The Bridal Shower as it is so often referred to these days, appears to have first been given to a Dutch bride who married her lover, despite her father’s refusal to give her a dowry for she had intended to marry a poor man. Her friends got together and “showered” the lovebirds with gifts for their household, an attempt to help them start their new lives together. The power of love prevails and the practice of giving the bride gifts before her wedding has evolved into a wedding tradition

So many questions surround who should host the shower, who should be invited, when should it be held, what’s the appropriate location, etc we thought we would help answers these questions and more.

Q: My friends are planning a wedding shower for me and have asked my mother and future mother-in-law for a bridal-shower guest list. The problem is that we are having a small wedding, and my mom says that if you invite someone to the bridal shower you must also invite the person to the wedding. Is that true?

A: It’s true. You can’t expect someone to come to your shower and give you a present if you’re not planning to invite that person to the wedding. It would seem like they were good enough to give you a shower gift but not good enough to celebrate with you on the big day.

The shower is meant to be a party for the women closest to the bride (and often her mom and the groom’s mom, too). All these close female friends and relatives should also be invited to the wedding.

Q: Who is mostly responsible for giving the bridal shower?  The mother of the bride or the the bridesmaids?

A: According to etiquette, a shower should not be given by the mother of either the bride or the groom.  In some areas of the country, it is also considered improper for a sister to give a shower.  Usually, a shower is given by a relative (an aunt or a cousin) or a close friend.  The bridesmaids may give the shower if they live in the area and want to, but they do not have to.

Whoever gives the shower should consult with the bride and may want input from her mother about who to invite, addresses, and other pertinent information.

Q: My sister is getting married for the 3rd time … is it appropriate to have a shower for her? Her first 2 she eloped and they were uneventful. She has finally found her soulmate and I would love to make it special for her. Should it be a Bridal Shower, couples shower or just a party???

A: Absolutely! Did you know that over 50% of couples who are marrying today involve one partner who has been married at least once before? And since your sister hasn’t ever had a bridal shower thrown for her, now is the time to go all out! She’s found her soulmate, and that alone calls for a major celebration.

Handle her shower the way you would normally approach any bride’s shower — find out from your sister what she envisions and probe her for her “must haves” including her favorite colors, theme ideas (i.e., co-ed, couples, ladies tea), favorite foods and music choices. Be sure your sister and her man (if shower is to be co-ed) provide you with a guest list. Then you’re good to go!

Q:  How close to the wedding should a Bridal Shower be held?

A: It should be held two – three months before the wedding. Any earlier it will sound like you have been too preoccupied with the wedding which is not as real life as your friends, family and the person you are going to marry, and any later you might just stress yourself and your bridal party a little too much.

Q:  What if I don’t like the plans for the Bridal Shower?

A: The key is to have open communication. However, be gentle about it and do not go into detail of what you want or what should be done.

Sure, it is not what you expected, but you smile and remember that someone is taking some time and effort to throw a party in your honor.

“Let them have their fun and remember anything they’re doing for you is a gift so you need to be showing gratitude, not attitude.” Miss Manners Wedding Etiquette