Celebrating the Bride-to-Be: A Guide to Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower

A bridal shower is a cherished tradition, a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate the bride-to-be in the joyous lead-up to her wedding day. Steeped in history and filled with modern adaptations, bridal showers offer a chance to shower the bride with love, gifts, and well wishes as she embarks on a new chapter in her life.

What is a Bridal Shower?

Traditionally, a bridal shower is a party thrown in honor of the bride-to-be, typically hosted by a close friend or family member (often the maid of honor or mother of the bride). It’s a chance for the bride’s female friends and relatives to come together, celebrate her upcoming nuptials, and offer her support and advice for married life.

The focus of the event is on gift-giving, with guests presenting the bride with items that will help her establish her new home with her spouse. However, the celebration extends beyond just presents. Bridal showers are a time for shared laughter, heartfelt moments, and creating lasting memories before the big day.

The History of Bridal Showers

The tradition of bridal showers has evolved. While the exact origin remains unclear, some theories trace its roots back to 16th-century Europe. Some believe it stemmed from the practice of dowries, where the bride’s family would provide a financial contribution to the marriage. In situations where a dowry couldn’t be offered, friends of the bride might gather to collectively provide gifts and financial assistance.


Another theory suggests the tradition originated in the American South in the 1800s. Wealthy families might throw elaborate “kitchen showers” for brides, equipping them with household goods for their new life. Over time, the custom spread throughout America and morphed into the bridal showers we know today.

Planning the Perfect Bridal Shower

While traditions offer a starting point, bridal showers are becoming increasingly personalized, reflecting the unique styles and preferences of the bride-to-be. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements involved in planning a memorable shower:

  • Guest List: Typically, the guest list for a bridal shower includes the bride’s close female friends and family members. This could include bridesmaids, aunts, cousins, and close female friends. The size of the shower can vary depending on the bride’s preference and the venue’s capacity.

  • Theme and Decorations: From a classic garden tea party to a modern brunch or a glamorous high tea, the theme sets the tone for the shower. Decorations should complement the theme, incorporating colors, patterns, and elements that reflect the bride’s personality and interests.

  • Food and Drinks: The type of food and drinks served at a bridal shower depends on the time of day and the overall theme. Popular options include light appetizers, finger foods, a catered lunch or brunch, or even a dessert-oriented spread.

  • Activities and Games: Bridal shower games are a fun way to add a touch of lighthearted entertainment. Popular choices include “He Said, She Said,” where guests guess the bride or groom’s answers to questions, or “Price is Right,” where guests estimate the price of household items.

  • Gifts: Traditionally, bridal shower gifts are practical items that help the bride establish her new home. Modern showers might also include experiences or honeymoon contributions. Creating a registry or providing gift suggestions can be helpful for guests.

  • Favors: Shower favors are a small token of appreciation for guests who attend the celebration. These can be personalized items, sweet treats, or small keepsakes that remind them of the special occasion.

FAQs about Bridal Showers

Who throws a bridal shower?

Traditionally, a close friend or family member, such as the maid of honor or mother of the bride, throws the bridal shower. However, it’s not uncommon for a group of friends or even the groom’s family to contribute to hosting the event.

Who gets invited to a bridal shower?

The guest list typically includes the bride’s close female friends and family members. It’s important to check with the bride to ensure everyone she wants to celebrate with is included.

What is the proper etiquette for bridal shower gifts?

Consult the bridal registry if one is provided. If not, consider practical items for the home or experiences the couple might enjoy together.

How much should I spend on a bridal shower gift?

There’s no strict rule. The amount depends on your budget and closeness to the bride. A thoughtful, well-chosen gift is more important than the price tag.

What should I wear to a bridal shower?

For a casual brunch, a sundress or a dressy pantsuit might be appropriate.

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