Are Bridal Showers Necessary? A Comprehensive Guide

Wedding Planning

May 28, 2024

Are Bridal Showers Necessary? A Comprehensive Guide

Are bridal showers necessary these days? It’s a fair question. A lot has changed since the 16th century when these parties first started happening. Back then, they were a way to make sure the bride had the stuff she needed to start her new life. But now? It’s more about celebrating with the bride and getting her pumped for the big day.

This guide has everything you need to know about bridal showers. We’ll dive into the history, the pros and cons, and some modern alternatives. By the end, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about whether a bridal shower is right for you.

Quick Resources:

Are Bridal Showers Necessary? A Comprehensive Guide


Short on time? Here’s the quick version:

  • Bridal showers have been around forever, but their necessity today is debatable
  • Pros: emotional support and gift-giving. Cons: money and time commitments
  • There are modern alternatives like experience-based celebrations and charity events
  • Knowing bridal shower etiquette helps navigate invites, gifts, and activities
  • Trends show a shift to personalized and meaningful bridal showers
  • Common myths: bridal showers are just for gifts or traditional brides
  • Practical planning steps: set a budget, pick a theme, organize activities
  • Real examples show the benefits and challenges of different kinds of showers
  • Bridesmaid for Hire offers professional help for a stress-free, awesome shower

Understanding the Purpose of Bridal Showers

First, let’s talk about why we even have bridal showers. What’s the point of this whole tradition? It’s not just about the gifts (although those are nice too). Being chosen to be someone’s maid of honor and getting to celebrate her upcoming marriage is a big deal.

Historical Context Around Bridal Showers

Bridal showers go way back to the 16th century. The story goes that a poor Dutch girl fell in love with a miller’s son. Her dad didn’t approve and refused to give her a dowry. But her friends had her back. They got together and “showered” her with gifts so she could still get married. How sweet is that?

Over time, bridal showers evolved from a necessity to more of a fun tradition. It became less about making sure the bride could afford to get married, and more about celebrating her exciting new chapter in life.

Modern Reasons for Bridal Showers

These days, most brides thankfully don’t need their friends to chip in for a dowry. But bridal showers are still a thing for a few key reasons:

  1. Celebrating the bride: It’s a day all about making her feel special and loved before the craziness of the wedding.
  2. Gift-giving: Guests bring gifts to help the couple start their new life together. Think kitchen gadgets, cute decor, that kind of thing.
  3. Bonding time: It’s a chance for the bride’s nearest and dearest to get together, share stories, and create memories.

Historical Context Around Bridal Showers

As a professional bridesmaid who works with brides all over, I can say that the emotional support piece is huge. It means so much to the bride to have this special gathering before her big day.

Pros and Cons of Bridal Showers

Okay, so we know why bridal showers are a thing. But are they really necessary? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

On the plus side, bridal showers are a great opportunity for:

  • Emotional support: The bride feels the love from her crew
  • Gifts: Things the couple actually wants and needs for their home
  • Bonding: Quality time with besties before the wedding insanity begins

As a bridal shower planner who can help you find the best gifts and party outfits, I’ve seen how much these perks can mean to a bride.

But there are some potential downsides too:

  • Money: Hosting ain’t cheap, and guests may feel pressured to spend a lot
  • Time: Planning and attending take a decent chunk of everyone’s busy schedules
  • Stress: Wrangling logistics can be a headache, especially on top of wedding planning

The trick is finding that balance. You want to create a memorable celebration without going overboard. It’s all about being thoughtful and keeping the focus on what matters most: making the bride feel supported.

Alternatives to Traditional Bridal Showers

If a typical brunch-and-gifts shower isn’t your jam, no worries! There are lots of modern alternatives that can be just as special. The key is to pick something that fits the bride’s style and gets her excited.

Here are some ideas to consider, whether you’re a newlywed yourself or a pal who just got engaged:

Alternatives to Traditional Bridal Showers

Experience-Based Celebrations

Plan a day that’s all about making awesome memories together. It could be anything from a group cooking class to a winery tour to a beach bonfire party. The goal is to create an experience that the bride and her besties will always remember.

Some specific ideas:

  • Spa day: Get pampered with mani-pedis, facials, the works. So relaxing!
  • Active outing: Go for a hike, take a surf lesson, or do a yoga class in the park.
  • Creative workshop: Try a floral arranging class, pottery painting, or jewelry making.

Charitable Events

Host a shower that gives back! Organize a volunteer activity or fundraiser for a cause the bride cares about. It’s a meaningful way to honor her while also doing some good in the world.

