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The How-To Lounge: Bridal Shower Etiquette

Traditionally a bridal shower is an opportunity for women to get together to "shower" the bride in the presents that she’ll need to make a home. While certainly times have changed in terms of wedding etiquette, generally, bridal showers have remained the same. To find out some basic shower etiquette and ways to make this traditional event more contemporary,


  • Typically the shower is thrown and planned by the maid of honor and/or a female relative — the bride’s mother may be involved in the planning, but she's not in charge of the occasion.
  • Women who are not invited to the wedding should not be asked to attend the bridal shower. However, of the wedding invitees, feel free to ask everyone from coworkers to great-grandmothers.
  • Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to have a co-ed shower, which is usually thrown at night and is more similar to a traditional engagement party. But if you're planning the occasion, be sure to check in with the bride and groom and see what works for them.
  • Showers usually take place four to eight weeks before the wedding day in order to ensure the bride isn’t completely overwhelmed with scheduling right before the big day. If multiple showers are being thrown, the more time that’s given the better. You want the bride’s shower to be special, not another thing she has to stress over.
  • Formal invitations are expected for bridal showers. If you're following a specific theme, make sure to either utilize it in the look of the invitation or mention it within. While the invites can include an insert mentioning the couple’s website and gift registry, it's best not to include that information on the invitation itself.
  • Though many showers incorporate games and themes, neither of these are necessary. Just make sure that whatever is chosen works for the brides and keeps in mind that women of all ages will be attending.

Bridal showers may not be as exciting a bachelorette party, but they should still be fun, so don't be afraid to think outside of the box and try something totally untraditional!

