Bridal showers are a chance for all of the bride’s friends and family members to get together and have a more informal celebration before the ceremony. Before you start inviting guests though, there are a few more pointers about bridal shower etiquette you need to know.
The Who, When, and Where of Bridal Shower Invitations
Bridal showers are usually thrown for the bride by either her maid/matron of honor or her bridesmaids. That’s part of the responsibility of the bridal party. The bridal shower shouldn’t be thrown by family members unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even then, a distant relative like an aunt or a cousin should host the event over a parent, parent-in-law, or sibling.
The showers can be held any time between two weeks and six months prior to the wedding date. For most brides, those late few weeks before the wedding are crazy so you may not want to wait until then. Your bridal shower invitations should be mailed four weeks before the day of the event.
Bridal showers can be located almost anywhere you want, but it’s not appropriate to have them in a member of the family’s home. One of the shower’s hosts can have the shower at their home or you can rent a venue for the event. Keep in mind that the guests should not be expected to pay for anything at the shower – not food, not admission, not even their drinks – so you may want to choose a location carefully.
Who Makes It Onto the Guest List
Putting together the guest list for the bridal shower is something the hostess can do with other members of the bridal party and with the bride’s family. If the shower is not going to be a surprise, then the bride should be consulted as well.
Generally, the guest list should include people who are close to the bride. That can also include her future mother-in-law, her groom’s close friends, and his other immediate family members. Originally, the bridal shower was just for women but more showers are going co-ed. You can decide whether or not you want a girls-only event.
If the bride is having multiple bridal showers, you want to monitor the guest lists carefully. Avoid re-inviting people to more than one shower. You don’t want them to feel obligated to buy the bride multiple gifts.
Everyone who makes it onto the guest list should receive their own invitation. The exceptions are couples (if you’re going co-ed) or the children of guests. They can be included on other invitations.
Incidentally, only people who are actually invited to the wedding should be invited to the bridal shower. The only exception to that rule would be showers thrown by co-workers since many brides can’t invite everyone she works with to her wedding.
What Should the Invitations Say
The bridal shower invitations are meant to tell guests the important information. You’ll need to include the location of the shower, including a map or directions if the place is not well-known by all of your guests. You should also include the date and time of the event, including an estimated end time so people can plan their schedules accordingly.
The invitation should also allude to the theme of your bridal shower if there is going to be one. Lingerie showers, bathroom & bedroom showers, around the house showers . . . these are just a few ideas for themes. You can sometimes find bridal shower invitations specifically designed for these themes.
You should also include a response card or, at the very least, a number where people can call to R. S. V. P.
The bridal shower invitation should NOT include registry information. Information about where a couple is registered is passed on through the proverbial grapevine, not on invitations.
What Happens After the Shower
When the bridal shower is over, the bride is left with the task of writing thank you notes to all of her guests. She should get these notes sent out as soon as possible but no later than the date of the wedding. If the bride has good manners, she’ll be sure to send you a special thank you card for all the hard work you invested in making her shower phenomenal.