The History of the Bridal Shower (and How and Why to Throw Yours) - Blume Photography | Athens, GA Wedding Photographer | Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer (2024)

Getting ready to tie the knot? How about a little celebration first! Consider having a bridal party, one of the world’s most cherished pre-wedding celebrations.

The History of the Bridal Shower (and How and Why to Throw Yours) - Blume Photography | Athens, GA Wedding Photographer | Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer (1)

The origins of the bridal shower

It’s time to celebrate! It’s your “last day” as a single woman, so they say. You will be uniting with your fiancé soon, so gather with your closest female companions to celebrate the transition.

Bridal showers are some of the most intimate, heartfelt moments people share with their loved ones before the Big Day. Although they’ve (sort of) always been this way, the event wasn’t exactly as joyous of an occasion when it first began.

At its start, the bridal shower started as an alternative to the dowry system (when a man trades goods or money to a father to a woman’s hand in marriage).

In Holland or Belgium, the bride’s friends and family would offer her gifts to support her entrance into the role of a wife.

Part of the reason this practice emerged was that the soon-to-be wife could not afford the dowry, or her father did not support her choice of spouse.

As time went on, these gatherings evolved and eventually became more suited to upper-class folks. Between the 1830s to the early 1900s, Americans would throw these events for well-off attendees to gossip together about the newlyweds’ life and what role the wife would play.

From this era, we drew today’s commonality: Giving practical household gifts to the bride-to-be.

Nowadays, the event goes hand-in-hand with bachelorette parties or is held instead of that party. Either way, the idea is for loved ones to gather ’round and celebrate their dear bride by gifting her the tools, resources, and knowledge she’ll need to be a wonderful wife.

The History of the Bridal Shower (and How and Why to Throw Yours) - Blume Photography | Athens, GA Wedding Photographer | Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer (2)

Why and how you should throw a bridal shower

Okay, this is an intriguing backstory — but it’s unlikely that you’re facing the inability to afford a dowry. So, you’re probably looking for another motivation for this soireé.

Before you commit to the event, first establish why you’re doing it. To do that, you’ll need to understand how to identify a bridal shower vs. bachelorette party.

So, what is a bridal shower? The easiest way to distinguish this event from the alternative is this: The bridal shower is future-focused, while the bachelorette party is present-focused.

At the former, your loved ones are preparing you for your upcoming role as a wife (as mentioned previously). During the latter event, you are encouraged to indulge in what your life is now, before you “become one” with your fiancé.

Both have their advantages and drawbacks, but the main reason you might want to have a bridal shower is to celebrate this new chapter in your life.

Why might you need this? Well, there are two main reasons:

  • You might need to calm your nerves and warm those “cold feet.” At least one partner in approximately two-thirds of couples expresses doubt before they get married. Celebrating the occasion with loved ones can boost your confidence in the union.
  • The gifts can speed up the process of establishing your home. Turning your house into a “home” can be so exhausting. Furniture, kitchen appliances (use this link to learn more about new launches that are available in market), and other things are so expensive! Receiving gifts can help reduce the stress during this time.

Keep in mind that bridal showers can be as big and lively or as quiet and intimate as you like. Either way, your guests will feel honored that you wanted to include them in this sensitive transition time.

Now, your (or your bridesmaids’) job is to make it an unforgettable event. How do you do that?

How to throw a bridal shower

There are a few essential standards to adhere to when throwing a bridal shower to ensure you and your guests are thoroughly entertained. Beyond these, you can customize the event to your specific preferences and style.

The most important points to consider during planning include:

  • Timing: A bridal shower should come way before your wedding (six months or more). This is because: Not all bridal shower attendees can make it to the ceremony, and guests might bring gifts to the wedding. The two events shouldn’t pile up on each other too closely.
  • Host: Traditionally, the bridesmaids host the event, allowing you to relax and revel in the showers of gifts and being surrounded by close friends and family. You’re not held to this, though. Take control if you wish!
  • Guestlist: Don’t invite people who aren’t welcome at the wedding to the shower. This is unbelievably awkward and insulting. Keep it to wedding attendees, for everyone’s sake.

Now, the fun part: choosing the bridal shower venue. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with this part. The venue doesn’t have to be as jaw-dropping as the wedding location. That said, it can still be spectacular.

You’ll want a place that enhances your closeness to your guests and really accentuates the communal, celebratory nature of the event.

All this said, I recommend an indoor or semi-outdoor space. The space should be cozy — but not crowded — yet spacious enough to encourage dancing, games, and general vivacity. Book these spaces or find a similar bridal shower venue for the best results:

  • The Modern Honolulu, Honolulu, HI (ballroom or rooftop): best for large gatherings
  • The Allis House, Chicago, IL: excellent space for small, private parties
  • Apotheke, Los Angeles, CA: very versatile space, ideal for large and small groups (consider their mixology class for a fun bonus activity!)

