The Bride on Wedding Shower Etiquette and Questions
Today, I’m here to help the bride who may have some bridal shower anxiety. Some brides feel super comfortable in the spotlight or don’t even think twice about the plans surrounding their other big day (the BIG big day is, of course, the wedding day). But when it comes to etiquette questions or causes for concern, hopefully this little guide helps you feel more at ease as you are showered with love!
Q: Should I put my registry information on the invitations ?
A: Some brides do and some don’t. If there are a bunch of items still left on your registry that you want, then it’s the perfect opportunity. On the other hand many brides prefer to receive items like lingerie, jewelry, and other keepsakes that wouldn’t be on the wedding registry.
Some guests usually like to get something that will surprise the bride rather than a kitchen item off the registry. Others like to know that they are satisfying the dream list that the couple has put together. If people want to order off the registry and they lose the invitation, they should easily be able to find your registry online.
On weddingchannel.com you can merge all your registries and make them searchable so guests can access everything you register for. Since registry information should never be on the actual formal wedding invitation, the shower invitation or the wedding web site are two places that guests can learn about your selected stores.
Q: Is it okay to have two showers ?
A: Many people do. If you have a lot of guests in NYC but you’re from Chicago, you may choose to do one in each city so all your close friends and family can come without having to travel twice (for the shower and the wedding). It’s not unheard of for coworkers to throw a separate office shower for the bride, but keep in mind that everyone in your office probably won’t be getting an invite to the wedding.
If they still insist on throwing you one, just be clear that there are no expectations for the nuptials. Other factors like having divorced parents might force you to have two showers in order to satisfy two separate families. Really, there’s no rule against having more than one shower. If your bridesmaids are involved with more than one shower, just keep in mind how much you’re asking your bridesmaids to spend and do.
Make one event more of a casual get-together or Jack and Jill shower. If you’re at the other extreme and really hate the limelight you may want to combine the shower and bachelorette party. Only if you’re positive you won’t regret skipping the traditional shower, combining the two is a great alternative. Spend the day with just close friends or bridesmaids by going to a spa or taking a cooking class after a small brunch or before dinner. You can still incorporate favors and mementos for whoever comes, and receive thoughtful gifts from the girls without everyone watching!
Q: Do I have to have assigned seating ?
A: Yes. Think about it: your guest list includes relatives from both sides, college friends, coworkers, family friends and your oldest pals. Without a seating plan, you risk having your sorority sisters and the groom’s great-aunt Ruth sitting next to each other. No matter how small or casual your shower is, it’s still necessary to ensure your guests aren’t uncomfortable. Luckily there are so many options and whether you use escort cards or place cards, they can double up as favors.
Q: Do I have to open my gifts at the shower ?
A: To open or not to open? That is the question. Many brides don’t feel comfortable being in the spotlight. While some guests look forward to seeing the bride’s face when she opens their present, a disorganized gift opening can be long, boring, and dreadful. The bridesmaids are crucial here. If you are shy and can’t stand the idea of so much pressure, have the guests keep busy by intertwining an activity during this time.
You can even request that guests wrap gifts in clear cellophane so all you have to do is acknowledge each one with a big smile. Of course, some brides decide to skip the gift opening all together and show their appreciation with a personal thank you card to everyone (which you will do either way). It depends on your personal preference and no rule is set in stone.
Q: How involved should I be in planning the shower ?
A: Take it easy. You will want to make the guest list and ensure no one is left out, but other than that you’re off the hook for this one. If you believe your bridesmaids or family members are not up for the task of planning your dream shower, you can get involved in some of the details. It’s different for every situation, but always make sure to thank your mom (or other hostesses) and bridesmaids at the shower. Stand up and make a toast thanking everyone for coming and let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Q: How do I deal with my fiancé’s mom who wants to invite all of her friends but isn’t chipping in ?
A: This is a tough one, especially because it’s a shame for the families to have bad blood over the shower right before the big day approaches. The answer depends on how big your shower is and how many people the venue can fit. If your mom isn’t inviting many of her friends, simply say that the shower is just for family and your friends. You should always invite the groom’s family even if you’ve never met them.
You don’t want to be outnumbered by women you don’t even know, but it could be good practice for your wedding day. On the other hand, if it’s a big party and she wants her closest friends there, try to have the mothers come to a compromise.
If you are having a rehearsal dinner hosted by his side, are you allowed to invite all your guests? Is it possible to have a separate shower for only his side thrown by his side? These are some individual considerations you must make depending on your situation. These kinds of politics can be tricky, but honest and clear conversations can help define who should be invited to these important events like showers.
Bottom Line: Bridal shower “rules” and expectations are out there for brides to use as guidelines for planning but needn’t be followed strictly. The whole point is to shower you with love, good wishes, gifts, and advice, not to make you uncomfortable. It’s truly all about you! If you find yourself in a dilemma there are always alternatives to tweak your shower to fit your life and personality.