A few possibilities:

  • Donation drive: Ask guests to bring items to donate to a local shelter or charity.
  • Walk/run fundraiser: Get the crew together to raise money for a specific org.
  • Group volunteering: Spend the day helping out at an animal rescue, food bank, etc.

Virtual Celebrations

With loved ones living all over, virtual showers have become a popular option. They’re a great way to include people who can’t make it in person. Plus, you can get creative with the format and make it super interactive.

Some ideas for a virtual shower:

  • Online games: Play bridal bingo, trivia, or a scavenger hunt over video chat.
  • Remote gift opening: Have the bride open presents on camera so everyone can watch.
  • Virtual cocktail hour: Send guests a signature drink recipe to make and enjoy “together.”

The possibilities are endless! The most important thing is to choose something that celebrates the bride in a way that feels authentic to her.

Quick Resources:

Etiquette and Expectations

Navigating the “rules” of bridal showers can feel a little tricky. You want to get it right, but you also don’t want to stress over every tiny detail. Here’s a quick rundown of the basic etiquette and expectations, so you can plan with confidence.

As a pro bridesmaid, I’ve been to a lot of showers. Trust me, knowing this stuff makes it way easier.

Invitations and Guest List

The guest list should include the bride’s nearest and dearest, like family, close friends, and the wedding party. Typically, people who are invited to the shower are also invited to the wedding.

When it comes to invites, make sure to:

  • Send them out 4-6 weeks beforehand (earlier if guests are traveling)
  • Include all the key details like date, time, location, registry info, RSVP deadline
  • Set a clear RSVP deadline of 2-3 weeks before the event
  • Follow up with anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d about a week before the deadline

Gift Expectations

Yes, gifts are a big part of bridal showers. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a huge financial strain on guests. The key is communication and consideration.

Some tips:

  • It’s okay to include registry info on the invite, but don’t make it the focus
  • Encourage guests to stick to a reasonable budget (consider the 20-20-60 rule)
  • Offer guidance if people ask for gift ideas (use the registry as a starting point)
  • Remind the bride to open gifts at the shower and have someone track who gave what

Here are our favorite gifts to give the bride and our favorite wedding gifts

Activities and Games

Bridal shower activities should be fun but not cringey or over-the-top. The goal is to create a lighthearted and festive atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

As a maid of honor, here are some games I’ve had success with:

  • Bridal bingo or wedding word scramble (with small prizes for winners)
  • Advice cards for guests to fill out for the bride and groom
  • Trivia game about the couple using fun facts from their relationship
  • Group crafting like assembling a scrapbook or decorating a plate

Remember, you don’t have to go overboard with activities. Sometimes the best moments happen when guests are simply chatting and hanging out.

An unforgettable bridal shower gift is the Newlywed Card Game. It makes for a good time at the bridal shower and a great take home gift for the couple.

Current Trends and Statistics About Bridal Showers

Bridal showers have been around for ages, but the trends are always changing. Here’s a quick look at what’s popular right now, according to industry data and real brides.

Popular Themes

These days, couples are all about personalizing their celebrations. Themed bridal showers are a fun way to do that. Some of the most popular themes:

  • Tea party: A whopping 53% of brides say a tea party theme is their top pick. It’s classic and charming!
  • Garden party: Perfect for spring and summer, with lots of florals and pastels.
  • Brunch: Mimosas and waffles? Yes please. Brunch showers feel relaxed and fun.
  • Around the clock: Guests bring gifts for specific times of day (PJs for night, coffee maker for morning, etc).

Current Trends and Statistics About Bridal Showers

Financial Considerations

No surprise: budget is top of mind for a lot of brides and bridesmaids. The average cost of a bridal shower is around $500 total. But there are ways to save:

  • Host at someone’s home instead of renting a venue
  • DIY decorations using things like Dollar Store vases and Etsy printables
  • Opt for a brunch or afternoon tea menu instead of a full meal
  • Skip the favors or choose something inexpensive but useful, like succulents

With a little creativity, you can throw a lovely shower without blowing your budget. The memories matter more than the money spent!

Addressing Common Misconceptions About Bridal Showers

Despite how common they are, there are still some myths floating around about bridal showers. Let’s bust a few, shall we?

As a bridesmaid who works with all kinds of clients, I’ve heard it all. Here’s the truth behind some big misconceptions:

Myth 1: Bridal showers are just a gift grab

Sure, presents are part of the tradition. But they’re not the point. A shower is really about celebrating the bride and showering her with love before the big day. It’s a time for her VIPs to come together and bond over their shared excitement for this next chapter.

