Bridal showers are a traditional part of wedding planning. They are definitely a fun part, but there is a lot of etiquette that goes along with them. To be sure no one’s feelings are hurt, it is best to know this etiquette ahead of time and adhere to it as best as possible.
Who should host?
Etiquette typically places this obligation on bridesmaids, but modern tradition tends to have showers hosted by aunts and family friends, while the bridesmaids host a bachelorette party (an event that usually doesn’t include older relatives). If there isn’t another host though, a shower does fall to the bridesmaids as well.
It is generally not acceptable for the mother of the bride to throw a shower, because everyone brings gifts, and it’s not thought to be proper for a mother to ask others to bring her daughter gifts.
Who pays for the shower?
The hosts of the shower typically split the cost. They should therefore discuss how much everyone is comfortable spending ahead of time, so there aren’t issues later. If the bridesmaids are throwing the shower, it may be primarily hosted by the maid of honor, but the bridesmaids usually all split the cost. Again, this should be agreed upon previous to the planning.
Who is invited?
Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, bridesmaids, female cousins and friends are all typical invitees. No one should be invited to the shower that won’t be invited to the wedding. The only exceptions to this are if the couple is having a destination wedding, or in the case of an office shower.
Couples showers are common today, and in that case, guys and the groom’s friends are invited as well.
If the bride is having more than one shower, it’s best to discuss the guest lists with the bride or other hosts. They can be split so guests don’t feel obligated to go to multiple parties or buy multiple gifts.
When should it take place?
Traditionally they were held one to three month ahead of the wedding, but that isn’t strict at all. It really depends on what is convenient for the bride, host, and even the guests. If people don’t live close together, having it around the holidays when a lot of people are around is often a good idea.
What about the invitations?
Paper invitations are still the way to go for showers. Evites and Facebook events are easy and generally acceptable to Generation X. Weddings though, involve several generations, many of whom don’t have email addresses and Facebook accounts. For this reason, and for the proper formality of such an event, paper and the post office are still the best option for bridal showers.