Bridal Showers: Our Top 10 Guide to Shower Etiquette
Updated: May 10, 2018
#1 – Thank You
Sending thank you notes is our number one rule of bridal shower etiquette. Couples, write your thank you notes ASAP, and yes the groom should help. Designating a person at the shower to compile a list of who gave you which gifts, is extremely beneficial. The thank you cards should be specific and personalized. The couple should give the host(s) a gift to thank them for being so generous. Suggestions include something small such as a bottle of wine, a box of candy or a plant along with a heartfelt note of thanks.
# 2 – Why to Wait
Although no one wants to consider this possibility, the number one reason to not use your shower or
wedding gifts before the wedding is in case the wedding is cancelled or postponed. At which point, the gifts should be returned to the person who gave them to you. Make toast AFTER the wedding!
# 3 – What to Gift
Opening presents to generate “excitement” and anticipation of the wedding, is a ritual part of the bridal shower(s). For this reason, cash and gift cards do not make great shower gifts and should be advised against.
# 4 – When to Gift
Any guest, bridesmaid and/or family member invited to more than one shower is only obligated to give one gift regardless of how many showers they attend.
# 5 – How Many Guests
The shower shouldn’t be hosted as a huge event which rivals a wedding reception. If you need a cut-off number, I suggest 15 - 25 guests. However, with large immediate families you may need to increase it to 35.
# 6 – Who to Invite
You must invite; Mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and bridesmaids. If hosting a co-ed shower, spouses and male siblings would be included in this list as well. Always check with the bride regarding family dynamics and who may not enjoy spending time together. Remember, family and bridesmaids are often scattered across the country and it isn’t mandatory that they attend each event, even if they are invited.
# 7 – Who Hosts
The Maid/Matron of Honor is typically the one who hosts the bridal shower for the bride, but bridesmaids often join together to help cover expenses.
# 8– Keep It Cozy
Just because they are invited to the wedding, does not mean they need to attend the bridal shower. It’s best to only include those who have a deep relationship with the couple or have known them for an extended period of time.
# 9 – Wedding Guests Only
Unless a person is invited to the wedding, it is inappropriate to ask them to attend your bridal shower. There are a few exceptions; i.e. a co-worker or friend from an organization you participate in wants to host an event for you.
# 10 – Timing Matters
Host no sooner than 2 months before the wedding date and no later than 2 weeks prior.