If you haven’t been to a bridal shower before, you may not know what the event actually entails. Sure, most of us can reasonably understand that the bridal shower is a party for the bride before her wedding, but what is the purpose of a bridal shower? What is expected of guests who attend?
Learn what bridal showers are all about so that you’re prepared to attend, plan, or receive a bridal shower!
So, What’s a Bridal Shower?
A bridal shower is a celebration of the bride-to-be, and is traditionally an all-female party. This party is obviously much smaller than the wedding itself, and generally consists of the bride’s closest female friends and family members.
Bridal shower etiquette typically states that guests bring gifts for the bride’s new home. Other common gifts include family heirlooms, lingerie, or funny gag gifts.
Bridal showers are a much more intimate gathering than a celebration like the wedding reception, and they take place during the day for just a couple hours. Many bridal showers are commonly held on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
Bridal Shower vs. Bachelorette Party
The bridal shower is often confused with the bachelorette party, but the two are very different. While both are parties for the bride that are typically all-female, different activities take place.
The bridal shower is normally hosted during the daytime, and often includes brunch or lunch. Family members like the mother and grandmother of the bride, aunts, and female cousins are typically invited, along with close friends. Gifts are opened and lighthearted games are played.
The bachelorette party, on the other hand, is generally a chance for the bride to let loose a bit more. While everyone’s bachelorette party is different, these parties are usually associated with a night out or even a weekend away with the bridesmaids and other close friends of the bride.
Wedding Shower vs. Bridal Shower
A wedding shower is similar to a bridal shower, but a wedding shower includes the groom and his family and friends.
The wedding shower is a modern alternative to the bridal shower and includes both members of the couple rather than just the bride. Couples can choose between having a wedding shower or a bridal shower, but it isn’t customary to hold both.
What Happens at a Bridal Shower?
Ultimately, bridal showers are about celebrating with the bride-to-be. Guests can expect to enjoy food and drinks, as well as dessert like cake. There are a number of bridal shower games to play, and of course, some of the shower will be spent watching the bride open gifts.
Games and other activities should be tailored to what the bride enjoys as well as being entertained for guests. At venues like spas and vineyards, guests can get a facial, massage, or taste fine wines.
For these venues, you’ll be able to spend less time thinking of creative games. However, even if you’re hosting a bridal shower at your house, there are plenty of simple yet fun activities.
For showers where the couple is both present, you can play the newlywed game to see how well the couple knows each other. To make it more interactive for guests, they can also take their guesses and answer the same questions.
Other games include Two Truths and a Lie or a version of Bingo, where you talk to the guests and learn facts about the others in attendance, like their favorite vacation destination or the fact that they’ve been married for five years, and more. You can make up your own fun facts or find templates for this game online.
If you’d rather pass on the games, you can participate in another activity, like a craft, or stick to simply mingling with other guests.
Purpose of Bridal Showers
The history of the bridal shower is traced back to 16th century Holland, according to World Bride Magazine, and started as an alternative to the traditional dowry.
For brides who could not afford a dowry, or those with fathers that did not approve of the marriage, friends and loved ones would give gifts to the bride. While the dowry has become a thing of the past for many cultures, giving gifts to the bride before the wedding has remained a common tradition.
Today, the purpose of a bridal shower is still to shower the bride with gifts. While some brides choose a less gift-centric bridal shower, it is still a great tradition to get the bride’s closest friends and family together in anticipation of the wedding.
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