6 Bridal Shower Etiquette Rules You Should Never Break

A bridal shower with young women blowing kisses under confetti.

Bridal showers are exciting events for close friends and family members to celebrate the bride-to-be and “shower” her with gifts, attention, and fun before her big day. Traditionally female-only affairs (although recently there’s been a trend towards co-ed showers where both the bride, groom, and their respective friends attend), these celebrations are generally relaxed events with food, games, and gift-opening. However, bridal showers still come with their own list of appropriate expectations and behavior. It’s important to know what will be expected of you as a guest at one of these events. So, what are some important faux pas to avoid? Check them out below!

1. Don’t Forget to RSVP to the Bridal Shower on Time

A desert table in gold and pink colors for a bridal shower.

Once you receive a bridal shower invite, it’s important to RSVP as soon as possible. It will be essential for the host of the shower to know how many people to expect, particularly as these events often involve food and drinks. If you’re unsure about your availability for that date, the best thing to do is communicate with the host and let them know your situation. It is completely inappropriate for you to arrive to the shower without having RSVPd ahead of time. Similarly, if you know you will be unable to attend, it’s also appropriate to RSVP to the host with a cordial “unable to attend” response.

2. Don’t Bring Along Uninvited Guests

You should never show up to a bridal shower with anyone who was not explicitly listed on your invitation—this includes children and partners. If you have a child you’d like or need to bring along, it’s best to check with the host of the shower before making the assumption that their attendance is OK. Some bridal showers are ready to have children as a part of the day, and others are more geared towards an adults-only affair. Even if it feels awkward or difficult to ask for clarification, it will be much more comfortable than arriving with your child in tow, only to surprise the host, the bride, and all the other guests. Never assume that anyone other than who the invitation is addressed to is invited to the bridal shower!

3. Don’t Spoil the Surprise for the Bride

Although most showers these days are not a surprise for the bride-to-be, do make sure to confirm this with the host before saying anything to the bride about the event—you don’t want to be the one to spoil the surprise for her if there is one. Also, be especially cautious about your social media use before the shower. One status update saying “Picking out my outfit for Becky’s bridal shower on Sunday!” could also ruin the whole surprise!

4. Don’t Arrive to the Bridal Shower Empty-Handed

Two wrapped presents for a bridal shower with a gift tag that says

The intention of a bridal shower is to shower the bride-to-be with gifts in preparation for her life as a newlywed and married person, so it would be in especially bad taste to arrive without a gift in hand. If the bride and groom have a registry, or if there was a registry made specifically for the shower, it’s great to choose an item from there. But a shower is also an ideal time to gift a family heirloom or a homemade present from the heart, such as a scrapbook or personalized recipe book. If you’re unsure about how much money is appropriate to spend on a bridal shower gift, know that traditionally anything in the $25-$75 price range is appropriate. Keep in mind, however, what your relationship to the bride is and what she truly would enjoy as she starts life with her spouse!

5. Don’t Bring Provocative Gifts for the Bride

Unless it has been explicitly requested by the host on the invitation, the bridal shower is absolutely not the time to bring a provocative gift for the bride. Save that for the bachelorette party! It’s important to remember that a bridal shower will likely include guests from all walks of the bride-to-be’s life, and she likely will not feel comfortable opening up a provocative gift in front of her grandmother!

6. Don’t Dress Inappropriately

Although bridal showers are more casual now then they have been in years past, it’s still important to show up appropriately dressed. The invitation should give you a basic idea of the general dress code, but it’s often wise to wear a dress or nice pants and a blouse at the very least. When in doubt, feel free to ask the host about what you should wear to the shower. Also, it’s generally a good idea not to wear white to this event. Although it’s obviously not the wedding, it can be fun for the bride-to-be to wear white to her various pre-wedding events, and you don’t want to stand out and feel uncomfortable, should she choose to do so. When in doubt, add some color to your look, just in case!

Bridal showers are wonderful events that can be such fun for the bride-to-be. They’re also a great time for the bridal party, family, and guests to get to know each other better before the big day. As long as you’re following these general etiquette guidelines, you’ll be an all-star guest!

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