Engagement party. Bridal shower. Bachelor and bachelorette parties. Rehearsal dinner. Yes, the pre-wedding festivities you suddenly have to consider once you’re engaged can be overwhelming. And the bridal shower is one of the trickiest wedding events to plan—who hosts? When do we have it? Who do we invite? Below, we tackle some of the top questions couples have when planning their bridal shower. Need more help? Leave it up to us! RiverCrest has hosted countless bridal showers—each as lovely and special as the big day itself. (And once you’ve tackled this, check out our tips for planning the perfect rehearsal dinner here.)
Who hosts the bridal shower?
Most bridal showers are thrown by the bride’s and/or groom’s mother, the bridesmaids, or a close relative or family friend.
Who do we invite?
While it’s customary to have a women-only shower, some couples choose to throw a “Jack and Jill” bridal shower, where the guys are included. Either way, only invite people who are invited to your wedding, and keep it relatively small: This is an event for your close circle of friends and family — not your entire guest list.
When do we have it?
Typically, bridal showers are held during the day — early to mid-afternoon — and they take place anywhere from three months to three weeks before the big day. You’ll want to mail out invitations four to six weeks before the event, making sure to include any registry info or a link to the couple’s wedding website on the invitation.
How long should a bridal shower be?
Somewhere between two to three hours. (Three hours is generally the sweet spot—enough time to mingle, eat and open presents, but not so long that guests get antsy.) And for the food: Heavy appetizers and finger foods are generally appropriate, although some hosts choose to serve a full lunch.
Do we have to open all the gifts there?
In short: no. This is completely up to you. If you do choose to unwrap at the shower, it can be helpful to designate a few people (attention, bridesmaids!) to usher the process along smoothly and quickly. For instance, one person helps unwrap the gifts, another writes down who gave what, and another corrals the mounds of used wrapping paper for the trash. If you cringe at the thought of being the center of attention, consider a gift display instead. Ask guests to bring their gifts unwrapped or in clear cellophane and place them on a gift table for others to see. (Just remember to note your request on the invitation.)