Host a bridal shower you’ll never forget

Bridal showers are curious little parties that differ from bride to bride. Though your event might not stem directly from the celebration’s history, it’s a practice that has endured through the generations to commemorate your transition into your new union with your fiancé.

Host your shower at any of the venues mentioned here or find a bridal shower venue that checks all the same boxes for a night you’ll never forget.

The History of the Bridal Shower (and How and Why to Throw Yours) - Blume Photography | Athens, GA Wedding Photographer | Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer (2024)


What was the original purpose of a bridal shower? ›

At its start, the bridal shower started as an alternative to the dowry system (when a man trades goods or money to a father to a woman's hand in marriage). In Holland or Belgium, the bride's friends and family would offer her gifts to support her entrance into the role of a wife.

What is the point of a bridal shower? ›

A bridal shower is a gathering that takes place before the wedding to honor the bride. It's a chance for her closest friends and family members to get together and celebrate the occasion. Like baby showers, a bridal shower gives people the chance to “shower” the guest of honor with love, time, and gifts.

Who traditionally throws the bridal shower? ›

The Traditional Bridal Shower Host

The maid of honor traditionally takes on the role of chief shower planner. But she isn't a one-woman show: She relies on the bridesmaids to help her with planning logistics. On the day of, the girls run the party, making sure everything goes smoothly and that guests are taken care of.

Who pays for a bridal shower? ›

So find a go-to person to coordinate and make the day as lovely and special as the guest of honor. Key Takeaway: The host is the one who usually pays for the bridal shower. However, if needed, others can help, too.

What is a good Bible verse for a bridal shower? ›

Bridal Shower Bible Verses from Proverbs

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12.

Why is there a bridal shower and not a groom shower? ›

As the woman was the person “responsible “ for setting up the home, the shower was for her as the purpose of a shower was to “shower” the bride with the gifts needed to set up the home (similar to a baby shower being for the mother).

What is the difference between a bridal shower and a wedding shower? ›

A bridal shower honors the member of the couple who identifies as the bride; for a wedding with two brides, it can honor either (or both). A wedding shower honors a couple—and, like a bridal shower, is planned by friends or family members of either partner.

When should you not have a bridal shower? ›

The trick is not to plan it too far in advance or too close to the wedding date. If it's too far out, those involved may lose some of that wedding-season excitement, but if it's too close to the big day, the bride will be too busy with last-minute ceremony prep to really enjoy herself at the shower.

Who should not give a bridal shower? ›

Answer: Tradition says that a shower shouldn't be thrown by the bride's immediate relatives, including future in-laws, because it might give the impression that you're asking for gifts.

What does mother in law give at bridal shower? ›

Consider heirloom-worthy serveware or a handmade book featuring your family's secret recipes. Alternatively, opt for items she'll likely need for the wedding. Think: a luxurious getting-ready robe, something blue or travel essentials for the honeymoon.

What is the mother of the bride responsible for? ›

As the mother of the bride, it is one of your responsibilities to act as a hostess at the wedding and reception to make sure the guests are comfortable. So, on the day, make sure you welcome guests, ensure everyone is looked after.

How much should a bridal shower cost? ›

If you're going all out with an elaborate bridal shower, you could be talking $40 to $150 or more (gasp!) per person. Even a small, elaborate bridal shower (think 15 guests) could cost between $600 and $2,250—and that's before invitations, decorations and cake.

How many hours does a bridal shower last? ›

Bridal showers typically last 2-4 hours and are not considered an all-day event. Although, depending on the type of shower you are hosting the time can vary. Most showers will either take place in the morning and serve as a brunch, or in the afternoon served with lunch or finger foods.

How much should a mother in law spend on a bridal shower gift? ›

The Average Cost of a Bridal Shower Gift

According to Opperman, bridal shower gifts tend to be less expensive than wedding gifts. "Many people spend around $50 to $75, whereas closer friends and family may spend upwards of $100," she says. "However, the amount you want to spend is up to you."

What kind of food do you serve at a bridal shower? ›

Finger sandwiches: Sandwiches made with a variety of fillings, such as cucumber and cream cheese, chicken salad, or egg salad, are a classic choice for a bridal shower. Appetizers: Small bites, such as bruschetta, mini quiches, or cheese and fruit platters, are another popular option.

Is a bridal shower a big deal? ›

Bridal showers are a fun occasion to celebrate the bride-to-be with a small, close group of family and friends. And anyone who's attended a shower knows gifts are a major part of the event.

Do you bring a gift to a bridal shower? ›

Technically, these are two separate events, and traditionally, it is proper etiquette for guests to show up to the bridal shower with a gift, and also purchase a gift for the wedding (this is typically done via a wedding registry, but it's also fine to bring a present in-person to the wedding).

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