Bridal shower etiquette 101: The who, where, when and what of throwing a bridal shower

A group of women holding out their hands showing off bridal shower temporary tattoos.

Here comes the bride—almost! As the bride-to-be counts down the days until her big day, planning a memorable bridal shower for her is a great way to harness all the excitement and celebrate her new chapter. Plus, she’s probably knee-deep in wedding planning, so a fun day planned totally for her is definitely gonna be appreciated! 

Whether you’re a bridal shower host or guest (or even a bride-to-be!), this crash course on bridal shower etiquette is here to answer any questions you may have about these sweet and sentimental events. Wondering who to invite or what to wear? Read on!

For even more planning help, our free and printable bridal shower checklist has everything you’ll need to consider when planning a bridal shower so you can rest assured that nothing slips through the cracks! We also put together this comprehensive guide about how to throw a bridal shower which covers everything from decor ideas to activity suggestions. 

What is a bridal shower?

A bridal shower is a pre-wedding celebration in honor of the bride-to-be, focusing on showering her with gifts, love and well wishes. It's a great way to bring together the bride's closest friends and family, celebrate her upcoming nuptials and help her prep for her new chapter!

Who should you invite to a bridal shower?

The guest list for a bridal shower typically includes the bride-to-be's closest friends, female family members and close, female relatives of her betrothed. It's a more intimate affair, so think quality over quantity to keep the celebration personal and meaningful.

Who throws the bridal shower?

Traditionally, the bridal shower is organized by the maid of honor, bridesmaids or a close relative of the bride. It can be a solo mission or a team effort depending on the circumstances and size of the event!

Who pays for the bridal shower?

The host or hosts typically cover the costs of the bridal shower. Whether it's the maid of honor, the entire bridal party or a generous family member, the expenses are usually shared among those throwing the shower to keep it manageable for everyone involved.

When should you have a bridal shower?

A bridal shower is best held anywhere between a couple months to a few weeks before the wedding, with invitations being sent 4–6 weeks before the bridal shower. This sweet spot allows the bride-to-be to enjoy the festivities without the stress of the looming big day and gives her time to organize gifts and send out thank you notes

For even more information about when to send what, check out our guide on when to send wedding invitations. We’ve even included a stationery timeline for seamless planning.

What do you wear to a bridal shower?

Attire for a bridal shower can vary depending on the theme and venue, ranging from formal to semi-formal to casual. Make sure to consult the host regarding dress code if you are uncertain. 

Outfits options may include maxi dresses, sundresses, skirt-and-shirt combos and fun jumpsuits depending on the specific bridal shower—though floral dresses are super classic for this event! 

While it’s a known faux pas to wear white to the wedding, it’s also generally recommended that guests avoid wearing white to other wedding-related events, too.

Do you bring a gift to a bridal shower?

A “shower,” whether it’s a bridal or baby shower, is specifically a gift-giving event, so gifts are definitely a cornerstone of bridal showers! Occasionally, a bride-to-be may request a no-gifts event, but unless otherwise specified, it is polite to bring a gift!

Guests typically bring something to help the bride-to-be set up her new home or life. Whether you choose something off the registry or go for a more personal gift, it's the thoughtfulness that counts!

Common gifts include appliances, cutlery sets, towels and sheets, framed pictures and other kitchenware and home goods. For more bridal shower gift inspo, check out our wedding and bridal shower gift guide on Amazon.

What do you write in a bridal shower card?

A bridal shower card is the perfect place to share heartfelt congratulations, personal anecdotes or well wishes for the bride-to-be. To help with any writer’s block, we’ve put together a few options below, including sentimental options and humorous options!

Bridal shower card ideas:

  • I am so incredibly happy for you. You found your perfect match and I am thrilled to see what comes next for you two.
  • Let’s shower you with love! You deserve all the happiness in the world. I am overjoyed for you and so excited to celebrate.
  • I have never been happier to be gifting someone a cutlery set. 
  • My fave couple is getting hitched! It has been such a pleasure to be a part of your love story and I can’t wait for your big day.
  • To the beautiful bride-to-be, I am so excited to watch you embark on this new chapter of your life.
  • I am overwhelmed with emotions and so excited for your big day. If you see me ugly crying at the ceremony, no you didn’t.
  • Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness with your soulmate. 
  • The love you and [spouse’s name] share is truly special and I am so excited for you!
  • Congratulations on finding your forever love! May today be just a taste of the joy and excitement that awaits you on your wedding day.

Browse Wedding & Bridal eCards here

What do you do at a bridal shower?

Bridal showers are filled with activities like games, gift opening and toasts to the bride-to-be. Our list of fun bridal shower games is a great place to get inspired as you plan your event. We even included a free, downloadable bridal bingo board to print out for the shower!

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