My Modern Manners: Bridal Shower Etiquette For The Guest

May 3, 2015

With wedding season just around the corner, chances are you have been invited to a handful of bridal showers. It’s not always easy to know how to balance traditional manners in a modern world; that said, the Greenhorn girls asked some their top questions on bridal shower etiquette and I’m sharing my advice below to help you too be a gracious guest.

1. Q. I found something adorable that reminded me of the bride-to-be but it isn’t on her registry, is it okay to purchase a gift off-registry?

A. If you know the bride well enough, and know it is something she would love, go for it! Otherwise, the registry is always the safest bet. Either way, be sure to include a gift receipt and you can’t go wrong.

2. Q. My favorite spring dress is mostly white but has accents of color, is this appropriate to wear to my friend’s bridal shower?

A. Yes! As long as the dress has pops of color, or a pattern to break up the solid white, feel free to wear it. Just remember that it should be clear who the bride is and you do not want to be the center of attention. So if you would wear it to your own bridal shower, it’s probably a no-go. The bride may or may not arrive wearing white, sometimes the maid of honor or mother-of-the-bride will opt for shades of white, so reserve the special color for the guests of honor.

3. Q. I have my gift for the bride, but don’t want to come empty handed to a hostess’ house I’ve never met. Should I bring a gift for the host? If so, what should I bring?

A. Traditionally, it is not necessary to give an additional hostess gift. However, if you feel more comfortable bringing something as a kind gesture, I recommend a bottle of champagne, a neutral scented candle, or a pretty card that expresses your thanks for hosting such a nice event. I personally love bringing something homemade, such as a jar of jam, nut butter or my favorite baked good of the week.

4. Q. I’m in the bridal party, but I’m not the maid of honor. How can I still be helpful and gracious when I don’t have any designated duties for the shower?

A. Chances are you know more guests than many people there, or you can identify who doesn’t know one another; do your best to make everyone feel included by introducing people you know have never met. Conversations should be positive and mainly focused on the bride. After all, this is her special day and you are there to shower her with well wishes. Note: steer clear of embarrassing stories, that can be saved for the bachelorette party!

5. Q. Anything else I should know?

A. This is such a special time in your friend’s life and it only happens once, so make sure to be present! A great way to do that is to keep your phone in your purse. Occasionally it is okay to snap photos on your phone, but try to limit texting and if you have to take a call, make sure to step out. Speaking of stepping out, in addition to saying goodbye to the bride-to-be before you leave, be sure to say farewell to the host as well and thank them for a wonderful time.

Have some bridal shower etiquette advice of your own? Share in the comments section below.