Should Your Plan Your Own Bridal Shower? Etiquette Experts Share Their Thoughts

The short answer? Turn to friends or family first.

bride with floral centerpiece
Photo: Alyssa Wodabek

A bridal shower is a rite of passage that any bride-to-be should experience, if she wishes to. While the etiquette of this event has certainly morphed over time—as is the case with virtually all nuptial-related traditions—the overarching goal of a shower is to celebrate the guest of honor and set her and her partner up for success in married life. Since this is typically expressed through gift-giving, it can be difficult to navigate who, exactly, is supposed to plan the affair—which is arguably the most important present of them all.

So, who is best-suited to the role of hostess for this event? Is it a family member, or are you better off tapping a close friend? And consider the end all, be all question: Can the bride-to-be host the event herself? To answer these queries, we spoke to the experts, who shared their thoughts on whether the woman of the hour should plan this pre-wedding celebration on her own behalf.

Planning your own shower may be tempting; it gives the bride-to-be the opportunity to "ensure that the location, theme, and details are exactly how she has envisioned them," explains Anne Chertoff, project director of Beaumont Etiquette. However, she adds that the event is traditionally thrown in honor of the bride or the couple—by a parent, close relative, friends, or bridesmaids. "The bridal shower was created as a way to help the newlyweds-to-be furnish their new home with essentials, such as linens, tableware, appliances, and other home and décor items," she says. "Hosting one for yourself may give the impression that you're asking for presents." To avoid this implication, Chertoff recommends having bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, or another close loved one or friend host the shower for you.

If a loved one hasn't offered to throw you a shower, Lizzie Post, co-president and author at The Emily Post Institute, recommends kindly asking someone you're close to if they would consider planning the event on your behalf, noting that is 100-percent not a party you plan yourself. "Because it's a party that's completely based on giving gifts, it looks very self-serving to throw yourself your own shower," she says. However, if you're in the unique position where you have guests to invite to the celebration but nobody to host the event for you, Post suggests planning it as a shower where you ask for advice, rather than tangible gifts. If you go this route, Chertoff says to avoid including registry information with the invitation. This will "ensure that the impression given is more about a celebratory get-together and not about receiving gifts," she says.

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