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Bridal Shower Etiquette: Who Hosts, Who Pays, & More

Whether having a bridal shower for yourself or planning one for a friend, it’s common to wonder who should host it. No one wants to step on someone else’s toes.

So who should host the bridal shower? The bridal shower is usually hosted by a close friend or relative, perhaps the mother of the bride or groom. However, if a close family member is not able, the bridesmaids should step in to help plan and host the bridal shower.

Having the proper etiquette about hosting the bridal shower is important to many people. They don’t want to hurt any feelings by stepping in where they shouldn’t. This is completely understandable… weddings are meant to be joyous times and you don’t want someone getting upset or having hurt feelings.

However, please remember, that this is the bride’s happy time and she wants to do something less traditional, that is her choice to make.

Here is some great information about proper bridal shower etiquette. 

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Who Should Pay for the Bridal Shower and How Much Does it Cost?

Whoever is hosting the bridal shower should pay for the expenses: food, decorations, games, entertainment, etc. It is not proper etiquette for the host to ask for contributions.

If it’s a bid too much for one person to cover, you might consider having a group of people host it together. Then they can share the costs. Perhaps the mother of the bride and groom could do it together or all the bridesmaids.

According to a bridal shower costs differently depending on where you host the shower.

  1. For bridal showers in the hosts home, the average cost is around $10-15 or less

  2. For bridal showers in a party room at a mid-range restaurant with an inexpensive activity following, the prices goes up to around $15-40 per person.

  3. For bridal showers, with an elaborate meal and activities, the average price could be around $40-150 per person.

If you are the host of a bridal shower, you should determine your budget before you start planning. This way you can make choices that will make the most of your budget.

There are some really simple ways to help control the budget on your bridal shower. The first way is choosing a venue. There is nothing wrong with hosting the bridal shower from your home. Another possibility is to see if your church would allow you to use a room.

When it comes to food, you could go pot luck style, asking certain people to bring dishes. Also, instead of doing a full meal, you could do finger foods that tend to be less expensive.

For decor and games, be sure to check out the Dollar Store. They have lots of neat items that could be made into centerpieces, game prizes, etc. You can definitely always find tablecloths at the Dollar Store as well. Make centerpieces for the tables out of kitchen utensils (like kitchen utensil bouquets). The bride will certainly be able to use these, so they’re multi-purpose!

When Should a Bridal Shower Be Planned?

A bridal shower should be planned within about 2 months of the wedding. This will give the couple enough time to register for items needed before the shower and then return duplicates or replace items they received at the shower.

Here is a great checklist to follow if you are planning a bridal shower:

Find out what the bride would like. Ask her if she wants a women-only shower or a coed shower? Does she want a full meal, finger foods, tea time, etc? Where would she like to have it? And so on.. you get the idea.

Set the date and make reservations (if needed). In order to get invitations out, you’ll need the date, time, and place. Get with the bride and decide when and where to have the shower at. Make sure to call in your reservation if you’re meeting somewhere other than a home.

Decide on the guest list. The venue is going to play a big role in how many people you invite. Be sure that anyone who is invited to the bridal shower is also invited to the wedding.

Establish your budget. Before making any purchases, decide on how much you are willing and able to spend on the bridal shower.

Ask the bride about any allergies or mobility issues. She may have family members or friends who have food allergies or mobility complications. Therefore be sure to ask her before setting up a menu and venue.

Decide on the menu and line up vendors (if needed). Ask the bride what type of food she would like and line up any caterers or vendors needed. If your shower is at a restaurant, you may just need to find someone to do a cake or special dessert.

Purchase and send invitations. Approximately one month before the shower date, send out invitations. Be sure to let guests know the date, time, place and where the couple is registered.

Purchase all party supplies and prizes. Have all decor pieces, table clothes, and game prizes ready to go for the shower.

Get ready to celebrate! Set up your bridal shower decor and food. Make sure the maid of honor is prepared with pen and paper to record the gifts so that thank you cards can be sent later.

What Happens at a Bridal Shower?

There could be anywhere from 20-50 guests at the bridal shower depending on the size of the venue.

Many brides choose to wear white to their bridal shower but it’s not mandatory. Whatever she feels comfortable in.

There will likely be a lot of food! Depending on how the shower was planned, it may be a full mean or simple snack type food.

Also, there will likely be a lot of games and prizes for the winners!

A time will be given for the bride to open up gifts while the maid of honor records everything she gets. This way thank you cards can be sent out after the shower.

Bridal Shower Themes

It’s really fun to spice up your bridal shower with a theme that matches the bride’s personality. Here are some great ideas of bridal shower themes:

  1. Brunch

  2. Tropical

  3. Tea Party

  4. Garden Party

  5. Nautical

  6. Food Truck

  7. Rustic

  8. BBQ

  9. Crepes and Croissants

  10. Elegant

  11. Coffee

  12. White and Gold

  13. Donuts

  14. Autumn Rustic

  15. Cupcakes

  16. Scavenger Hunt

  17. Kentucky Derby

  18. Burlap and Lace

  1. Mediterranean

  2. Global Cuisine

  3. Vintage Antique

  4. Love in Paris

  5. Slumber Party

  6. Ice Cream Social

  7. Roller Disco

  8. Movie Night In

  9. Spa Night In

  10. Pool Float Party

  11. Flamingos

  12. Winter Wonderland

  13. Downton Abby

  14. Country Western

  15. Cooking Class

  16. Recipe Swap

  17. All-White Shower

Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Bride

The bride simply needs to show up and be blessed! She doesn’t need to worry about any of the planning except for answering any questions the host/hostesses might have for her. The party is for you, not to be planned by you. Let your host/hostesses plan this shower for you. Kick your feet up and relax!

At the actual shower, she should be to sure to mix and mingle with the guests. Try to talk to every one who came and thank them for their attendance and gift.

She’s expected to open all the gifts like it’s Christmas 🙂

At the end, the bride may also want to present a toast to the hosts and a final thank you to all the guests for their gifts.

Additionally, the bride usually gets a small gift for her host/hostess as a thank you for planning and hosting the shower. This could be something like a piece of jewelry, a bottle of perfume, a book, a spa kit, candle, etc. plus a nice handwritten thank you note. Whatever best fits the host’s personality.

The bride should send out thank you notes to guests a few weeks after the shower. For simplicity, the thank you cards could be pre-addressed before the shower. Additionally, you could ask your guests to write their address on an envelope at the bridal shower.

Related Questions

Are bridal shower gifts just for the bride? Bridal shower gifts do not have to be just for the bride. You can purchase something from the couple’s wedding registry. All guests should bring a gift that couple will use in their new home together.

What’s the difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party? The purpose of a bridal shower is the “shower” the new bride with gifts. The shower usually takes place months in advance of the wedding. Whereas, a bachelorette party is a celebration of the end of the bride’s single life and usually takes place within just a few weeks or days of the wedding.

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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