Bridal Showers: Parties with a Purpose

Have you ever asked yourself what is the purpose of a bridal shower? Do you think is just another way for the bride to accumulate more gifts? Are you planning a shower and need some advice? Here is a little history and some advise for planning a bridal shower.

A bridal shower is a way to honor the bride by ‘showering’ her with good wishes and gifts. It is believed the first wedding shower can be traced back to a Dutch story of a young girl who fell in love with a poor miller. Her father was not pleased with his daughter’s choice and refused to bestow a dowry (a sum of money and/or goods) necessary for the couple to set up a household. The miller was a generous man who had shared his possessions and helped several villagers who had fallen on hard times. When the villagers found out the bride’s father refused to bestow a dowry on the newlyweds, they came together and ‘showered’ the couple with gifts so they could establish a home together. And thus began the tradition of bridal showers.

Even though more and more women are marrying later in life and have already accumulated sufficient household items, the tradition of ‘showering’ the bride still persists. It is a good time to pamper the bride, make her feel special and help her to relax from all the wedding planning. Showers are no longer just for the bride. More and more showers are being held for couples, commonly called Jack and Jill showers. These ‘Jack and Jill" showers have increased in popularity over the past ten years and are a great way for family and friends to kick back and take a break from all the wedding planning.

Traditionally, the maid of honor plans the shower party. But today, any close friend or relative of the bride can plan and host a bridal shower. The bridal shower should be held four to six weeks before the wedding. ‘Surprise’ bridal showers should be avoided for several reasons. First and foremost, the bride is very busy planning her wedding and most likely holding down a full time job. So the bride needs to be consulted about the best day and time to have a bridal shower. Secondly, another shower may already be planned and you do not want to schedule your surprise shower on the same day. Thirdly, you need to consult with the bride on the guest list. Because guests are expected to bring a gift to these parties, it is important that the same guests are not invited to several showers. This can become quite expensive for guests if they are invited to several showers for the same bride.

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