What Is A Bridal Shower and What Really Happens There?

By Kim •  Updated: 03/02/21 •  5 min read

It is hardly surprising if you are asking what is a bridal shower and what really happens there? The Bridal Shower is just one of five pre-wedding festivities that lead up to the big event and is an important part of any traditional wedding.

The purpose of the bridal shower is to bless the bride’s future with good wishes and prosperous marriage. It is a chance to spoil her with copious amounts of presents and love but planning this special day is not always a straightforward affair.

The first thing to consider when planning a bridal shower is the theme, does your bestie want an extravagant classy celebration or a movie-themed shower! Make sure to liaise with her before buying any decorations. You can find lots of theme and decoration ideas on Pinterest!


Top Tip: Ask the bride to create a board on Pinterest of the style of the event she would like. That way you can hit the nail on the head and still keep an element of surprise.

After the theme has been decided, you need to decide on where you’re going to host this memorable day. Does anyone in the bridal party have a picturesque garden or spectacular patio? What Food and Beverages shall you serve? No bridal shower is complete without free-flowing champagne and a skyscraper of doughnuts!

Four wines in and your guests are of course going to want to play some games, make sure you have some fun wedding-related games ready. A popular game, which is always a winner is to use loo paper to construct the best wedding gown.

Speaking of guests, that is also another very important aspect of planning your bestie’s bridal shower. Who would she like to attend the day and celebrate with?

The last thing to remember when planning your best girl’s shower is, open communication is key. Make sure to keep everyone in the know. Especially the rest of the bridal party to avoid duplicate events or present buying.


What Is Supposed to Happen at a Bridal Shower?

During the shower, there is no fixed order that activities should necessarily be completed in but it is common to have a portion of the afternoon for the present opening.

As you may have gathered by now, bridal showers tend to involve a bountiful of drinking and fun activities. You can start the afternoon with a few wedding-themed games followed by lunch. The lunch can have as many courses as you deem necessary or you can create a buffet-style lunch.

When bellies are full, now is a great time for the present opening ceremony. This is where the bride will open her gifts one by one in front of her nearest and dearest.

Top Tip: It is useful if one of the bridesmaids writes a log of who gave her which present so at a later date she can write some thank you letters.

Who is Invited to a Bridal Shower?

The Bridal shower is a female-only event to honor the bride. Invitees should include the close family of the bride and the groom and all of the bridal party. The average bridal shower has around 20 – 40 guests but as a rule of thumb, no one outside of the wedding guest list should be invited to the bridal shower.


Do You Bring a Gift to a Bridal Shower?

It is customary to buy a present for the Bride to be and is the reason why bridal showers were coined back in the 1500s. The inception of the ‘bridal shower’ was to aid the couple getting wed by helping them pay for the wedding and procure items they would need to start their new life together.

This tradition still carries forward today and some couples even decide to have a gift registry, which is a list of desired items that engages would like as wedding gifts.

It is not compulsory to buy from the list but guests can do so if they want to. It is also a great way to see if anyone else has already purchased that gift and for the couple to get exactly what they want. A great gift can even be something she might need for the actual wedding that she has not yet got herself.

Top Tip: Consider grouping your money together and getting the Bride the ultimate present!

What Is the Difference between a Wedding Shower and a Bridal Shower?

A wedding shower more commonly referred to as a Jack and Jill shower is where the bride and groom collectively celebrate instead of just the bride and her party. It is a modern take on the classic bridal shower and is growing in popularity.


When Do You Throw a Bridal Shower?

The celebration should take place on a weekend afternoon approximately 12 weeks (3 months) to 2 weeks before the wedding. Try to pick a day where the whole bridal party is available as well as the star of the show herself! Having the shower a few months before the big day can help spread out the cost and help to squeeze all the pre-martial festivities in.

Invitations for the bridal shower should be sent out 4-6 weeks before the shower to allow for sufficient time for RSVPs. Invitations can be sent in the form of paper invites or online e-invites. Either way, the host’s contact information should be included on the invites, in case of an emergency or to answer any questions.

Who Plans the Bridal Shower?

The event is typically organized by the maid of honor as in the past, it was seen as bad manners to have a family member arrange the shower. This was because there used to be a stigma that guests would assume the family was asking for gifts.

Thankfully times have changed and it is perfectly acceptable to have your family plan the gathering If you want!).

We hope this guide has helped explain Bridal shower etiquette and plan an unforgettable day!

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Right off we have to say that Kim loves weddings! Kim is a writer and editor who focuses on various aspects of how to make your wedding both unique and special. She loves dogs and is the pet parent of a Miniature Schnauzer named Finley. Together, Kim and her dog enjoy hiking across the countryside of the Sangre de Cristo range in New Mexico. She especially loves the area around Red River, which is referred to as the Enchanted Circle. When she’s home, Kim is excited to try redecorating her home, binge watching Netflix (Romcoms, of course), baking, and spending time with friends.