History of Bridal Showers
In times gone by bridal showers were used to ensure that the bride was well prepared for married life. In fact, the idea of the traditional bridal shower originated in Holland. If a Dutch bride was unfortunate enough to have her father disapprove of her choice in husbands, he would not offer a dowry (Money or property brought by a bride to her husband at marriage). Her friends would then shower her with gifts so she could still marry her man, without the help of her father’s money.
The Purpose of Wedding Showers Today
In these modern days, with more young women waiting until later in life to be married, the reason for hosting a wedding shower has certainly changed. Not many brides have a need for gifts to set up a home since many are already living on their own. So, the shower has now become more of a chance for the wedding guests to spend some time with the bride and to feel like a part of the wedding planning process. The party should be an intimate gathering of the bride’s “nearest and dearest”. This should not be a mini-reception. Not every woman from the guest list needs to be invited. This is why many etiquette experts and consultants suggest that the shower be small enough so that the bride gets to socialize with all of her guests individually.
To Surprise or Not to Surprise?
Sometimes surprise bridal showers are planned for the bride-to-be. This might sound like a fun idea, but it could be tricky to plan, since the bride-to-be may need to be consulted on the guest list. It is also possible that more than one shower is planned. Perhaps the bridal party is planning one shower and the bride’s business associates are planning another. Only the bride will be able to coordinate the dates of both events. We advise against making this event a surprise unless you are sure of the following:
- The bride-to-be will not be disappointed that she has not been informed beforehand.
- You are confident that your guest list includes everyone the bride-to-be would have invited, if consulted.
- The bride will not schedule another event on the planned date
There shouldn’t be more than two showers, excluding the workplace shower. But, if there is to be more than one shower, and some guests such as attendants and family are to be invited to more than one shower, they do not need to purchase more than one gift. They should try to attend all showers, though. Guests receiving two bridal shower invitations are faced with the moral dilemma of whether they should give two gifts. The answer is no. An understanding bride-to-be will make it known to the guest that she will also announce during the gift opening activity at the second shower that she has already received a beautiful shower gift (describe the gift) from that guest.
If the guest has not been given this hint ahead of time, a solution would be for the guest to give a small gift for the second shower. It is a good idea to connect the second gift with the first gift. Examples:
Second Bridal Shower Gift Ideas
- You gave a cake plate and server at the first shower. For the second shower, gather some spatulas and other utensils at the local dollar store, wrap them prettily and include a note in the package saying “The cake plate was for the end product – here are the utensils you will need to bake the cake!”
- If the bride is registered for dinnerware, you can split up the gift. Give the sugar dish at one shower with a note saying “more to come”, then give the creamer at the second shower.
- Give a set of towels for the first gift. Wrap a pretty package of guest towels for the second shower with a note saying “My first gift was for you, this gift is for the many guests who will be welcomed into your new home.
Bridal Shower Gift Ideas
Bridal shower gifts should be inexpensive or less expensive than wedding gifts. And, yes, you must give a gift for the bridal shower AND the wedding. Bridal showers are typically less formal parties and are given to help new brides set up the new home. In many cases these days, brides have already set up their home and aren;t in need of the typical shower items. This does not mean that we should shower them with other, more expensive gifts. On the contrary – and some showers may not even be necessary. But if you are invited to a bridal shower here are some ideas for gifts:
- 1. Photo Albums – Give her a gift she’ll use! This idea is terrific for organizing and displaying all of the bridal shower photos.
- 2. Bridal Lingerie – Nothing too risqué – after all, grandma and future mother-in-law will be attending!
- 3. Wedding Gown Preservation Kit – cleans and preserves the bridal gown for the future.
- 4. Monogrammed Bath Towels – Who couldn’t use another fresh set of towels?
Bridal Shower Bouquet Making Kit – for making the rehearsal bouquet from the bridal shower gift bows. A wedding shower must-have.
Bridal Shower Invitations
Mail three to four weeks before the event and include the following information:
- Name of the bride-to-be.
- Date of the Shower.
- Time of the Shower, e.g. 2 PM – 5 PM. (It is best to put both the beginning and end times on the invitation so that the guests can plan their day.)
- Address where the shower is being held.
- Name and phone number of the hostess/hostesses.
- A deadline date for the RSVP. (This is usually about two weeks prior to the shower date.)
- Bridal Shower theme. (If applicable).
- Home decorating colors. (If applicable).
- It is helpful to enclose a map of the shower location.