etiquette & advice

Bridal Shower Etiquette 101

We’ve all heard heinous reports of bridezillas who shame their wedding guests for giving an inadequate gift, or none at all. While these are extreme cases of tactlessness, sometimes it’s a nice reminder for all of us to discuss etiquette when it comes to gift-giving occasions, such as weddings and showers. Here are a few pointers when it comes to being a gracious guest of honor at your bridal shower.

The Guest List. You don’t have to include every single female guest that you’ve invited to your wedding in your shower. In fact, intimate showers with a group of your closest family and friends tend to work well for everyone: the bride, the guests and the shower’s host(s). Sticking with a smaller guest list means that you’ll be able to spend more time visiting with each guest, rather than worrying about how to make 200 people feel welcome. If someone can’t attend your shower, it’s not appropriate for you to expect they will send a gift. Some might, others might not; the choice is entirely up to them. The focus should be on inviting people because you cherish their presence, not because you expect them to give presents.

Opening Gifts. While some women absolutely love the gift-opening portion of a bridal shower, other women cringe at the idea of unwrapping presents in front of a crowd. No matter what camp you fall into, it’s important to be a gracious receiver. You don’t want to drag it out and bore your guests, but you also don’t want to rush through it and risk seeming ungrateful. Make the process run smoothly by kindly asking your bridal party to help: enlist one person to pass unopened gifts, one person to record who gave what with a pen and paper, one person to take the opened gift, and one person to clean up the wrapping paper and other packaging. Keep a pair of scissors handy for any items that need to be cut.

Express Gratitude. Once you’ve finished opening gifts, give a short speech of thanks. You might start by thanking the host(s) for planning and organizing the celebration, then thank guests for coming and for their gifts. You might also want to bring small gifts of thanks to present to the women who hosted the event, along with a thank-you card for the work they did.

Thank You Cards. This is an absolute must when it comes to shower etiquette. Write heartfelt thank-you notes to each guest, thanking them for attending the event and for their gift (if they brought one). Thank-you cards don’t have to be long, but they should always be sincere. If a guest attended your shower and didn’t bring a gift, it’s still important that you send them a note to thank them for having been part of the celebration. It’s not appropriate to shame invitees who didn’t attend because they didn’t send you a gift. You’ll only end up embarrassing yourself and make them think you’re on a greedy gift-grabbing spree. Receiving gifts, be they for a bridal shower, wedding, or baby shower is a privilege, not a right.

Image(s): CSA Archives

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