Bridal Shower Registry Etiquette Lingerie And More
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What is a Bridal Shower: Planning Advice and Etiquette Throw the perfect bridal shower with this planning guide!
Bridal Shower Registry Etiquette Lingerie And More
Jaimie McKee was Real Weddings editor from 2013 to 2015. She also worked as a luxury wedding planner and produced over 100 high-end weddings and events in Colorado.
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The bridal shower is a wedding tradition that dates back to 16th-century Holland when a girl’s father refused to pay a dowry for a marriage he did not approve of. The town rallied and offered small gifts to help her start her household without a dowry. The core of the tradition has remained somewhat intact over the years, and today we often give the couple a housewarming gift.
A bridal shower is a day-long event to celebrate an upcoming wedding. Traditionally, this is an opportunity for guests to present gifts for the home.
The etiquette for these events has definitely changed and changed over time, and it can get a little confusing – from who does the bridal shower to what to write on the shower invitation. That’s why we spoke with etiquette expert Diane Gottesman to get all the answers about what goes into a bridal shower and how to plan one.
Although it can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re tasked with planning the event, remember that it’s a fun way for the bride to celebrate with close friends and family. “Bridal showers are designed to give wishes, congratulations, and a few gifts to the bride,” says Gottesman.
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Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.
As a pre-wedding event, a long-time favorite pre-wedding event, a bridal shower can be both exciting and difficult to plan. From finding a location and choosing shower decorations to choosing a gift the couple will love, this guide has you covered. Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect bridal shower.
Technically, there is no right or wrong way to throw a bridal shower. But this does not mean that there are no generally established standards of behavior. We answer the biggest etiquette questions so you can avoid making a bridal shower faux pas.
“Depending on the bride’s preferences, the host can play some fun games for the guests or skip the games altogether,” says Gottesman. The general outline is usually the same: food, drinks and a chance for the bride to open gifts surrounded by guests. You can follow bridal shower traditions like gift bingo or designing wedding dresses using toilet paper rolls, or you can plan an activity-based shower like a spa day or calligraphy lesson. Don’t like the idea of opening presents in front of everyone? Speak! The gifts can be kept separate so you can open them at home with your future partner.
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As for your partner, they usually arrive at the end of the shower (with flowers in tow) to quickly greet the guests before they leave. It’s a sweet way to include them in your celebration as well as guarantee a gift home.
Bridal showers are becoming popular as a more inclusive alternative to bridal showers. If a bridal shower is traditionally a pre-wedding event reserved for the bride and her female friends and family, the wedding shower is a co-ed celebration.
Typically, a bridal shower is held two to six months before the wedding. Choose a date that’s convenient for the bride and her guests, even if that means hosting something more advanced or planning a trip home to coincide with another engagement. – with this one, like a bachelorette party on a rainy afternoon the other night.
A bridal shower is usually hosted by the maid of honor, a close friend, the bride’s attendant or maid of honor. Whoever is hosting, be sure to communicate clearly to make sure you’re not planning two identical showers. Traditional etiquette dictates that a mother or mother-in-law (or any relative for that matter) should refrain from hosting because it can be seen as directly asking for a gift. However, today it is becoming more common and is completely acceptable for everyone as far as hosting is concerned.
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If family members are not available to help with planning, assistants should step in to help take care of some of the arrangements.
Without it being a complete surprise, the person having the shower will usually provide some basic information about what they want at their event. The host will ask about the desired theme, guest list details, dates, times, locations, activities and other ideas to know where to start. It is up to the host or hosts to use that input to bring the rain to life.
As with other pre-wedding events, the guest list should be limited to those invited to the wedding. “You can invite anyone you want from the wedding guest list. Keep the guest list short and manageable, don’t have multiple showers and don’t invite the same people to multiple showers,” Gottesman said. “If a man isn’t invited to a wedding, he shouldn’t be invited to a shower.”
For a bridal shower, it usually includes the bridal party and the couple’s family and close friends. The number invited depends on how big the purpose of the event is. If the shower is going to be a surprise, the maid of honor and mother of the bride should come together to create a guest list that they think the bride will be happy with. If not, they can help the bride with the guest list and then keep the rest of the planning a secret.
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Ideally, invitations should be sent by mail or email four to six weeks before the bridal shower. Be sure to include the bride’s name, date, time, location, registry information, RSVP method, and the names of anyone hosting.
A bridal shower can be as formal or casual as you like, but it’s a good idea to include some sort of invitation guide. “There is no specific dress code,” Gottesman said. “But it’s always better to dress up than to dress down.” If the event has no hint of formality, it may be more comfortable to look overdressed than underdressed. If the unity of your shower photos is important to you, it’s a good idea to think about what the guests will be wearing and make a note somewhere inside the invitation.
If the bride still lives close to home, the shower can be held in her hometown. Does the bride live in another state? Rather than asking the entire guest list to fly in, it may be easier for most of the guests to travel to the shower if they live locally. The specific location depends on the type of shower and the budget of the host. This can be at a friend or family member’s home or backyard, a local restaurant, or a more specific location if the shower has a theme (such as a cooking school or wine tasting).
Regardless of the date chosen, make sure the bride sets up the wedding registry before sending out invitations so guests can purchase gifts.
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It’s not necessary, but it’s a fun way to add personality to the party. The theme can be as simple as a cohesive, rustic decor, or you can go for a day at the spa together. Some of our favorite themes include a bridal tea party, a Disney-themed shower, or a Paris-influenced affair.
It is not necessary. A real wedding registry can also work for a bridal shower. However, if it is an undergarment shower, a separate registration will be required if the bride wants to register for specific undergarments. As a bridal shower guest, it is polite to purchase a shower gift from the registry.
The first step in planning a bridal shower is budgeting for the entire process. This includes food, beverages, decorations, venue, rental, event design, photography, videography and any other vendor or planning expenses. Depending on the type of shower and what the bride wants, a typical bridal shower can cost anywhere from $10 to over $100 per person. These costs are borne by the person hosting the bridal shower, although sometimes helpers or family members may offer to chip in.
Consult with the bride and choose a date that is suitable for them and matches the wedding timeline. Aim for at least two months before the wedding. Keep in mind other wedding events such as bachelor/bachelorette parties, which some couples plan for the night of the shower.
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Get the necessary invitation list from the bride and do the same as you prepare the entire party guest list. Recheck the bride and approve the list in front of you
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