Frequently Asked Questions About Bridal Showers


What is a Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower, often termed a hen’s party or kitchen tea, is an event thrown by the maid-of-honor together with the bridesmaids, the purpose of which is to bestow gifts upon the bride-to-be. In other words, the party serves as a forum at which to ‘shower’ the bride with gifts. The showered gifts go a long way toward facilitating the progress of homemaking for the bride and her husband.

The earliest Biblical record of a bridal shower appears in the story of Rebeccah and Isaac. In the story, Rebeccah’s family gathered and blessed her before she departed for her husband’s house. I believe the forum was the best chance everyone had to share their heartwarming words of wisdom with Rebeccah — the exact purpose of bridal showers! Showers impact the life of the bride by equipping and empowering her with life skills that go a long way toward enhancing the emerging marital relationship.


Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.” 61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left (Genesis 24:57-61).

(Also see Bachelorette Party, below.)


What is a Bachelorette Party?

A bachelorette party is the female equivalent of the bachelor’s party. Usually attended by women only, the bachelorette party is held at a bar or pub, where there is entertainment and music, and alcohol is served. A bachelorette’s party is simply a party thrown in honor of the bride-to-be, in a manner that is typical to that social circle. It is often held a few days before the wedding.


What is the difference between Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties?

Unlike bridal showers, bachelorette parties are associated with male strippers and a night of debauchery and getting drunk.


Where did Bridal Showers Originate from?

Legend has it that, many years ago in Holland, a young Dutch girl fell in love with a poor miller. The young woman’s family was wealthy and her father did not approve of her choice of future husband. He refused to give her the customary bridal dowry, hoping this would dissuade her from considering the miller for marriage. However, the young Dutch girl decided to take the risk marrying for love rather than for money and status.


When the townspeople heard the family’s story, they came together and showered the strapped couple with all the necessities they would need to set up their home. This became a new norm in that town. Today, the practice has spread to countries around the world and has, inevitably, been shaped and molded by the recipient customs — although the original idea remains mostly intact.


Is there such thing as Groom Showers?

Previously, a shower was held strictly for the bride, her family and friends. It was often an intimate, feminine celebration. However, today the participation of men is on the rise; we are seeing increasingly more couple showers that honor both the bride and groom.


Who should host the Bridal Shower Party?

Traditionally, the maid- or matron-of-honor hosts the party. The modern rule, though, is more relaxed: a family member or a close friend may host the event. Experimentation notwithstanding, perhaps it is best to consult with the stakeholders before deciding how closely to adhere to, or ignore, any laid-down rules. Perhaps the one bridal-shower rule that remains unbroken is that the bride never hosts her own shower.


When is the Right Time to hold the Bridal Shower?

Traditionally, the shower should be a surprise, and is scheduled at least two weeks before the wedding ceremony. This, however, is not a hard-and-fast rule; in modern times, the shower is held when it is convenient for the parties involved.


Can you pick a Theme for a Bridal Shower?

The answer is a resounding YES! When deciding on a theme, though, prefer one that reflects the personality and interests of the bride. After all, it is her party! The bride’s friends may organize several different theme-type parties where the women get together to have fun, sometimes to educate the bride and give practical advice and gifts. For couples who have been living together, or singles who may have set up home for some time on their own, linen-and-lingerie party-themes are quite common too.


What is the best Venue for the Bridal Shower?

There are no hard-and-fast rules here. No bridal-shower etiquette will give you a blueprint on venue, whom to invite and how much to spend. What course of action to take is entirely up to the parties involved and the individual circumstances (for instance availability of finances). The shower may be held at a stakeholder’s home, a restaurant, a hotel or a convention center. If the participants desire an ornate function, they may need to assist the maid- or matron-of-honor and perhaps finance the function.


Showers should be fun, but they are most successful and enjoyable when they are planned with consideration and common sense. Note: If you hold the shower in a public place, you may wish to limit the more intimate gifts: showing them around may embarrass the bride or other guests.


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