A bridal shower is usually the first of many parties the bride and groom will attend after announcing their engagement. The bridal shower is a descendant of the old fashioned bride’s dowry.
For many centuries, the bride’s family would provide a dowry to entice a man to marry their daughter. When the family did not provide a dowry due to disapproval of the groom, or due to their poor financial state, the friends of the bride would gather to gift her with items that would create a dowry for her.
In the early to mid 20th century, the custom of bridal showers had themes like a linen shower, a kitchen or a garden shower. Items for the home were gifted along the lines of the theme, and were to help the bride provide a comfortable home for the couple’s future. As better transportation became available, more family and friends could attend a bridal shower, and the custom changed to more of a household goods theme. No one needs 50 sets of towels!
Today, there are many ways in which to have a bridal shower. Etiquette requires that a gift (or money) is never requested, and bridal registries have become an acceptable method of ‘asking’ for specific items for the couple’s new life together. Traditionally, the family and bridal party are told of the gift wishes of the couple, and if guests want to know what the couple need or want as a gift, they will inquire of the family and bridal party.
Bridal showers are hosted by the Maid of Honour. It is the responsibility of the Maid of Honour to organize the mothers and bridesmaids, and to plan the bridal shower. The mothers of the bride and groom help with the guest list of relatives and close family members who should be invited. The bridesmaids help to ensure friends of the bride and groom are also included in the guest list. The cost of the bridal shower is usually paid for by the bridal party, but if there are a lot of family members, the mothers might also choose to chip in with the costs. Sometimes, if there are many individuals to invite, the mothers might plan their own bridal shower with family members, and the Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids will plan a bridal shower with friends.
Irregardless, there are some basic items that are usually purchased for the bridal shower to decorate the space, and ensure there is a festive air to the event. This usually includes, but is not limited to: