What is a Wedding Shower?
This informal event is intended to lavish the bride to be with the support she needs
By Andrea Campbell
Legend has it that the bridal shower originated centuries ago when a poor woman's family might not have had the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. In those instances, the local community would "shower" the couple with gifts. These days a good friend or close relative of the bride hosts a wedding shower by inviting the couple's friends to a party to help them set up their new household. It is given in the same spirit as a historical situation: friends and neighbors help the couple settle into their new home by providing items they'll need.
Quite often showers provide the bride-to-be with gifts of domestic items that she will typically need. Often invitations will specify a particular type of shower, such as a linen shower. If you are invited to a linen shower, your gift can be any cloth household items: bedding, towels, tablecloths, place mats, napkins, potholders or tea towels.
The responsibility for the bridal or couples shower usually falls to the maid of honor, but it can be a collaborative affair shared by friends of the bride. Showers aren't as formal as other aspects of wedding planning though in some cases they can be. Invitations may be sent out, but don't have to be. The determining factor is how formal of an event the bride wants it to be. Food and drink are served and there may be some form of entertainment, such as party games or activities.
The hostess may ask the bride what type of shower she wants. Options include kitchen showers, bath showers and pantry showers. Convention can be altered, too, with something like a co-ed evening party, called a Jack-and-Jill shower, that isn't so gift-centered. One theme possibility is a wine-tasting party with hors d'oeuvres. Attendees can contribute to the purchase of a case of wine for the couple, for example, or just bring wine to be shared among friends during the celebration.
In many cases the host of the event will reach out to the bride to find out if there are particular types of food, drink, activities or themes the bride likes. Then, before the event, the hostess may ask guests to participate in the planning or set up. For example, each guest may be asked to bring in a recipe, which the host combines into a spiral bound notebook for a bride who likes to cook.
Showers usually focus on giving gifts, but that's not the be all and end all of the event. The idea is to celebrate the bride's marriage and to lavish her with love to show her that she has support. Gifts themselves are secondary and typically cost less than wedding gifts. It is not considered courteous to try and out do other invitees in terms of the cost or size of the gift. It is the host's responsibility to keep competitiveness in check. The goal is to get a group together to have fun. One method for dealing with this is to ask guests to contribute toward the joint purchase of a larger gift.
About the Author
Andrea Campbell is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been writing professionally since 1991.
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A bridal shower, usually hosted by the maid of honor or the bride's mother, is the first event that allows the ladies closest to the bride to celebrate. Planning finger food that's easy, tasty and lends a festive and elegant feel to the occasion can be stressful for the hostess.... Read More
Plan bridal shower
The maid of honor will likely head this up, though some brides have multiple showers thrown by people from different walks of their life. Your hostess may request a list of invitees from the bride. Be sure to express any preferences you have -- from including the boys to game requests or omissions.
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