So yes, the bride will definitely appreciate the new Instant Pot or personalized wine glasses. But what will stick with her most are the memories of laughing and sharing stories with her besties.

Myth 2: The maid of honor has to host

Tradition may say the MOH or bridesmaids should host, but these days, anything goes. Some brides prefer a relative (like an aunt or cousin) to take the reins. Others even opt to plan their own!

The key is picking someone who knows the bride well and is up for the job. Hosting is a lot of work, so you want a point person who’s organized and willing to put in the effort.

Myth 3: Showers are only for traditional brides

Nope! Any bride can have a shower if she wants one, regardless of her style or vibe. A shower can be totally customized to fit the bride’s personality.

For example, if she’s more low-key, she might prefer an intimate brunch with her closest crew. Or if she’s all about adventures, maybe an active outing like a group hike or surf lesson. The beauty of modern bridal showers is that there are no rigid rules. It’s all about celebrating the bride in a way that feels authentic to her.

Practical Steps for Planning a Bridal Shower

If you’ve been tapped to plan a bridal shower, congrats! It’s a big honor and a chance to create an unforgettable celebration for the bride. But where to begin? Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning a shower that’s fun, heartfelt, and totally stress-free.

As a pro bridesmaid, I’ve organized my fair share of showers. The key is to start early and stay organized. You’ve got this!

Practical Steps for Planning a Bridal Shower

Step 1: Set a budget

First things first: determine how much you can realistically spend on the shower. Factor in costs like:

ExpenseEstimated Cost RangeTips for Saving
Venue$100 - $500Host at home or find a free/low-cost space like a park
Food$200 - $700Do brunch/apps instead of a meal or host a potluck
Decor$50 - $200Get crafty with DIY and Dollar Store finds
Favors$50 - $150Opt for a consumable favor or double-duty decor like succulents

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of invitations, stamps, and any games or activities. It adds up quickly, so be realistic about what you can afford.

Step 2: Choose a theme

Now for the fun part: picking a theme! While not totally necessary, having a cohesive vibe can make planning way easier. Talk to the bride about her vision and go from there.

Some popular bridal shower themes right now:

  • Garden party with lots of florals and greenery
  • Champagne brunch with bubbly drinks and chic decor
  • Tea party with mismatched china and tasty finger sandwiches
  • Tropical luau complete with leis and fruity cocktails

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box too. Maybe a ’90s throwback theme with nostalgic snacks and games. Or a wanderlust theme inspired by the couple’s favorite travel spots. The options are endless!

Step 3: Make the guest list

Time to round up the VIPs! The bridal shower guest list typically includes close female relatives, bridesmaids, and the bride’s inner circle of friends. A good rule of thumb is to invite anyone who’s also invited to the wedding.

When deciding on the size, consider:

  • Your budget (more guests = higher costs)
  • The venue (how many people can it comfortably hold?)
  • The bride’s preferences (would she rather keep it small and intimate?)

Aim for around 30-50 guests for a traditional shower. But if the bride prefers something smaller, that’s totally fine too. Just make sure the VIPs are there to celebrate her.

Step 4: Send the invites

Once the guest list is finalized, it’s invitation time! You’ll want to send these out about 6-8 weeks before the shower. This gives guests plenty of notice to save the date and shop for a gift.

When designing the invitations (or picking a pre-made template), include key details like:

  • Date, time, and location of the shower
  • Registry information (or a link to the couple’s wedding website)
  • RSVP deadline and method (e.g. email, phone, online form)
  • Dress code, if applicable
  • Any special instructions or requests

You can go the traditional paper route and mail the invites. Or, if you want to save on stamps, send a digital invite using a service like Paperless Post or Evite. Just make sure to choose a design that matches the shower theme and overall vibe.

Step 5: Plan the menu

Next up: the food! Bridal shower menus are usually pretty brunchy and feminine. Think mini quiches, fruit salad, and delicate pastries. But ultimately, it’s all about what the bride loves.

Some delicious bridal shower menu ideas:

  • Waffle bar with assorted toppings like fruit, Nutella, and whipped cream
  • Mimosa bar with different juices (OJ, peach, pineapple) and garnishes
  • Tea sandwiches in fun shapes like hearts or flowers
  • Mini desserts like cupcakes, macarons, or cake pops
  • Cheese and charcuterie board with crackers and dips

If cooking isn’t your thing, consider catering or even hiring a food truck. You can also make it a potluck and assign guests different dishes to bring. Just make sure to have a variety of options to suit different diets and preferences.

Step 6: Decide on decor

Shower decor sets the mood and ties everything together. You don’t have to go overboard, but a few special touches can make a big impact. The key is to choose colors and elements that fit your theme.

