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The How-To Lounge: Shower Etiquette

After your engagement parties are a thing of the past, it's time to continue your wedding celebration with bridal showers. To read up on wedding shower etiquette

  • The maid of honor usually plans at least one bridal shower, but if she lives out of state, it is OK for another bridesmaid or family member to do the honors
  • Bridal showers take place at least 4-6 weeks before the wedding and are a time for the bride, and her female friends, to celebrate and give gifts before the big day. It is considered poor etiquette to invite guests to your shower that are not invited to the wedding so keep your showers small and intimate
  • Be sure to send individual invitations just as you would to any other event leading up to your wedding
  • Guests should include everyone in the bridal party, female family members, mother of the bride and groom, close friends and co-workers
  • Most showers have themes so the guests will know what gift to bring. Most common themes are linen showers, lingerie showers, kitchen showers, etc. Be sure to include where you are registered with your invitation
  • Be sure to appoint a bridesmaid or family member the role of gift recorder so you can be sure to send thank you notes to the appropriate guests
  • Many bridal showers start off with shower games (dress the bride, how well do you know your mate, etc) to get people acquainted with each other and to set the mood of the event
  • Couples showers are also a way to blend the sexes in celebration and a way to keep things less formal. Bridal showers are typically thrown during the day and couples showers at night, which tend to take on the same form as an engagement party

While there will be many parties you will be invited to, you shouldn't feel obligated to attend every one. Have fun and party on!


Join The Conversation
Marci Marci 10 years
I second everything cubadog said.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I hate the games people play at showers. I think they are so dumb. Fortunately most of my friends feel the same way and have banned them. When and if I get married there will be NO games. Yuck! I am shocked by the number of people that include the registy written on the invite tacky!
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
As a wedding coordinator I would advise anyone throwing a shower not to put the registry info on the invite itself unless it was part of the theme. I feel it is acceptable in that case, as do most wedding experts. You are right about people going with the "everyone else does it" mentality, fasin8me. I have been to a few showers and received a few wedding invitations that had me dropping my jaw due to the lack of tact & etiquette.
facin8me facin8me 10 years
I'm going to defer to an expert here, who advises a separate insert for registry information but never putting this information directly on the invitation as has been mentioned here. From Do include registry information on a separate sheet in the envelope with the shower invitation, but not on the invitation itself. The theme of the shower (Kitchen, bath, lingerie) may be noted on the invitation, but color preferences or sizes should be noted on a separate insert.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
facin8me, you are correct that registry info shouldn't be printed on the invite for the wedding and that it should be spread via word of mouth. However, etiquette is different for showers. Showers themselves are to "shower" the bride with gifts and it is considered acceptable to include the information with shower invites. It is best to add it as a seperate insert or to hand write it on a pre-made invite, but the person giving the shower can put the registry details directly on the invite.
facin8me facin8me 10 years
Most etiquette guides (emily post, amy vanderbilt, miss manners, etc.) advise that you not put where you are registered on your invitations, wedding shower or otherwise. It creates the appearance that you expect a gift, or that a gift that somebody was going to buy for you isn't good enough if it isn't on your list. Generally, registry information is supposed to be spread through word-of-mouth (like your great aunt Mildred will call your mom to find out where you're registered) or on the internet (for the tech savvy). Some people feels that "everybody does it," so it must have become ok, but there are many, many people who feel put off by this kind of behavior. Just read Dear Abby or Miss Manners for proof.
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
Lemuse, I think your feelings are justified. I think its very rude of the bridesmaid to invite you to the shower when you're not invited to the wedding. That's just weird!
summer-roberts summer-roberts 10 years
I would agree with the time line of 6-8 weeks out. This also gives you time to adjust your gift registries before the wedding.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
My advice for people planning showers is to make sure you check with the bride about dates and start planning ahead of time. I had too many showers (lots of family who didn't want to combine!) and two of them happened way too close to the wedding. Being an appreciative bride I didn't complain. :) It was definitely a challenge to fit them in my schedule since I was taking care of the stuff you can only do at the last minute, preparing to move, and trying to find time not to be a soon to be bride. I would suggest having a shower 8 weeks out. It gives the bride and groom time to do what needs to be done, send thank you cards, and relax a little.
lemuse20 lemuse20 10 years
I must say, don't ever send out an invitation to someone you've only met once. I got one a few weeks ago from some chick I've met once and who I only know her fiance and not even that well, it was just screaming, "I'm using you to get more gifts!" I wasn't even invited to reception! Needless to say, I did not RSVP. I hate to sound bitter, but Im just saying... that's what it looks like from my end of the rope.
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