If you are in the process of planning your wedding, you may be wondering whether you should celebrate with a wedding shower or a bridal shower.
Both surround a similar concept which is, of course, to acknowledge the upcoming nuptials although there are a few differences to be aware of.
A bridal shower is specifically held for the bride and is typically an all-female gathering. Often there will be some form of entertainment, food and drinks, and the opportunity to ‘shower’ the bride to be with gifts.
A wedding shower, on the other hand, dismisses the idea of solely inviting females and instead includes guests of all genders. A wedding shower provides an opportunity for the bride's family to show their support and the groom's family to welcome the bride.
The couple will typically celebrate via one rather than holding both a wedding and bridal shower. For some couples, a wedding shower is more inclusive for themselves and their guests, especially if there isn’t a bride that is to be wed. Some couples may also prefer to celebrate their upcoming wedding together, with a varied guest list.
It is common for the couple to have a wedding or bridal registry at the shower. They are available online or in stores and provide an easy way for the couple to communicate their desired gifts and preferences to those who will be attending their celebration.
Online retailers with a more expansive selection will allow the couple to identify a variety of possible gifts and it also provides guests with a lot more inspiration.
Below, we have identified the differences between a wedding shower and a bridal shower so you can select the best event for yourself and your partner.
Why should you have a bridal shower or wedding shower?
While a bridal shower or wedding shower, is a great way of celebrating the bride-to-be or the bride and groom together, the event isn’t a necessity.
The main purpose of holding either event is essentially to receive gifts from the guests that you invite. Of course, you will not be showered with any random gifts but rather those that will prove useful during married life.
Though there isn’t anything wrong with deciding to hold a wedding or bridal shower, it is an event that is solely a suggestion and doesn’t need to be celebrated by the couple. In fact, many view them as outdated and unnecessary.
Should you decide to celebrate with either event, do not feel pressured to throw an extravagant party. It can take any format that you would like. While some may wish to enjoy a subtle celebration at home with their nearest and dearest, others may decide to attend their favorite bar or restaurant or hold a party with a larger audience.
You may also decide to incorporate some bridal or wedding shower traditions into your celebration. Ultimately, your shower should be enjoyable to you.
Will the groom be in attendance at a bridal shower?
This is often decided by the couple's preferences. In regards to bridal showers, the bride typically attends the event alone with the rest of her female-only guest list.
Despite this, it is common for the groom to appear at the end of the night to express their gratitude for the gifts received. It is, however, becoming increasingly popular for the wedding shower to be a shared event that is enjoyed by both the groom too.
At wedding showers, instead of solely showering the bride with gifts, the groom is given gifts too.
How do the guest lists of wedding showers and bridal showers differ?
One of the most noticeable differences between both events can be identified via the guestlist.
Wedding showers are a modern take on a traditional bridal shower where the groom is also invited to celebrate the upcoming wedding. The guest list will also consist of both genders.
A shower of this kind is more inclusive in comparison to a bridal shower and is commonly opted for to avoid any confusion or issues regarding those who are and aren’t invited. The sole purpose of holding a bridal shower, however, is to celebrate the bride alone and the guest list will just include females.
The bride will typically invite those that are closest to her such as her mother, friends, and other relatives. Often it is celebrated instead of the bachelorette party. As mentioned previously, it is becoming common for the groom to attend the bridal shower towards the end of the evening.
Those that are invited to your wedding or bridal shower will be guests at your wedding too. In some instances, guests at your bridal or wedding shower will simply want to share their well wishes with you.
Others are likely to get offended if they receive an invite to your shower but not to the wedding. Remember, as the host, it is important to invite the number of guests that you feel comfortable with.
What is the difference between gifts given at a wedding shower and those given at a bridal shower?
Another difference between both events can be identified through the gifts that are given. At bridal showers, the gifts tend to be more specific to the bride. These may be more personal gifts such as perfume or jewelry or practical gifts that will come in useful inside the home.
At wedding showers, the gifts given tend to be of shared interest to the bride and groom and perhaps not as personal as those given at a bridal shower. This typically tends to be similar in the form of household items or family heirlooms.
As previously touched upon, many will utilize a gift registry. A registry will list the items desired by the couple that will benefit them during married life. This means that guests can buy gifts that will come in useful to the couple in the future. Whilst a registry isn’t an essential part of either event, some may find it helpful.
In some instances, the couple may prefer to receive money or vouchers that they can put towards their big day if they already have the household items that they need.
Although some may find it awkward to outwardly ask their guests for a monetary gift rather than a physical gift there are subtle ways of doing so. You may choose not to have a gift registry or kindly hint to those closest to you that you would appreciate a small monetary gift instead.
According to traditional wedding gift etiquette, a gift should be given at the wedding or bridal shower and the actual wedding too. Of course, these gifts don’t need to be equal in value, as many will choose to give a small gift at the bridal or wedding shower and a different gift at the wedding.
Despite this tradition, you will find that many couples do not expect to receive a gift at both events but rather one or the other.
How do you celebrate at a wedding shower vs a bridal shower?
How you celebrate your wedding or bridal shower depends on your preferences. There aren’t any strict rules regarding how you spend your event.
Of course, you aren’t going to spend your day doing something that you don’t enjoy. Typically, bridal showers occur a couple of months before the wedding on a weekend.
As the host, you can decide when the event will begin, although most will begin at lunchtime or early afternoon. Some will choose to go for brunch or lunch.
Others may choose to attend a masterclass of some variety such as one that involves making cocktails. The majority of the event will likely be spent eating, drinking, and enjoying the company of your guests.
You may also have entertainment in the form of music and games. It’s also a great way of having fun and catching up with close friends and family. During the event, there will then be an opportunity for you to open gifts from your guests.
A wedding shower differs in the sense that the day revolves around the bride and groom rather than just the bride. Again, your wedding shower can be held at similar locations to a bridal shower.
If there is likely to be a mixture of guests in attendance you may wish to organize an event that everyone will enjoy.
For example, a party at home or in a hall depending on how many guests are going to be invited. Ultimately, the way that you celebrate your wedding shower or bridal shower will depend on your preferences and the budget that you have available to spend.
Also, consider how time-consuming the planning is going to be and the amount of preparation that is going to be involved in the process.
Of course, there are traditions and etiquette surrounding how a wedding shower or a bridal shower should be celebrated and practices that should be involved in the day but you also have the flexibility to add your own touch to the day.