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10 Differences Between a Bridal Shower and a Wedding Shower

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So you’ve already finalized a date, let the wedding celebrations begin! Pre-wedding festivities are an exciting time for get-togethers and parties.

With so many different parties before the big wedding day, you might confuse one for the other. So some may ask, what is a bridal shower and a wedding shower, and what’s the difference between the two?

The two terms sound familiar but they are totally different things. A bridal shower is a party just for the bride with her closest female friends and family, while a wedding shower is a party for both the bride and the groom and both sexes can be invited.

Basically, both events are a party that revolves around gifts. A bridal shower is much more traditional to have than a wedding shower.

Couples can choose to have a bridal shower or a wedding shower but it cannot be both. So it’s up to the bride and the groom what kind of shower they will have. Choose one that works best for the both of you.

Now if you’re still confused, here is a guide that breaks down the differences between the two and everything you need to know about a bridal shower and a wedding shower to be able to throw a fantastic and memorable one.

 Bridal ShowerWedding Shower
PurposeParty for the bride onlyParty for both the bride and the groom
Guest ListFemale onlyMale and Female
GiftsGifts for the bride only such as personal itemsGifts for both the bride and the groom
FavorsOptionalOptional
HostMaid of honor, bridesmaids, or female relativesAny of the bride and groom’s family, friends or the wedding party
TimeDaytimeDinner
VenueHost’s house, restaurant, bar, hotel room, etc.Host’s house, restaurant, bar, function room, etc.
ActivityGift opening, food and drinks, gamesLunch or dinner, guest speeches, and gift opening
Food & DrinksFinger foodDinner meals with dessert
ThemeAny theme specific to the bride’s wants and interestsAny theme specific to both the bride and groom’s shared interests

Bridal Shower

Purpose

A bridal shower is a party to celebrate and honor the bride. It is held specifically for the bride to spoil and shower her with gifts and spend time with the bride’s female family and friends.

bridal-shower

Guest List

Anyone can be invited to the bridal shower, but only females are allowed. Bridal showers are attended by women close to the bride.

This is the time to invite your mom, grandmother, sisters, cousins, and aunts if you’re not planning to invite them to your bachelorette party.

Everyone invited to the bridal shower should be invited to the wedding, although not everyone invited to the wedding needs to be at the party.

The number of guests varies depending on the bride’s circle of friends and family. It can be an intimate party of 10 or a large celebration. The groom does not need to attend the bridal shower.

Gifts

Gifts for the bride should be personal gifts such as clothes, perfume, jewelry, lingerie, bath products, makeup, and anything that the bride would want for herself. Family heirlooms from close relatives are also common.

Gifts also can be anything the bride will be needing for her new married life and to set up her new home, such as furniture and household items, if she prefers them over personal items.

Most guests can shop for the bride’s wedding registry at a department store, any chosen store, or an online registry. It is not required though, and you can purchase gifts or give the bride something personal for her.

Gift giving in bridal party

Favors

It is a nice touch to give out bridal shower favors but it isn’t required. Favors such as cupcakes, cookies, or small beauty and bath products would definitely be appreciated by the guests.

Host

The maid of honor is usually the one who hosts the bridal shower and is in charge of the planning and organizing with the help of the bridesmaids. The maid of honor coordinates with the bride to plan the party to suit the bride’s wants and needs.

Close female family friends such as aunts, grandmothers, and the mother of the groom can also help with organizing and the costs for the shower.

Bridesmaids are also there to help with the planning and decorating of the venue for the party and can chip in with the small stuff such as alcoholic beverages, prizes, decorations, and desserts.

Time

Bridal showers are typically a daytime event held in the afternoon but you can change it up to whatever you prefer such as brunch, happy hour, or dinner.

The bridal shower should be held from three months up until three weeks before the wedding day. Just make sure to finish the bride’s registry before sending out the invites for the bridal shower.

Venue

Venue set-up at the garden with lavender and blue motif.

There are a lot of places where you can host the bridal shower and some common venues are at the host’s house, a family member or a friend’s house, the bride’s favorite restaurant or bar, or a hotel room.

Activity

A bridal shower is all about spoiling and showering the bride-to-be with gifts so gift opening is one of the top activities for the party. Eating and drinking is definitely included.

You can do many activities that would be entertaining and fun for all the guests, like fun party games to break the ice and get everyone involved.

Other fun bridal shower activities can be a spa party, a mini fashion show, tarot reading, karaoke, dance lessons, or a wine tasting and food pairing activity. You can even rent a live band or a photo booth to keep the guests entertained.

