Bridal Shower Guide

Bridal showers are a special tradition in the engagement process and are designed to do just that; shower the bride to be with love and presents before her big day! But like other wedding events, a shower may raise a number of etiquette, fashion, and planning questions. We compiled a quick primer on the occasion, with some bridal shower etiquette tips, a bridal shower dress guide, and the three essentials every shower needs.

Include registry information with the invitations, since the purpose of the party is to shower the bride with gifts!
Shower guests should also be invited to the wedding, unless your office would like to plan a shower too or you’re having a small destination wedding.
Showers can be hosted by the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids, or co-hosted with the bride’s mother and/or family members (even Emily Post agrees!)
Brides, don’t forget to buy a gift for the hostess to express your gratitude.

Bridal Shower Dresses

Every soiree during your engagement is a special moment that deserves to be celebrated…with a new dress! One style philosophy is to take every chance you get to wear bridal white that way everyone knows you’re the bride to be. So a bridal shower dress can be a pretty white or cream colored frock that’s appropriate for daytime fetes. Although bridal shower dresses don’t have to conform to custom; if you spot a dress in a floral print or your favorite shade of pink, go for it! As much as we adore all the different white dresses one can wear throughout an engagement, the modern bride shouldn’t feel constrained to shades of cream.

Your invite list probably includes not just your close friends and bridesmaids but family friends, co-workers, and your grandma. For this reason, picking a more conservative bridal shower dress is a good way to make sure your great-aunt isn’t shocked by the length of your hemline, and save the shorter frocks for the bachelorette party. Whether you wear white or not, be sure to tailor your bridal shower dress to the kind of shower you are having!

Traditional/Formal

A bridal shower dress should fit with the formality of the occasion. If you’re having a very traditional soiree, then your bridal shower dress should reflect that and tend towards a more structured and classic silhouette. You could also forego a bridal shower dress altogether and slip into a pencil skirt paired with a delicate lace blouse. And be sure to think about an ensemble that looks great while you’re sitting down opening all those gifts and playing shower games (i.e. not something too tight around the mid-section).

Backyard Casual

If you are keeping things casual, like lemonade in mason jars and summer sandals kind of casual, then opt for a bridal shower dress that is loose and flowy, then accessorize with bold, bright hues. A printed maxi dress, a white eyelet frock, or a sun dress are all great bridal shower dress options for a casual gathering with your closet friends and family. Don’t forget to have one of your bridesmaids record all your gifts so you can send thank you’s after the party!

Ladylike Brunch or Tea

What better way to fete the brunch-loving bride to be than with waffles and mimosas? A tea, with fine china and tiny sandwiches, is also a fun option for wearing your Sunday best. A tea length dress, a cream lace frock, or a vintage-inspired cocktail dress is perfect for a brunch or tea. This kind of soiree permits a bridal shower dress with the girliest of details like bows, frills, embellishments, and ruffles. Pearls and pastels are a must! If your wedding colors include something bright like pink, lemon yellow, or mint, consider finding a bridal shower dress in that color.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Audrey Hepburn never fails to inspire the classic Ruchette, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s remains a popular shower theme! Romantic florals, vintage details, and Tiffany’s blue accents will make this a classy affair, which naturally deserves a classy bridal shower dress. While shades of white make sure everyone knows you’re the bride, a themed shower creates some leeway in bridal shower dress options. Pretty alternatives to white include pale blue for Tiffany’s, a black cocktail dress accessorized with pearls to fully embrace the theme, or a vintage-style cocktail dress. Don’t forget an updo and tiara!

GAMES TO BREAK THE ICE

While there are fun and not so fun bridal shower games, they serve an important purpose. Breaking the ice at a bridal shower where all the guests may not know each other is a great way to promote bonding. A simple game, like couple trivia with 20 questions about the couple, is an easy way to incorporate this tradition and share more about your love story with your guests. Or you can do “He said, She said” with quotes from you and your fiancé-whoever guesses right can win a small prize, like nail polish or a gift card.

Signature cocktail

A signature cocktail is an easy way to entertain with panache! For a shower, consider a champagne cocktail, colorful white sangria, or fruity punch since it will likely take place in the afternoon. Be sure to offer mocktails for pregnant friends and non-drinkers.

A gift theme

Despite the tradition of showering the bride with gifts to furnish and decorate her new home, the times have changed! Many brides acquire household essentials before the wedding, so you can provide shower guests with a different bridal shower gift theme. Some fun ones include garden, library, wine, or lingerie, thus setting the bride up with everything she will need for a home garden, adding to the couple’s library, stocking the couple’s wine cellar, or picking out something just for her fiancé’s eyes! A ‘Round the Clock theme inspires creativity by assigning every guest a time of day that their gift must relate to (like champagne for midnight, or a waffle iron for morning).

Photography credit: Stephanie Williams (This Modern Romance), Kim Le Photography, Elizabeth Messina