Difference between a bridal tea and bridal shower.

What is the difference between a bridal tea and a shower. The ladies at church are giving me a bridal tea soon. I was told that I am supposed to open the gifts the day before, but I have never heard of this. So, what goes on at a tea hosted for the bride versus a shower? What kind of gifts are given? Do I give the hostess a gift?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Novice,

There really is no such thing traditionally. There are pockets of people in various regions that have their own ideas of what this is. For most, this is the bridesmaid’s party where the bride gives her gifts to her bridesmaids. It is usually hosted by the bride and sometimes hosted by the bridesmaids. For some, this is a ‘down time’ party the mother of the bride or someone close hosts to spend time discussing the upcoming wedding–no gifts. It may also be just a tea the day before the wedding that includes some of the women invited to the wedding–no gifts.

There should be no gifts as this shouldn’t be a shower unless all of these women are invited to the wedding. If they are, then this can be a shower. But, the gifts should be opened that day.

Best wishes,