Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.) This installment is from New Orleans Bride Magazine’s etiquette columnist, Dee Lane.
Question: My soon-to-be sister-in-law wants to throw me a bridal shower, but my mother says family members (even ones who aren’t family yet) shouldn’t throw showers. Is this true? If so, why?
Answer: Tradition says that a shower shouldn’t be thrown by the bride’s immediate relatives, including future in-laws, because it might give the impression that you’re asking for gifts. Now, we all know that guests bring gifts to showers, and that any bride worth her salt is much more interested in spending time with friends and family, and having them get to know each other, than receiving a gift. Which is why these days it has become perfectly acceptable for a family member to host a shower.
Another shower trend is several people sharing the responsibility for the party. Often the maid of honor will throw a shower in conjunction with the bridesmaids, or a group of the bride’s mother’s friends will get together to share the cost and tasks. Regardless of who throws the shower, the host(s) and the bride should greet guests as they arrive.
These days brides will often have more than one shower. If this is the case, the hosts should consult each other to avoid inviting guests to more than one shower (the obvious exceptions to this are the bridesmaids, who should be invited to all of the showers, but not expected to attend).
As with almost everything about throwing showers, for every rule there is an exception, and while you should only invite people to the shower who are on your wedding guest list, the exception to this rule is the office shower. Though it isn’t usually possible to invite all of your colleagues to your wedding, they will most likely want to help you celebrate regardless.
The shower invitation is also an exception to the rule of not printing registry information; in fact, it’s the perfect place to do so. Ask your hosts to add a line at the bottom of the invitation after the relevant details that says something like: “Jane and John are registered at Amazon and Anthropologie.”
Throwing a shower is an exceptionally generous act, so while a handwritten thank-you note is acceptable (and necessary), you should also give the hosts a small gift, such as a gift certificate or a selection of little luxuries; matching your gift to the theme of the shower, if there is one, is a nice touch.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
Save the date for our June 2018 Bridal Show, June 12 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Click here for tickets and more information.
This article originally appears in the Winter 2018 issue of New Orleans Bride.