Friday, April 4, 2008

Wedding Etiquette: Bridal Showers

  • If you're invited to a bridal shower but can't attend, are you expected to send a gift anyway?

    No, although you might want to send one to the hostess's home ahead of time if the bride-to-be is a close friend.

  • Should someone who was invited to a shower also be invited to the wedding?

    Yes. An exception: coworkers who give the bride-to-be an office shower.

  • If you give a bride-to-be a shower gift, is it also necessary to give a wedding

    Yes, but the shower gift needn't be as expensive or elaborate as the wedding gift.

  • May a second-time bride-to-be be given a wedding shower?

    Certainly. It's best, however, to make it a small, intimate gathering. If possible, the guest list should be composed of friends who didn't attend showers for the first marriage.

  • Are showers for women only?

    Not any longer. Today's showers are often planned as "couples" parties that include the groom and male guests. It's good to designate a theme of interest to both the bride and groom, such as cooking, gardening, or a sport. An especially fun theme is a "round-the-clock shower" to which each guest brings a gift appropriate to the time of day or night specified on his or her invitation.

  • Is a bride-to-be required to write thank-you notes for all shower gifts?

    Although always appreciated, notes are not obligatory if she has already thanked the guests in person for gifts opened at the shower. It is necessary, however, for her to write to anyone who sent a gift but was unable to attend or to a guest she was unable to thank at the party.

  • Is it proper for a future mother-in-law to host a bridal shower for the bride-elect?

    The tradition holds that immediate family members — mothers, sisters, future mothers-in-law — don't give showers for the bride-to-be. The reason is that it seems self-serving for someone so close to the couple to issue an invitation that, in effect, asks for gifts. There are exceptions, however, such as when a bride comes from far away to get married in her groom's hometown.

  • My fiancĂ© and I have lived together for three years and have a 1-year-old son. We plan to get married early next year. Would it be appropriate for me to have a wedding shower?

    Once you've set the date for your wedding, it would be perfectly appropriate for a friend to host a shower for you. Wedding showers are usually held between a few months and a few weeks before the ceremony.

  • Is there a way to give my friend a bridal shower even though she recently moved to a new city and won't be returning to our hometown until just before the wedding?

    Sure. You can throw her a proxy shower, which is a perfectly acceptable way for friends to honor a bride-to-be who can't be with them. During the party, the guests usually phone the bride-to-be to say hello and wish her well. They sometimes also write short messages on a joint card and send it to her. Sometimes the hostess will ask that the gifts be brought to the party unwrapped so that everyone can see them. The guests then wrap their gifts at the shower, and the hostess mails them to the bride.
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