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how to plan a bridal shower

Bridal Shower Etiquette for Guests and the Bride

New to bridal showers? If you’ve just been invited to your first bridal shower, or you’re a bridesmaid for the first time, worry not! We’ll break down the basics of bridal shower etiquette so that you can show up to the shower fully prepared.

Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Bride

The bride plays a relatively hands-off role in her bridal shower. The bride does not help plan the shower, as the shower is a sort of gift to the bride. Whoever plans the shower can choose to make it as much of a surprise as they wish. If the bride enjoys surprises, the whole shower can be a surprise, so long as the bride is free on the day of! Other brides may want to know more information like the date, theme, guests, and other details of the itinerary.

The bride’s most important job for her shower is simply to show up! It is also expected that she opens gifts at the shower. Following the shower, be sure to send thank you notes in a timely manner. It’s best to get bridal shower thank you notes out of the way before the wedding, otherwise you’ll have to worry about writing notes for both the shower and the big day itself.

Bridal Shower Etiquette for Guests 

If you’ve been invited to your first bridal shower, you may not know what to expect. Some may even ask themselves, “What IS a bridal shower?”

If you receive a bridal shower invitation, the first – and most important – step is to RSVP. If you can’t attend due to a prior commitment, respectfully decline your invitation. Otherwise, it is generally expected that you attend. Bridal shower guest lists are smaller than a wedding guest list, so if you’re invited then you’re likely a close friend or relative of the bride or groom.

Read on to learn more about gift etiquette for bridal showers so that you can show up prepared!

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

You may already know a bit about wedding gift etiquette, but what about bridal shower gift etiquette?  

Do You Bring a Gift to a Bridal Shower?

Yes, you should bring a gift to a bridal shower. One of the main purposes of a bridal shower, traditionally, is to shower the bride in gifts. Unless your invitation says otherwise, you should plan to bring a present. 

How Much to Spend on a Bridal Shower Gift

You don’t have to spend as much on a gift for the bridal shower, but don’t show up empty-handed. For the wedding shower, spend around $50 on a gift. A good range for wedding shower gifts is anywhere between $25 to $100. If you’re close with the bride or couple, you should spend more on bridal shower and wedding gifts. 

Bridal Shower Gift vs. Wedding Gift

Your bridal shower gift should be smaller, or less expensive, than a wedding gift. The wedding is the main event, so expect to spend a bit more on the official wedding gift for the couple.

It is expected, of course, that you buy both a shower gift and a wedding gift. The two can follow a similar theme, or they can be completely unrelated. The wedding gift is typically easier, as you can refer to the registry for wedding gift ideas.

Bridal Shower Gift Ideas

If you aren’t sure what to buy as a wedding shower gift, start by going through the couple’s wedding registry. Including a link to the wedding registry on your invitations can be helpful, but save this for the end of the invite. Some items on the registry might be more expensive. You can either for a cheaper gift for the bridal shower or split a higher-end item with another guest.

If you know the couple or bride well, you can go off-registry. Homemade gifts are also an excellent, thoughtful option. If the happy couple doesn’t have a wedding registry, you can be more creative with your presents, like gifting them a set of cooking classes.

Gift etiquette also applies to the bride when it comes to bridal showers. After the party, the bride or couple should send out thank-you cards to all of the guests. While opening presents, the maid of honor or bridesmaid should help the bride keep track of what each guest gave. Adding a little personalization to each thank-you card makes them more sincere and genuine.

It’s important to thank your guests for their support during this important time in your life! The bride or couple can also give a small gift to the host of the wedding shower as a thank-you. 


Planning a wedding shower is a team effort. Consult with the bride-to-be, and don’t be afraid to break tradition by hosting a couple’s shower. There are endless options for venues, themes, and activities, so plan according to the bride or couple’s preferences and wedding style. Above all, remember to enjoy yourself and focus on celebrating the big day!

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Sophia Lo

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