The bridal shower is a traditional gathering of the bride’s close female relatives and friends, held prior to the wedding. The guests bring gifts for the bride and together they celebrate the bride’s upcoming nuptials. Some future brides also choose to have separate hen and tea parties for their female friends.
Here are the answers to some of your bridal shower questions
The Maid or Matron of Honour usually take responsibility for the bridal shower, and traditional rules suggests that it should not be hosted by a member of the bride’s family, and definitely not by the bride herself.
Recently the rules have relaxed, however, and it is not unusual for the mother or sister of the bride to arrange a bridal shower, especially if the Maid of Honour lives far away. The host should still consult with the Maid of Honour though. An office shower is sometimes thrown just for work colleagues, and this can be hosted by a workmate.
Bridal showers are usually small gatherings, with around 10-20 guests. The female members of the wedding party, such as the Maid of Honour, the bridesmaids, and the flower girls would be invited, along with the mothers and sisters of the bride and groom. Additional invitations would be sent to close female friends and work colleagues.
The crucial guests for a traditional bridal shower are the mums and sisters of the couple, and these should always be invited to get involved in the organisation of the bridal shower. They can be given different tasks, for example, one is asked to assist with the catering while another is asked to record any gifts and another is asked to decorate the venue.
There is a current fashion for bigger bridal showers, including every female wedding guest. Although this is perfectly acceptable, it is not always required. Just because you are inviting someone to the wedding, they shouldn’t necessarily be invited to the shower. However, if you invite someone to the shower they can assume they’ll be invited to the wedding. The exception to this is a work shower, as it is can prove impossible to invite all of your work colleagues to the wedding.
Try to schedule the bridal shower 4-6 weeks before the wedding, when the bride still has some free time and isn’t too engrossed in wedding planning. However, if the bride lives far away and is just coming back for the wedding, the shower can be held in the days leading up to the wedding as long as she is satisfied with that.
It is acceptable for the bride to have a hen party as well as several bridal showers, but where possible different people should be invited to these. For example, relatives and friends could be invited to the hen night, and work colleagues could be invited to a bridal shower. However, if the bride doesn’t have a large number of girlfriends, sisters, and colleagues to invite to these events, it may be better to mix them all into one gathering.