Bridal Shower Etiquette and Planning: Your Go-To Guide

Bridal Shower Etiquette and Planning: Your Go-To Guide

Bridal showers are often the highlight of pre-wedding celebrations and for a good reason. This is a special time for the bride. Her friends and family members come together to celebrate and help her get ready to be a newlywed. These showers are often full of fun activities, delicious food, and special gifts. But is there a bridal shower etiquette to follow? 

If you're new to bridal showers, you might feel overwhelmed about where to start. Whether you're planning, attending, or hosting one for the first time, this guide is for you! This is your go-to guide for all you need to know about bridal shower etiquette and planning. 

bridal shower floral ice cubes

What is a Bridal Shower?

A simple description of a bridal shower is a special celebration just for the bride-to-be, where her closest friends and family members come together a few months or weeks before the wedding. They're all there to cheer her on, share wisdom, and give special gifts as she enters into a new life. 

This tradition started in 16th-century Holland when a community helped a young woman whose father wouldn't pay for her wedding. It was born from kindness and support. They all chipped in with little gifts to set up her home, keeping the dowry's spirit alive but in a more supportive light. Fast forward to today, and the essence remains: showering the soon-to-be-married with home essentials.

Just to be clear: bridal showers aren't the same as wedding showers. Wedding showers are stepping in as the modern, everyone-welcome version. While a bridal shower traditionally is for the bride with her girlfriends and female family members, wedding showers open up the celebration to include all, making it a mixed affair.

Bridal Shower Etiquette

When it comes to bridal shower etiquette, remember there's no single "correct" way to throw this special celebration, yet some established guidelines can help steer you clear of any potential hiccups. By sticking to these tried-and-true tips, you can ensure a smooth, enjoyable event that honors the bride-to-be without any unnecessary drama or issues.

Bridal Shower Breakdown: The Whos, Whats, and Wows of the Day

Who Pays for It? 

Traditionally, the host or hosts cover the cost of the bridal shower. Often this is their gift to the bride, a way to show love and support. It is perfectly acceptable for anyone to pay for the shower, including the family of the bride–to–be. Sometimes other family members or friends might chip in or cover certain expenses.

What is the Dress Code for a Bridal Shower?

When preparing for a bridal shower one of the first questions that comes to mind is “What should I wear?” The dress code for a bridal shower is typically semi-formal or dressy casual. You should dress nicely for the occasion to show that you're there to celebrate the bride-to-be. 

A cute dress, a nice top with a skirt or pants, or even a jumpsuit, are all great options to consider. Just be sure to avoid wearing white, as that color is reserved for the bride! Also, try not to wear anything too flashy, revealing, or distracting, as it can take attention away from the bride and this should be all about her. If you're unsure about what to wear, it's always best to ask the host or check the invitation for any specific dress code instructions.

If you need some fashion inspiration, check out this article: What to Wear to a Bridal Shower as a Guest where style expert, Sarah Abbasi explains the best tips for bridal shower fashion. 

Where Should You Have a Bridal Shower? 

While bridal showers can take place in various venues, there's a unique charm in hosting the shower at a cozy space such as a home, church, or clubhouse, or better yet, at Home for Entertaining. 

Our venue is a great place for anyone looking for a space that feels like home but with an experience. Whether you're working with limited space at home or you're visiting Cary and would like a celebration close to downtown's vibrant life, we are a good event space for both small and large gatherings.

Who gets Invited and When to Send the Invitations? 

When should you mail out those invites? Aim for about four to six weeks before the shower. This gives guests enough time to RSVP and sort out any travel plans. As for what to put on the invite, make sure to include the basics: who it's for, the date, time, location, RSVP details, and registry information. If you're looking for more detailed advice on crafting the perfect invitation, check out this handy guide: What to Put on Your Bridal Shower Invitation by WeddingsOnline. 

What About the Groom?

So, what's the groom's role in all this? While the bridal shower is usually a bride-centric event, it's becoming more common for grooms to make a brief appearance towards the end to thank the guests and help load up the gifts. Some couples even opt for a co-ed "couple's shower," where everyone is invited to celebrate together.

What Happens at a Bridal Shower?

Bridal showers can range from laid-back and casual to more structured, with planned activities. Common activities include playing fun games, opening gifts, and enjoying food and drinks. It's also a great time for guests to mingle, share stories, and offer advice to the bride-to-be.

floral workshop at Home for Entertaining

Themed showers are growing in popularity. If you want to have a themed bridal shower, Home for Entertaining is a great venue for you. We have the availability to host cooking classes, wine tastings, floral workshops, and more at your shower. 

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette: What to Bring?

Gifts for a bridal shower should focus on the bride or the couple's upcoming life together. Think kitchen items, home decor, or even gift cards to their favorite places or things to do. The couple's registry is a great place to start if they have one. The gift-giving is all about helping them set up their new life with thoughtful, useful gifts.

gifts from Home for Entertaining

On that note: If you are a Bride and love our retail, we have a bridal registry at Home for Entertaining. Check out our blog, The Basics of The Bridal Registry, for inspiration and how to create a gift registry with us. 

We also have put together a great Gift Guide for Couples if you are looking for some gift inspiration to bring to the party. 


Planning and attending a bridal shower should be a joyful experience, filled with laughter, love, and a touch of elegance. Keep these tips in mind, and you're sure to help create a memorable event that celebrates the bride-to-be in the best way possible. 

Remember, at the heart of bridal shower etiquette is the intention to show love and support for the bride as she embarks on this exciting new chapter. So, let's make it a celebration to remember!

We hope you found this guide helpful for bridal shower planning and etiquette. Remember: keep things light, fun, and focused on celebrating love and new beginnings. 

Here's to your dream bridal shower!