How Many Bridal Showers Should A Bride Have?

And other burning questions regarding hosting a pre-wedding celebration.

bridal shower
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Bridal showers are traditionally about "showering" the bride and groom with the right tools for their new life together. As with all traditions, such as giving baby showers, there are etiquette guidelines for hosting bridal showers; guidelines we rely on not only to inform us on what is socially acceptable, but that keeps us from creating social blunders, or "bless your heart" moments. Etiquette experts such as Emily Post, Miss Manners, and even Mama have strong opinions when it comes to these types of occasions, so we tried to wade through all the information out there and answer some of the most often-asked questions regarding bridal showers.

Is It Appropriate To Have More Than One Shower?

Absolutely, but the bride needs to be realistic. There really isn't a need for more than two showers. There will always be exceptions to the "rules," (i.e. friends across the country who want to throw you a party, etc.), but usually, two to three showers are enough. Any more and it will appear you are just making a grab for gifts. Mama, our resident expert on Southern culture, believes that a bride should be happy with two showers. She says that "… a miscellaneous tea or shower should stock her kitchen, china cabinet, and linen closet. And then a MUCH smaller group of close friends and relatives should be invited to her lingerie shower. If the groomsmen want to give HIM a tool or garden party, fine, but no bride should have anything Black & Decker on her registry. That's what husbands are for."

Who Should Be Invited To a Shower?

Showers are meant to include friends, relatives, and, oftentimes, close co-workers, not casual acquaintances you see once or twice a month. Since your guest lists for the showers should not overlap, (with the exception of your immediate family members and maid of honor, you don't invite someone to more than one shower). The hostess should consult the bride to be sure that shower guests are also wedding guests—again with the exceptions, but you don't invite someone to a shower unless you invite them to the wedding.

How Many People Can Be Invited To a Shower?

It is up to the hostess(es) to decide the number of guests—after all, they are the ones footing the bill for the party. According to etiquette expert Emily Post, "a shower should be an intimate party—not a gathering that rivals the wedding." Remember, only those who are invited to the wedding should also be invited to the shower.

Do You Take a Gift To a Tea?

The distinctions between a shower and a tea have blurred throughout the years. Everyone can agree that a shower is an event that calls for gifts, games, and guests who stay for the duration. Historically a tea or luncheon was simply that—a chance for the guests to visit with the honoree, the bride, and enjoy a light lunch or late afternoon snack. Gifts were not required or expected. In many parts of the country today, including the South, tea has now become just another gift-giving event. Gifts are opened by a hostess, not the bride, and displayed for everyone to see. Guests can come at any time after the tea has started, hand off their gift, nibble on punch and cheese straws, and leave after an appropriate amount of time. Oftentimes church members will host a shower on Sunday after services, and since these are usually more formal and fussy than a casual shower in someone's home (everyone is still wearing their Sunday best), these events are often billed as a bridal tea. However, if you want to host a traditional tea, the kind that both Miss Manners and the Dowager Countess of Downtown Abbey would gladly attend and approve of, you definitely need to leave any gift registry information off the tea invitation. And if guests ask for gift suggestions, simply tell them all that is required is the pleasure of their company.

Bridal showers should be fun and frivolous, a chance for friends and family to celebrate the coming event. Etiquette guidelines can help you decide how to proceed when planning a shower, thus keeping your stress level down.

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