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Join The Conversation
Melo-D Melo-D 9 years
Mazda, I love that game!!! The showers I've been to are crazy! We have a theme of keep it spicy. Lol. One game we had three manual balloon pumps and balloons. Three woman come up and race to see who can blow the balloon up the fastest. Lol. Hilarious. One time we had someone blow up the balloon with there mouth because we didn't have the last pump. Lol. In between games, we let someone tell their engagement or wedding day story and before the bride opens her gifts we vote for the best story. Other than that the gift opening is the best part because all the women I know are crazy and buy risque gifts! LOL! Keep is SPICY!!!
mazdagirluk mazdagirluk 9 years
One more etiquette item: don't wear a white top or dress to the shower! Don't want people thinking you are trying to be the bride ;) The bride doesn't have to wear white to her shower, but I know some of my friends have to include the "bride white" in the shower as well as the wedding. One of my fav games is you count off the group into random groups of 4-5 women. You give each one roll of toliet paper and they are to design a wedding gown on a volunteer in their group! Put each group into a different room in the home so they can't see each other. Then have a fashion show of the toliet paper dresses!
designerel designerel 9 years
At the bridal shower I attended recently, there were a few games played. There was one in which all guests wore a mini decorated clothespin and none of us were allowed to say the words "wedding," "bride," "groom," "shower" and I forget what else. If you did, the person who called you out on it got to steal your pin. The one with the most at the end of the shower won a prize. Then there was wedding-related bingo-- standard but still fun. Another game was to take a piece of paper and place it on top of your head. Holding the sheet of paper there, draw the best wedding dress you can. The bride then judges the drawings and picks the best one. Kinda odd, but I won that one so I liked it haha. The last game we played, each of us was given two slips of paper. On one, we were supposed to write a question and the other the answer to it. It was supposed to be wedding/marriage-related advice, such as: Q: What's the best way to get your husband to stop snoring? A: Put a pillow over his face. It's just meant to be funny. Then we put the questions in one bag, the answers in the other and drew one question and one answer randomly, and read them aloud. It made for some crazy Q and A's. Lastly, the groom ended up crashing our shower by accident because he thought we'd all left so it was safe to show up. One of the bridesmaids cornered him and asked some "how well do you know each other" questions, so she could ask the bride and see if she'd get them right.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
nextjen - those are cute ideas!!
nextjen nextjen 9 years
snarkypants asked for some ideas that don't suck. We threw a shower for a friend two weeks ago that I hope didn't suck. One activity was that we thought up a bunch of questions to ask the groom ahead of time and we video taped it (with the digital camera). Then we got the bride to sit near the TV and we would play my friend asking the question and then pause it. She would answer and then we would start playing it, and he would answer. It was funny when she got it wrong but sometimes it was funny when she actually knew it. I've used a similar activity in the past that doesn't require a camera or TV, and you get the bride to eat a Hubba Bubba every time she gets one wrong. At the end her mouth is so full of gum that she can't answer the questions. It's funny. We also played pictionary. You just need an easel and a flipchart or a whiteboard and markers. Come up with songs, movies and phrases related to weddings and get the guests to draw and guess Some we used were "Here Comes the Bride", "The Wedding Singer" "always a bridesmaid, never a bride." If you have lots of good food and a good crowd of people you won't need many games.
Phunkometry Phunkometry 9 years
I don't know how everyone else does showers, but we're Italian (I'm first gen Italian American, though), as are all of our friends (by "our", I mean my parents') and so everything, from the moment the couple gets engaged to after the honeymoon is way exaggerated. It is expected, for the wedding, that you give a huge amount of money, aside from the shower gift, which my mom and I never spend less than $150-200 on. The showers are huge and at banquet halls, and it is a known fact that every woman who is invited to the wedding is also invited to the shower. And it is always a surprise. The next wedding we have to attend, which is in Sept., has a shower in June. She is registered at two different stores, and the one store that we went to for her, the registry was -- I kid you not -- TWENTY-ONE PAGES LONG. (Thank goodness it was Bed Bath & Beyond so we could use all our 20% off coupons!) The one at the store where we didn't shop had single items costing over $500, and a fireplace in the $1000s. A fireplace. That's like, registering for a bathtub or a walk-in closet. And, so, yeah. That's just for the shower, though. The weddings... oy. All I know is that when my time comes and we have to invite allll those people (because when those old Sicilians get offended, you do NOT want to hear it), they will all think I am so cheap because I will refuse all of this gaudy, exaggerated "traditional" crap! Sorry to any people who I just described who may be reading this!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
emalove, I'd like to hear about those games too! All I know of are the boring ones lol
ash_marisa ash_marisa 9 years
My aunt is throwing me one in MI and my future mother in law and aunt are throwing me one in IL (we live in IN) My MOH is in grad school, as are most of the bridesmaids, so I did not expect them to throw me one. These family members volunteered w/ great enthusiasm, so I'm letting them. It used to be improper for family members to throw these, but now it seems more accepted and the norm. Actually, I have never been to a bridal shower that was exclusively thrown by the MOH, and obviously having connections to 3 states, I've been to a number of them in varying social circles.
drinkerofh2o drinkerofh2o 9 years
My friend is a bridesmaid in a wedding in a few weeks, and the maid of honor insisted the bridesmaids "help" to the point that my friend planned games, prizes, the menu, the music, the invitation list, and set up tables and chairs beforehand. The M.o.H. brought coffee, orange juice, and one bottle of champagne. And my friend couldn't even attend the actual shower because she was out of town! This is pretty much my only wedding story since I'm not likely to be in a wedding party for a long time.
snarkypants snarkypants 9 years
i HATE those lame shower games!!! emalove, i'd love to hear some suggestions for not-lame games! i'm helping one of my friends throw a shower, and we can't for the life of us figure out games that don't suck!
DearSugar DearSugar 9 years
facin8me — You're certainly correct! It was a typo and has been changed to weeks. Thanks!
facin8me facin8me 9 years
Wedding showers traditionally take place 4-8 weeks before the wedding...not months!
emalove emalove 9 years
I think my shower was only 2 months before my wedding. All the showers that I've attended have been closer to the wedding date than 4-8 months. I hadn't even made a registry at that point!! I personally think Jack n' Jill (co-ed) showers are a blast! But they're expensive since you have double the amount of guests...otherwise, I would have gone this route myself. I've attended a zillion all-female bridal showers and some have been great, some have been painful to sit through. I think without any games at all, they are very boring. Watching someone open gifts for hours is not fun. My friends and I are the masters of thinking of fun, creative shower games that people actually want to play (not the usual lame ones). And best of all, it keeps the guests involve and gets them to interact with each other.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I don't necc think I will play games at mine (down the road) but who knows.
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