As your wedding day approaches, you’ll also have several pre-wedding events to look forward to. One of the biggest of these is the shower, but before you start making a guest list or shopping for a cute outfit, you have to answer the major question: Who hosts a bridal shower? Turns out there are quite a few people in your life who can throw a bridal shower for you, so it’s important to figure out right off the bat who’s going to take the lead. Usually someone will volunteer to host your bridal shower pretty early on, and it’s not-ideal etiquette to directly ask someone to host. Once the official party planner has been chosen, that person or group of people will work to plan every aspect of your shower—with your input, of course—and likely take on most of the expenses, as well.
Here, we’ve listed all of the answers to the “who hosts the bridal shower” question, from the most common (and etiquette-appropriate) hostess, to the least.
Your Maid of Honor
When it comes to the question “who hosts a bridal shower,” the most popular answer is usually the maid of honor. One of the most important maid of honor duties is leading the charge to plan the bridal shower, from choosing a venue to sending out invitations, planning games to choosing favors. This is a major responsibility (and expense), so as a bride, it’s essential to select a maid of honor you think is up for the challenge.
If you’re not having a maid of honor or even if you are, your bridesmaids may choose to work as a team to host your bridal shower. Splitting up the planning tasks and expense can help make the process somewhat less stressful and defray some of the costs—the average bridesmaid spends $151 on hosting a bridal shower, and that doesn't include the gift, which usually runs about $88 (seriously!). Having your bridesmaids plan your bridal shower as a group works particularly well if most of your bridal party lives in the same city or town—planning a bridal shower from afar can be a bit more complicated, but still totally doable.
Hosting a bridal shower can be an expensive endeavor, and it may be difficult for your ‘maids to afford the costs. In this case, your family friends might volunteer to host your bridal shower. These are usually friends of your parents who may have more established incomes and savings, so hosting a shower would put less of a dent on your budget. While having family friends host your bridal shower isn’t necessarily “tradition,” it’s still totally okay from an etiquette perspective. And if these are family friends you’ve known since childhood, they’ll likely be thrilled to plan this special occasion for you.
Friends of Your In-Laws
If you and your future spouse have different hometowns, you might learn that friends of your in-laws want to throw you a bridal shower in your in-laws’ city or town. Having two bridal showers is totally okay, and it’s actually a nice way for your in-laws’ friends to welcome you into their crew. One note on having two bridal showers: Try to keep the guest lists as separate as possible, so people don’t feel forced to purchase two gifts or travel to two events. Of course, your closest relatives and bridal party should be on both guest lists, but don’t be miffed if they don’t attend both celebrations.
This is where things start to get a bit tricky. So technically, it’s an etiquette no-no to have relatives host a bridal shower, because it kinda looks like a direct plea for gifts. However, in today’s day and age, it’s becoming more and more common for a bride’s relatives to host the bridal shower—and it’s really not frowned upon. This works particularly well if members of your non-immediate family throw the shower, like aunts or cousins.
Your Future Mother-in-Law
While not as optimal from an etiquette perspective, if your mother-in-law wants to throw you a bridal shower herself, it’s really okay. She may want to host an event in her hometown as a way to introduce you to her relatives and friends, so even if you’re not in love with the idea of being the center of attention, you’ll likely have to suck it up for this event. If you’re really against the idea of your mother-in-law throwing you a shower, you might politely say something like, “I really appreciate you thinking of me, but a shower isn’t necessary!” But really, she’ll probably insist on hosting an event in your honor, so be prepared.
Again, having your mom host your bridal shower is not ideal etiquette. But do mothers-of-the-bride host showers for their daughters? Absolutely, so if this is the case for you, don’t sweat it and be grateful that you have a mom who’s willing to spend the money to throw you yet another event (especially if she’s already chipping in for your big day).