Bridal showers—just like weddings—come with a certain expectation of etiquette, and it pays to know just what that entails if you want to be the ultimate hostess, honorary bride-to-be, or guest. Today, old customs of etiquette are mixing with new versions of traditions, so it can be extremely confusing when trying to navigate through what is right and wrong. It helps to have a basic set of rules in mind that you can branch off of, no matter what your place is at the bridal shower. Below, we’ve broken down some pretty easy to follow rules of etiquette for a hostess, a bride, and a guest—and these manners never go out of style.
Basic Etiquette Rules for the Bride:
- Don’t throw your own bridal shower. Just don’t, girlfriend.
- Sit Back and Enjoy. Whomever is hosting/throwing the bridal shower for you, whether it be a maid of honor or a mother, let her do her thing. She knows you well enough to make sure your personality and preferences are merged with the shower, so let her have the spotlight of putting it all together for you. After all, don’t you need a little pampering break after planning a whole wedding?
- Be Gracious During and After the Shower. Be sure to designate someone (like a bridesmaid) to have a notepad in hand to write down specifically what gift each guest at the shower gives you. Thanking the guests for their generous attendance and gifts at the shower is great, but you’ll want to send out a thank you note after the party as well.
Basic Etiquette Rules for the Hostess:
- Anyone Can Be the Hostess: Though in older days, it was custom for the bridal party hostess to not be a family member, now it’s perfectly acceptable for just about anyone to take the reins.
- Communicate: Communication is key to a lot of bridal shower details when you’re the host. It’s extremely common for brides to have more than one shower, so if this is the case, you have to communicate well with guests to ensure you don’t duplicate the guest lists. Another important communication aspect to think about is with the bride herself. Keep talks open with her not to make decisions for the shower, but to make sure that the bride is on the same page with the type of shower you’re throwing her.
- Timing: The timing of the bridal shower should be within the window of two months all the way up to two weeks before the wedding. Invitations to the guests should be sent out a month before the bridal shower date.
- Invitations: Invitations should be all-inclusive when it comes to information. Party theme, attire, time, place, RSVP options, and where the bride is registered are staples of any good bridal shower invitation.
- The Bride is NOT the Host: The bride is the true star and honoree of the party so it can be easy to let her slip into the role of hostess. It is imperative that you not let this happen. While the bride should most certainly be mingling with the guests, you should be the one to greet everyone as they come in, check in to make sure the guests are comfortable, and be in charge of rounding up and leading everyone when it comes to games, food, and gift opening.
Basic Etiquette for the Guests:
- Don’t Come Empty Handed: Under no circumstances should you as a guest not bring a gift, card, or even a bottle of wine.
- Don’t Wear White: Unless specified by the invitation, keep bridal white colors off limits as far as your shower outfit is concerned.
- Do Mingle: It’s a lot of work hosting and gathering with everyone as a hostess and a bride, so don’t expect to be hanging out with just the bride the entire party. Mingle and get to know other guests and truly just enjoy yourself as the hostess intended.