Who Is Responsible for Throwing the Bridal Shower?

Plus, how to ask someone to do it.

sally bridal shower sunlit tables with greenery, flowers, and umbrellas
Photo: Donna Lam Photography

It's an awesome feeling to have the women (and sometimes men) you love the most come together in one place weeks or months before the wedding to shower you love and gifts—some of which you picked out yourself. But pulling together a seamless bridal shower takes planning and foresight, and that requires a host at the helm. We explain who traditionally hosts this pre-wedding party, and what to do when no one steps up to the plate.

The Traditional Bridal Shower Host

The maid of honor traditionally takes on the role of chief shower planner. But she isn't a one-woman show: She relies on the bridesmaids to help her with planning logistics. On the day of, the girls run the party, making sure everything goes smoothly and that guests are taken care of.

The maid of honor isn't the only option, however. Anyone who is close to the bride—including her mother, sister, cousin, grandma, or future mother-in-law—can host.

It used to be that immediate family members were never named as official hosts. Since a shower is all about asking people to bring gifts, it was thought to be gauche if a bride's family were essentially bidding for presents. But if they were secretly hosting, meaning they did the planning and the paying, their identities weren't revealed–and the bridal party was usually called upon to fake being the hosts. Now, though, it's fine for Mom or a sister to plan and host the event.

How to Ask Someone to Host a Bridal Shower

What should a bride do if no one has offered to host a shower? Even though you know no one is obligated to give you one, you're disappointed (and it may especially hurt if you've thrown showers for other people).

First, consider that there may be a surprise shower in the wings. But if you're sure that's not the case and, as time goes on and still no word or sign, you've got to be brave and ask your maid of honor to throw you one. If she's hesitant because it's a money issue and the bridesmaids are strapped for cash, ask your mom or mother-in-law if they are willing to host a shower for you. (You may have to explain the modern etiquette of mom-as-host to them.)

Hosting Your Own Bridal Shower

Although the idea of hosting your own shower—where you can execute your vision down to the last detail—may be appealing, it's generally a no-no, as it comes off as asking for gifts.

Who Pays for the Bridal Shower?

The host plans and pays for the bridal shower. When multiple hosts are enlisted for the duty, they should share the costs of hosting, which also lightens up the financial responsibility put on any one person.

Does the Bride-to-Be Have a Say in the Planning Process?

If asked for your input, it's acceptable to offer ideas or suggestions. Otherwise, sit back and allow your host to plan your shower. With your wedding on the horizon, you likely have enough on your plate.

What to Do After You Choose a Bridal Shower Host

When someone agrees to host your shower, don't expect a big blowout of a party. Actually, why don't you suggest a low-key, informal affair in someone's backyard? They don't even have to serve a meal—it could be a ladies' tea theme with cupcakes and cookies and a variety of hot and cold teas. The whole point of a shower is some pre-wedding girl bonding—and you can do that over a simple tray of vanilla cupcakes just fine.

No matter the scale of your bridal shower, there are a few etiquette rules that stand the test of time. Promptly send invitations with all the details ideally six to eight weeks before the shower. Then, show gratitude to your guests by sending thank-you notes out within 48 hours and up to a month after your shower.

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