Bridal shower invitation bride with red nails calligraphy

Photo: Rachel May Photography

# The Top Bridal Shower Etiquette Questions, Answered!
The bridal shower is a time to gather together and celebrate the bride with food, gifts, games, and praise. Whether you’re planning the shower or the guest of honor, there are several etiquette dilemmas that may arise. Check out some of our top tips on ensuring a smooth shower-planning process!

Bridal Shower Hosts

Typically, the bridal party (led by the maid of honor) plans and hosts the bridal shower. However, under certain circumstances, family friends or family members can also host the shower. In years past, it was considered inappropriate for family members to host a bridal shower because it was viewed as greedily asking for gifts, but these days, etiquette rules are more flexible.

The Bridal Shower Guest List

We recommend sticking to those who are invited to the wedding when it comes to creating the bridal shower guest list. Whether you agree with it or not, everyone who is invited to the shower will expect a wedding invitation as well, so it’s best to avoid hurt feelings. The only exception would be office bridal showers thrown by your co-workers, who may or not be invited to the big event. And you should not invite the whole wedding guest list to the shower—only invite your nearest and dearest.

Sharing Registry Information

One of the biggest bridal shower no-no’s is including registry information directly on the invitation—it’s seen as a too-direct demand for gifts. A better alternative would be to print the couple’s wedding website address on an insert and then including registry information on the website. It’s a little indirect, but a far better option, etiquette-wise.

Bridal Shower Timing

Usually, bridal showers are held at least a month before the wedding day. Holding the shower any closer might end up being stressful for the bride, rather than fun (she will probably have a lot of last-minute tasks to handle!). Two months pre-wedding is an ideal timeframe, but even further in advance is acceptable as well.

Bridal Shower Guests Who Can’t Attend

If you can’t attend a bridal shower, it’s a nice gesture to send a gift—though you don’t have to. We would recommend sending a gift if you are a close family member or friend, and especially if you’re in the wedding party. A nice alternative would be send flowers with a nice card to the bride on the morning of her shower if you can’t be there.

Can I Have More then One Shower?

Yes, brides these days may find that there are two, three, or even more bridal showers hosted in her honor. Examples would include one thrown by the bridesmaids in her hometown, one thrown by her future-in-laws’ friends in her spouse’s hometown, and a shower thrown by co-workers. Note that if a guest is invited to multiple showers, he/she doesn’t have to bring a gift to each one—only the first event is fine.

Can I Have a Couples’ Shower?

Sure! In this case, it’s called a “wedding shower,” not a “bridal shower.” The same etiquette rules typically apply for both a bridal and wedding shower, except the groom and groomsmen get in on the fun. A wedding shower also provides ample opportunity for some fun couple-focused games.

What to Wear to a Bridal Shower

Remember, this is a bridal shower, not a bachelorette party. The guest of honor and guests should wear more conservative attire, from dresses to dressy slacks and tops. But be sure to take note of the timing and location, as well as the season, when choosing what to wear.

When to Send Bridal-Shower Thank-You Notes

The guest of honor should plan on sending handwritten thank-you notes to all bridal shower guests ideally within two weeks of the event. We also recommend sending a small gift to the person or people who hosted the shower, in addition to a handwritten thank you note that shares your appreciation for their planning the shower.