Wedding Etiquette: How to Handle Multiple Bridal Showers

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Bridal Shower Fun

The bridal shower is a great way to help the bride celebrate this wonderful event in her life and help her transition into her new role.  Many brides think of the bridal shower as a real privilege given to them and look forward to celebrating with family and friends before the big day.

While the bride’s friends, bridesmaids and maid of honor typically host the bridal shower, the worlds changing trends and customs has affected this tradition as well. It is not uncommon today for the bride or groom’s families to throw a second party. Sometimes, groups of friends may throw separate bridal showers or wedding showers as well. For example, the bride’s colleagues may throw a separate shower from the one hosted by the bridesmaids, perhaps due to conflict in schedule, it is easier for the group who work in the same office and the same schedule to throw a party together. If the couple is having a destination wedding, the friends and relatives who will not be able to attend the big day may host another wedding shower for them too.

The Sticky Situation of Multiple Wedding Showers

While having several showers can be a lot of fun, they can also be quite tricky – especially when it comes to guest lists and gift giving. If you are hosting a shower for your son / daughter, or helping plan it with them, you may find these pointers helpful.

The Guest List:

Everyone certainly wants to celebrate with the bride and groom, but if there are multiple wedding showers, try to avoid overlapping guest lists and inviting everyone to every party. This will help avoid guests feeling obligated that they have to bring a gift to every party (or buy a new dress, spend money on preparations, etc). If the party is hosted by a relative, try to limit the guests to family for that party, and put friends, colleagues and girlfriends on the guest list for the party hosted by the maid of honor.

As a courtesy, invite both mothers, both grandmothers and close family such as sisters to both parties, but make sure you tell them they are not required to attend both.

Traditionally, only female friends and relatives are invited to the bridal shower. It was meant to help the bride prepare for her new role as a wife and shower her with gifts that she can use to set up her new household. Today, the modern shower is now called a “wedding shower”, where both bride and groom can attend. Hence, male friends can also be invited.

Remember to invite only those who are also invited to the wedding. It is considered rude. If the guest will not be able to make it to the big day, it is absolutely okay for them to attend the shower.

The Gifts

IF there are guests who will attend more than one shower, make it clear that they are not expected to bring a gift every time. If you are helping host the party, get creative with the gifts. For example, you can set a theme – say the bride likes make up and chocolates, you can ask the guests to bring any kind of make up or chocolate for the bride. This will give the guests ideas on what to get and give them a variation on how much to spend. You can also ask guests to bring gifts unwrapped and set them on the table. This will avoid the  awkwardness of the bride having to open each one in front of everyone.

Also make sure you tell guests who cannot attend the shower that they do not need to send a present. If you do not wish for your guests to bring gifts, indicate that in the invitation.

Changes in trends and culture has made this situation tricky, so it is important to have open communication with the bride and groom as the planning of these parties are on going. Remember that these parties are meant to be celebrations, and you certainly want to avoid misunderstandings so close to the big day.

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