Wedding showers are a rare privilege the bride may enjoy, and thus many a bride to be is looking forward to the gathering of her friends and family to shower her with presents, attention and well wishes prior to the big day itself.
History of a bridal shower:
The history of bridal showers is a bit murky, but the general consensus is that it dates back to the time of the dowry system, when parents would dower their girls to ensure they would have a good start in their married life and could set up a household with their husbands to be.
The story goes that a rich man’s daughter fell head over heels in love with a poor but honorable miller’s apprentice. Against the wishes of the girl’s father the two became engaged and were planning to get married with or without his blessing.
In his anger, the father sought to apply financial pressure to the young couple by threatening to withhold the dowry, thus essentially leaving the young couple to be destitute and penniless at the onset of their lives together.
The villagers who heard of this cruelty were incensed and decided to take matters into their own hands and ensure that the couple would have a grand send-off and be able to have all the items they would need to set up their first household together.
The villagers banded together and collected all the household essentials the couple would require and then invited the bride to a great gift-giving party where they showered her with these gifts, attention, and well wishes her father neglected to give her.
The practice stuck and became a tradition for new brides everywhere. Even in this time of plenty where women are getting married at later ages, when many are already well established financially and quite possibly may have more than enough funds to set up a household many times over, the bridal shower is an event many do not wish to do without.
As concerns any event that involves a large number of people, there are some rules of etiquette that need to be observed in order to make sure that nobody’s feelings are hurt, and also to prevent the bride from being accused of greed.
One of the most often asked questions deals with the bounty of bridal showers; can you have more than one? Generally speaking the answer is “no” but there are some exceptions.
Here are some rules to live by:
Since it is up to your bridesmaids and maid of honor to host the bridal shower party, please be sure to supply them with your address book, wedding guest list, and phone numbers and addresses. This way they will be able to choose whom they will invite.
Depending on their budget, and please remember that it is the bridal shower party who is footing the bill, this if they can only afford to host for a few, the guest list will be small, you may either encounter almost every female who is invited to the wedding, or only a small circle of your closest friends and family.
Your mother, mother-in-law or sister is not in charge of bridal shower event, and thus the party your brides’ maids will hold in your honor will be the only shower you will receive.
Since a bridal shower is a “party with a purpose,” namely the giving of gifts to the bride, it is up to you, the bride, to ensure that not a gaggle of well-meaning friends and family members will be hosting a bunch of them.
While each of these individuals probably wants to honor you, and your mom probably wants to make sure that you have a couple of pizza stones and slotted spoons, having a number of occasion on which people are to fork over presents is in poor taste and may make your appear greedy.
The two noted exceptions are the out-of-town shower and the office shower. While some of the office staff is probably invited to the actual wedding, many will quite possibly not attend because they probably don’t know you that well.
If the office staff wants to throw you a party, this is an acceptable addition to the bridal shower already in the works for you, since this is more or less a work event and an opportunity to allow those with whom you have worked side by side to have a little informal event to express their appreciations and well wishes to you.
The other exception is the shower that will be held by out of town friends and family who cannot attend your own bridal shower. At times, you may not actually be at the party itself, but the hostess will gather the presents and present them at your wedding party.