Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ask a Planner: Bridal Showers

The month of May is filled to the brim with wedding showers here at Forget Me Knot Details, so I thought I'd put together a little "Frequently Asked Questions" about bridal showers from the pros.
Who should throw the bridal shower(s)?
First of all, it definitely should not be the bride. I'm not one to stick to every rule of etiquette and tradition out there, but this is a rule that was made for a reason. It's tacky to essentially throw yourself a party to get presents. ;) As for who should throw it, some people say the mother of the bride shouldn't throw it either, but I'm flexible on this one. Sometime moms or moms-in-laws really want to, and sometimes they have to when no one else is stepping up the plate (which shouldn't happen, but sometimes it does). Many brides ask their bridesmaids to throw at least one of her showers, and this is a reasonable request of her friends. Other people on the shower-throwing list: aunts, grandmothers, close friends of the family, or any friend who offers.
How many showers should I have?
This answer depends on two things: the size of your guest list, and the financial means of those throwing the shower. It might be a huge burden on your two bridesmaids to throw a shower for 120 women, since not only will they have to feed that many, but probably rent a location. If it's a large guest list, it's usually a good idea to split it into 2 or 3 smaller showers if possible. This way, people feel like they spend more time with the bride, and they don't have to watch you open 120 presents all at once. ;)
Who should be invited to the showers?
The general rule for this is: every woman on your guest list. But, this is not always expected. Many brides chose to exclude out-of-town guests that they know won't make the trip, perhaps telling them about the shower but letting them know it's okay that they can't come. Other people who may not make the shower list: girlfriends/significant others that you're inviting for the male guests' sake, but you don't really know her. Other than that, you should be inviting most of your female guests to a shower.
What should take place at my shower?
The basic outline for a shower is as follows: guests arrive and mingle, guests eat (and perhaps play games), guests watch bride open presents, guests leave. Outside of this- have fun and do what you want! :) If you don't want to play games, then don't. If you want to play 10 games, have at it! Guests can be fed a meal, or just hors d'oerves/desserts (just make sure your time matches up with this). Showers can have themes, or not. Sit down and talk with your hostesses and let them know what you'd like- even if they're surprising you with the details, at least tell them your expectations. The shower should be a reflection of you, the bride.
Should I place registry info cards in my invitations?
Another age-old etiquette question!! Many many wedding etiquette experts will tell you definitely not, that people ought to ask the hostesses where you are registered if they wish. However, practically every store with a registry gives you those cute little cards stating "the bride and groom are registered at xyz store." I say, it depends on your friends and family. Think back to showers you've attended in the past- did they include a registry card in their invite? I know within my own circle of friends, it is expected to have registry info in the shower invite- because everyone does it, it's not considered bad taste. I'm not sure if this is regional or not, but most brides in the WNY area I've worked with include registry info as well. I mean really- the whole point of a shower is to buy gifts for the bride, so registry info goes hand in hand with that. So- take the etiquette advice for what it's worth, and do what you think is best within your circle of ladies. However, please do NOT put registry info in your wedding invite- this is still tacky. ;)
While opening presents, should I announce to my guests who they are from?
One last sticky situation for our brides-to-be at showers, and I'm going to go against the grain on this one. Again, this may be regional (I'd love to know what people do outside of WNY so let me know if you know!), but I've been to many showers where the guests do this, and some where they don't. In my personal opinion, I think it's best NOT to tell everyone who the gifts are from as you're opening them. This may put your guests on the spot in front of everyone, make people self-conscious about what they got you, or start to compare their gift to everyone elses. The economy is rough these days, and not everyone can buy you that $300 set of pots and pans. So, be kind to your guests, appreciate everything you receive, and thank people with heartfelt thank you cards in the mail- not by announcing what they purchased for you in front of everyone.

Got any other questions about bridal showers- or anything wedding-related? We'd love to hear from you! Drop a question into the comments, or shoot us an email at forgetmeknotdetails@gmail.com.

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