Everything you ever wanted to know about this pre-wedding party with the girls.

Legend says the first bridal shower took place in Europe after a well-to-do girl fell in love with a poor man and her father refused to help pay for their wedding. So, friends and neighbors gathered and offered gifts to the young couple to help them build their new home. By the late 1800s, the bridal showerhad evolved into a more common practice for less wealthy brides, who couldn’t afford a dowry, to set up their new home.

We’ve come a long way. Today, bridal showers have morphed again into a rather festive way for the bride’s female family and friends to grab some girl time before the Big Day. Guests still “shower” the bride with gifts, often for her new household, but there are also bridal showers that have more specific themes—from lingerie parties to cooking classes together.

Read on to learn just about all you need to know about one of the happiest pre-wedding parties a bride can ever have.



This event’s invitation should go out after the wedding’s Save the Date announcement. A bridal shower should take place about two months before the wedding.


Historically, the bridal shower was only meant for women invited to the wedding. But today, co-ed showers, called “Jack n’ Jill’s,” are more popular than ever.


Who hosts the bridal shower is up for discussion. One person who definitely does not get involved with the planning: the bride herself! Traditionally, it was often a job for the maid-of-honor or bridesmaids to handle. However, these days, anyone can take it on, even a sister or mother of the bride (two people who were not expected to throw it in yesteryear.)


It’s also okay if the bride has more than one shower. Sometimes, co-workers of the bride can put one on too, or out-of-town relatives may plan one back home so the bride can take a visit before she says “I do.”


Whoever hosts the event is expected to pay for its cost. This is especially true for low-key events that may happen in the host’s home. However, for larger scale affairs, where renting out a space is involved, guests may offer to either contribute money or help to defray expenses (like bringing the food or drinks). This is often welcomed when the bridal shower has a themed locale, like at a spa or in a wine-tasting cellar.


With the exception of the shower put on by work colleagues (they do not have to be invited to the wedding), the invites to the bridal shower should only go to those invited to the wedding.


So what exactly happens at a shower? Besides food and drink, there are a few activities that traditionally take place at a bridal shower:

  • Open gifts: Unlike the wedding, this party’s entertainment often includes a time where the bride opens her gifts. This is especially fun at themed bridal showers. If you’re hosting a lingerie party, for example, the ladies will love to see all the sexy items the bride is receiving.
  • Ribbon bouquet: Usually fashioned by the maid of honor, the bride collects all the ribbons tied to her gifts and a ribbon bouquet is created from the colorful strips. The bride then carries this item down the aisle during the wedding rehearsal.
  • Surprise guest: Once upon a time, the groom-to-be would make a surprise appearance at the end of the bridal shower. This custom is making a comeback. Bridal shower guests who may have never met the fiancé get the chance to talk to him before the wedding this way.

–Erinn Bucklan

Read it at Colin Cowie Weddings