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All About Bridal Showers
As the bride, you won’t be planning your own bridal shower, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect (especially if your maid of honor is slow on the draw).
Read on for everything you need to know about bridal showers…
What Is It
Traditionally, a bridal shower is an opportunity for your close female friends and relatives to “shower” you with items you’ll need to make a new home and enter into marriage. In fact, bridal showers are really the only wedding related event explicitly centered on gift giving. Like many events and customs surrounding weddings, the rules for bridal showers have bended a bit. Guest lists often include male attendants, and gifts don’t necessarily have to consist of hand towels and kitchen appliances.
When Is It
Showers typically take place a few weeks or months before the wedding but can really occur any time that’s convenient for the group to gather. If you have a lot of long distance bridesmaids, they may choose to plan the shower and bachelorette party over the same day or weekend.
Your maid- or matron-of-honor traditionally plans and hosts the bridal shower, enlisting the help and input of the other bridesmaids. It’s typically viewed as impolite and self-serving for your close family members (mom and sis) to host the bridal shower, since it’s a gift giving event. The etiquette around this has relaxed somewhat, however, especially if your maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids live far away and are unable to host.
The guest list includes all your bridesmaids, your mom, sister(s), and other family members, as well as your fiancé’s close female relatives. Other friends and even co-workers may attend. As couples showers are becoming more popular, spouses and the groom’s attendants are also joining in the fun. Really, the only rule pertaining to the shower guest list is that everyone invited to the shower must also receive a wedding invitation. (etiquette says: if they’re important enough to attend the shower – and bring a gift - then they’re important enough to attend the main event). Make sure to consult with your shower hostess before she sends the invites to make sure your guest lists match.
Where Is It
The style of the party will usually dictate the location, so feel free to have your maids get creative with the shower venue. Here are some ideas: a tea room, a garden, a park, a backyard, a friend’s house, any restaurant or function space.
What Happens - Bridal Shower Games
Since bridal showers center on gift giving, you’ll usually open your gifts surrounded by your guests. One bridesmaid will keep track of who gave what to help you with thank-yous after the event. Another shower custom is the mock “bouquet,” which the bridesmaids will create out of the package ribbons and bows for you to carry down the aisle at the wedding rehearsal. Planned activities and games are a traditional shower staple, but don’t feel restricted to the typical “pin the tail on the groom” or “toilet paper wedding dress.” Other requisite shower activities include – eating, laughing, and a little female bonding.
Ideas & Trends
Incorporating a theme can make planning a bridal shower easier and more fun, so if you have something in mind, feel free to consult with your maid-of-honor or bridesmaids. Remember, the bridal shower doesn’t necessarily have to be a girly tea party. If you’re not that type of girl, there are tons of options for themes based on your interests, whatever they may be - reading, gardening, outdoor activities, volunteerism, you name it.
Bridal Showers - Six Ideas for More Meaningful Shower Celebrations
Take back your bridal shower with these unique shower ideas designed to nourish your mind, body and soul.
Where did we get the idea that sitting in a circle and opening hand towels or scandalous underthings was the best way for a woman to spend some quality time with female friends and family before her wedding? Somehow a bridal shower focused on kitchenware and awkward games seems to fall short of adequately preparing a bride-to-be for the significant transition involved in getting married.
Looking for a more meaningful way to usher yourself – or your friend – into marriage? Here are some ideas and rituals that will help the bride come away from her shower feeling nourished and connected with herself and her friends.
Showers for a Cause
The bride doesn’t necessarily have to be the one getting showered with gifts. Instead, shower for a greater cause, and give something back with a day dedicated to a charitable contribution that holds special meaning to the bride.
Green Bridal Shower –
Have a shower focused not on the exchange of tangible gifts, but rather on the exchange of heartfelt gifts like advice, emotions and feelings. Using the bridal shower to involve sharing and listening will help the bride connect with her friends and her own feelings about the wedding and marriage.
Memory Lane Shower
Have a shower focused on reminiscing shared memories and friendships. This pseudo-separation ritual will help the bride reconnect with her old self as she prepares to take on a new identity.
Break out the PJs, sleeping bags, and tubs of ice cream – it’s time for some serious female bonding. A slumber party is another great way for the bride to revel in that special connection she has with the women in her life, and it affords her an encouraging setting to share openly any feelings she has about her upcoming marriage. Consider incorporating some of the above ideas into the slumber party – such as exchanging advice or creating a scrapbook.
John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Constantine Cavafy, Robert Frost, Robert Herrick… treat a bride with a passion for the literary arts with a feast of beautiful poetry. Have all attendees bring a poem containing wisdom or sentiment about love or marriage, and take turns reading. The evening will be intellectually enriching and inspiring.
Some brides-to-be may cringe at the thought of an emotionally vulnerable shower of intimate bonding. Instead, taking to the outdoors can be a powerful alternative for an emotional and physical release. Enjoy a day of hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing, biking, ropes course – you name it. Successfully accomplishing these challenging outdoor activities can act as a symbolic metaphor for entering into marriage – which also requires strength to overcome its own set of challenges.