Food & Drinks

Dessert table of the event with balloons in the side

Finger food is the usual thing to serve during a bridal shower paired with tea, coffee, wine, cocktails, or any beverages you prefer. If you have a specific cuisine or dishes you love, feel free to serve them in the bridal shower.

To make it more fun, you can incorporate the food with the theme such as serving mermaid-designed cupcakes and a tropical punch if you’re having a tropical beach theme bridal shower.

Theme

Having a theme for your bridal shower is optional. You can opt for the classic party with no theme at all or spice it up and think of a fun theme that you love.

You can even have just a color theme if it is too difficult to customize your party with a specific theme. A black and white color theme would be classy and elegant, an all pink party would be very chic and a pastel themed party would be lovely and sweet.

If you love the beach, you can do a tropical beach themed party and serve some refreshing cocktails such as pina coladas or make your own tropical cocktails.

Make the guests wear floral outfits and design your venue with tropical flowers, a pop of colors, and colorful finger foods. Some other nice themes to incorporate into the bridal shower would be glitz and glam, a garden tea party, or an all-white garments bridal shower.

Wedding Shower

Wooden Mr. and Mrs. on a violet mantel

Purpose

A wedding shower is a party for both the bride and the groom and is also known as a couples shower. It is a joint shower celebration for the couple and both sexes are invited.

Wedding showers celebrate the couple and are also a good way for the friends and family of both the bride and the groom to meet, mingle, and have a little fun before the big day.

Guest List

Invites to a wedding shower are much more diverse as there would be male and female invitees. The guest list is friends and family of the bride and the groom and includes all genders.

It can be an intimate party or a big celebration, depending on both the bride and the groom’s preference and circle. Wedding shower guests are also guests at the wedding and you shouldn’t invite people who aren’t going to be on the wedding list.

Gifts

Couple opening the pink gift

The gifts for the wedding shower should both appeal to the bride and the groom and can be shared with both of them. Gifts vary from home decor, furniture, appliances, gadgets, and anything that will be needed in the couple’s new married life.

You can set up a registry for the wedding shower or you can also request a specific gift you want to receive from your guests, like contributions to your honeymoon fund and so on.

Favors

It is optional to give wedding shower favors to the guests. But if you want to give a little something for your guests, common wedding shower favors that would be nice to give are edibles such as cupcakes, cookies, or chocolates.

Host

Anyone can host the wedding shower except the couple. It can be the bride or the groom’s family, the best man, the maid of honor, or any of the couple’s wedding party.

Time

Wedding showers usually take place two months up to a few weeks before the wedding. The shower could be a brunch, lunch, or a dinner party, but the most common are dinner parties.

Venues

Bride to be showing her ring to the elders

Wedding showers are often held at a host’s house, a restaurant, a country club, a function space, or any venue that the couple likes. It could also be anywhere with a significant meaning, such as the couple’s favorite restaurant or the bar where the bride and the groom first met.

Activity

What usually happens in a wedding shower are dinners, speeches, and the opening of the presents. There would be speeches done by the couples’ close family and friends.

The couple will receive gifts from all the guests and will open them in front of everyone. Gift opening usually happens after dinner when the desserts have been served and everyone is socializing and drinking.

The gift opening is the highlight of the event so it should be towards the end of the shower. Of course, you can celebrate any way you want and do what feels best for you. You can even organize some games that would be fun for everyone.

Food & Drinks

One of the desserts in the buffet table.

For a morning shower, you can serve a breakfast menu of pastries, muffins, bagels with tea, coffee or even add some punch and mimosas. For an evening shower, feel free to add a dessert buffet with lots of wine.

Theme

The theme of the wedding shower should both appeal to the bride and the groom and should tailor to the couple’s interests and needs. Use your imagination and show off your personality.

Although it is only optional to have a theme for the shower, it would definitely be much more fun. A theme based on a shared hobby of the couple would be a wonderful thing to incorporate into the shower.

If both the bride and the groom are into sports, a sports shower would be fun where you can organize a basketball, football, volleyball game, or a golf tournament.

For wine enthusiasts and foodies, a wine-and-dine wedding shower would be perfect where you can sample different plates and wines. Gifts could include any kitchenware items or the couple’s favorite wine and food.

Other fun themes for a wedding shower are a champagne party, outdoor pool and barbecue party, or a garden shower.

Whether you’ve chosen to have a bridal shower or a wedding shower, the most important part is to enjoy the party and spend quality time with your friends and family before the big day.

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