the party.


Whether your hosts are inviting 18 guests or 80, "the invites should go out a month to six weeks in advance," says celebrity planner and lifestyle expert Mindy Weiss. As for who makes the cut? Since showers are intended for the bride's nearest and dearest, every shower guest must already be on the wedding guest list.

Because it is understood that guests should bring a present to a shower, it is not appropriate to invite people whom you don't plan to include in the wedding. One noted exception is an office shower; it is not usually possible to invite all of your colleagues to the wedding, but they may want to help you celebrate nonetheless.

The idea is to have light, dainty finger foods that will satisfy your guests, but won't leave a huge mess, or be laborious to prepare. Avoid heavy, carb laden foods that will leave the guests tired. A popular bridal shower food is cucumber sandwiches. Try mini quiches, baguettes, light salads. For dessert, cake and tarts are a really good option.


A good time to throw the shower for the bride is six weeks to a month before the wedding. Since it is expected that every guest should bring a gift, it's courteous to give them allowance to sort out their finances to buy a gift. It also gives sufficient notice so they don't make other plans for the day.

Whether you're throwing a bridal shower for someone in your life or you are the bride-to-be, as long as all the people present are special to the bride, it should be great and create lovely memories for all.