Some simple bridal shower decor ideas:

  • Fresh flowers in mason jars or vintage vases
  • Banners and garlands with cute sayings
  • Framed photos of the bride (or bride and groom)
  • Patterned tablecloths and cloth napkins
  • Clusters of balloons in the shower colors

Hit up Pinterest or wedding blogs for inspo and DIY tutorials. You can find some seriously gorgeous ideas that won’t blow your budget. A little creativity goes a long way!

Step 7: Plan activities and games

To keep guests entertained, plan a few activities and games throughout the shower. As a MOH who has planned many showers, I always recommend a mix of classic games and more unique ideas.

Some tried-and-true bridal shower games:

  • Bridal bingo (guests fill out bingo cards with gift guesses)
  • The newlywed game (the bride answers questions about her partner)
  • What’s in your purse? (guests get points for having certain items)
  • Bridal word scramble or crossword puzzle

You can also plan activities that are more interactive and creative. Maybe a group flower arranging class or a lingerie decorating station. Or set up a photo booth with props and a cute backdrop for guests to snap pics.

Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something the bride will enjoy. It’s her day, after all!

Quick Resources:

Real World Bridal Shower Examples and Ideas

Need some real-life inspiration? Take a peek at these bridal shower examples and case studies. Each one is totally unique and tailored to the bride’s style.

Example 1: Backyard Tea Party

This sweet and simple shower was held in the MOH’s backyard. The decor included mismatched teacups, floral tablecloths, and pretty pastel details. Guests sipped on tea and munched on finger sandwiches and scones.

For activities, they played classic games like toilet paper wedding dress and gift bingo. The bride also gave a heartfelt speech thanking everyone for coming. It was an intimate and laid-back celebration that perfectly suited the bride’s personality.

Example 2: Glamping Getaway

This adventurous bride loves the outdoors, so her ‘maids planned a weekend glamping trip. They rented a group of canvas tents at a nearby campground and decked them out with cozy blankets and twinkly lights.

The agenda included a guided hike, fireside chats with s’mores, and a stargazing session. For a personal touch, each guest received a custom hand-painted mug with her initials. The bride was thrilled to spend quality time with her besties in such a fun and unique setting.

Example 3: Cooking Class Fiesta

For the foodie bride, this shower featured a hands-on cooking class at a local culinary school. Guests learned how to make gourmet tacos and guac while sipping on margaritas.

The decor was bright and festive, with colorful streamers and a DIY taco bar piñata. As a favor, each guest took home a mini cactus in a painted terracotta pot. The bride loved bonding with her friends over their shared love of Mexican cuisine.

Real World Bridal Shower Examples and Ideas

Ultimately, the best bridal showers are ones that truly reflect the guest of honor. Whether that means a traditional tea party or a wild adventure weekend, it’s all about making the bride feel special and celebrated.

How Bridesmaid for Hire Can Help

Still feeling overwhelmed by shower planning? That’s where Bridesmaid for Hire comes in. We’re a team of professional bridesmaids who love creating exceptional celebrations. From creative brainstorming to day-of coordination, we’ll handle all the details so you can relax and enjoy.

Quick Resources:

With a Bridesmaid for Hire by your side, you can actually enjoy the shower instead of feeling frazzled and stressed. We’ll work behind the scenes to create a beautiful and memorable celebration for the bride and all her VIPs.

Quick Recap

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide! Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • Bridal showers have evolved over time, but they’re still a beloved way to celebrate the bride
  • There are pros and cons to having a shower, so it’s a personal decision
  • Non-traditional options like experiences or charity events are gaining popularity
  • Knowing basic etiquette can help you navigate sticky situations with grace
  • Current trends are all about personalization and unique details
  • Common myths (like showers are just for gifts) are totally busted
  • To plan a great shower, start early and stay organized with checklists
  • Real-life examples prove that showers can be super diverse and creative
  • Hiring a pro bridesmaid can make the whole process way more enjoyable

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, bridal showers are all about showering the bride with love. Whether you go the traditional tea party route or plan a wild and crazy adventure, the most important thing is to make the bride feel special and supported.

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by shower planning, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Rally the bridal party troops or even hire a professional bridesmaid to take the reins. Trust me, it’s so worth it to be able to relax and enjoy this special milestone.

I hope this guide has given you the tools and inspo you need to plan an unforgettable celebration. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. Do what feels right for you and the bride. And most importantly, have fun!

Wishing you all the best,
Your friends at Bridesmaid for Hire

Welcome, friend!

Choose your

Read the Book