For some brides, the wedding shower amounts to a real privilege. Although it’s certainly not the case for everyone, many a bride eagerly looks forward to the time when her friends and family gather to shower her with warm wishes, attention and presents in advance of the big day. We’ll probably never know the exact story behind the bridal shower, but one that everyone likes to tell involves a poor Dutch girl who came up against the dowry system. Since the object of her affections (a poor miller) didn’t please her father, her father refused to cough up the requisite dowry, effectively scotching the marriage.
Of course, the surrounding townsfolk knew a good story when they saw it. One by one, they gathered useful household items, enough to support a new household. But even this wasn’t romantic enough, so the entire town kept the whole thing a secret until they were able to throw a giant gift-giving party for the lucky bride.
We humans love our independence, and the practice stuck. Yes, bridal showers have endured, even though times have changed substantially, with today’s bride likely to be older, more established, and quite possibly possessing everything she needs to run a household already, thank you very much. And yet, the practice of throwing a shower is still dear to the hearts of many brides, not to mention their closest friends and kin.
Still, as popular as they remain, it’s important to follow some etiquette rules. For starters, no one wants to think of the bride as being greedy, least of all the bride herself. Yet her friends can unwittingly put her in this uncomfortable position if they don’t coordinate with each other and end up throwing too many showers. One of today’s most frequent questions concerning showers is, “can you have more than one?” Traditionally the answer was no, but the answer is changing.
Some Helpful Rules to Go By
Brides: since your bridesmaids and maid of honor are probably hosting the shower, make sure they can access your address book and guest list, so they know who to invite and how to contact them. Also, remember that it’s your wedding party who’s footing the bill here, so the size of your shower may depend on their budget. On one end of the spectrum, you might have a very intimate little gathering involving only your closest friends and family; on the other, you might encounter almost every female guest who was invited to your wedding. It’s up to them.
Since there’s a method to the madness called the bridal shower, namely the giving and getting of household gifts, it’s imperative that you, the bride, ensure that your friends and family don’t go crazy hosting a bunch of disconnected showers. While everyone involved just wants to honor you, and your mom probably wants to make sure you never have to go without an egg slicer or a pizza stone, these parties do involve gifts, and having too many of them can make you look greedy.
Two exceptions that are gaining ground are the office shower and the out-of-town shower. With the office shower, many of your colleagues probably aren’t invited to the actual wedding, since they’re probably more acquaintances than bosom buddies. Still, in many cases the office will want to throw you a party and be part of that day. This is an acceptable add-on to your “primary” shower.The other exception, the out-of-town shower, is sometimes held by friends and family that can’t attend your bridal shower personally. This comes up with brides that live elsewhere but are “coming home” to marry and have many school friends and close relations in their hometown. In this case, you wouldn’t attend the bridal shower, but the hostess would gather the presents and bring them to your reception.