A British Take On A Classic American Tradition: The Bridal Shower


What is a "Bridal Shower"?

Since the late nineteenth century the bridal shower has been an established wedding tradition. It is customary for the friends and family of the bride-to-be to gather and bring gifts which were historically for the matrimonial home. The bridal shower movement is said to have begun as a way to help a poor bride raise a “dowry”, a payment to the groom’s family, when money was scare or when the bride’s father did not agree with the match.

The bridal shower craze is running high in The States and Down Under but we Brits are slow off the mark in taking on this pre-wedding custom. Why is it that we are dragging our heels in the mud to make bridal showers a British tradition? I think that the idea of asking for gifts of any kind is a hard pill to swallow for many of us British folk. The idea of asking guests to purchase gifts before the reception as well as for the big day may seem greedy or even downright rude to some. It is a shame that the bridal shower phenomenon has not swept over the United Kingdom as it seems like a lovely addition to the pre-wedding excitement experienced by bridal party before the big day.

How to host a bridal shower

The host of the bridal shower is usually a friend of the bride, often the maid of honour and guests include family, friends and work colleagues. Bridal showers are often scheduled around four to six weeks before the big day. The shower can be a small intimate affair with few guests held at the Mother of The Bride’s house or it can be a bigger affair with games, decor and a theme in a private function room. The event is usually held in the afternoon or evening as opposed to a formal lunch. Food served is usually limited to nibbles, cakes and sweets. I personally love the idea of a themed shower such as a vintage tea party or a summer picnic. My advice is think outside of the box and get creative!

The host of the bridal shower should ensure that the event is planned early and the budget established as a priority. After deciding on a date it is probably a good idea to speak to some of the bride’s closest friends and family to more ideas of what the bride may like for her shower. Think about the number of guests and relate this to a list of possible venues. The invites should be sent out with a copy of any gift registries the couple have joined. I personally think that small gifts that the bride could keep and use after her wedding day are a winner such a pretty compact or lipstick case. There should be some kind of plan regarding the gift giving segment of the shower to ensure the tradition does not descend into chaos and to ensure that thank you cards go the right people! You can find lots of inspiration for bridal shower games on-line and entertainment suggestions. Favours are also given at the bridal shower for guests and one idea that I love is a pamper goodie bag for guests to use on the morning of the big day.

Some of my favourite shower bits and bobs

Vintage Styling

I love this "Miss to Mrs" Hessian Bunting Banner from eBay, £9.99

Personalised Bridal Shower Soap Favour by Hearth and Heritage Scented Candles, £2.50

Bridal Shower Kraft Invitation, Etsy, from £16.42

Bridal Shower Paper Favour Bags, Etsy from £9.85

Glamourous and Gold

Gold Sparkle Bridal Shower Invitations by Tree of Hearts, £0.80 each

Mr and Mrs Bunting by Art Cuts, £13.99

Edible 24 Carat Gold in a Matchbox by Marvling Brothers, £5.99 (Sprinkle it in your fizz!)

Tea Party

Bride Sash by Vintage Twee, £22.50

Personalised Afteroon Tea Party Biscuits by Nila Holden Cookies and Biscuits, £30

Personalised Bridal Shower Keepsake by Fingerprints Gifts, £13.95

Bridal Tea Party Gift/ Game by Victoria Mae Designs for £15

Do you think that the UK should embrace the bridal shower? Leave your comments below and #BringtheBridalShowertoBritain on twitter!


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