Choosing between hosting a wedding shower vs. a bridal shower can be a challenge for some couples as they may not know which one would suit them more. Some brides may want a get-together honoring just her, whereas some couples prefer to do everything together.
In the end, nothing’s stopping you from having two separate showers and scoring even more gifts. If you must choose, though, here are the differences between these two parties to help you decide on the right option!
Wedding Shower vs. Bridal Shower: 7 Differences
1. At a Bridal Shower, the Focus Is on the Bride
At a wedding shower, both the bride and the groom get to enjoy their time in the spotlight. They both have to attend it as the focus is on them as a couple and the celebration of the love they have for each other.
The bridal shower, however, is a totally different event where the focus is only on the bride herself.
What this means is that every aspect of the bridal shower will cater to the bride’s interests, affinities, and more. The host will take into account everything the bride loves dearly to create a one-of-a-kind event where she can have some fun and feel extra special.
Going beyond that, the host should ideally think of a theme that’s near and dear to the bride and match the decorations, the games, and even food and drinks to it.
2. Wedding Showers Are Larger and More Gender-Inclusive
When it comes to the guest list for both of these events, one rule is always certain. As both types of showers are closely tied to the wedding, all of the guests that come to either one of them have to be invited to the wedding. But that’s where the similarities end!
Since bridal showers focus on the brides themselves, it’s common for them to be exclusively female-based. This includes both female relatives and friends, although, in these modern times, there may be some exceptions.
The groom may appear in some instances at a bridal shower (through a video, for example). In general, though, his presence is not necessary at all.
Wedding showers are more gender-inclusive since both the bride and the groom attend them. The number of guests is also usually larger. Bridal showers are often more intimate and may count just a few guests plus the bride. Wedding showers, though, may be attended by twice as many people or more.
3. The Bridal Party Hosts the Bridal Shower
Typically, the maid of honor takes center stage when planning the bridal shower. She is in charge of making all the most critical decisions, such as deciding on the venue, the catering, the activities, etc.
Of course, she’s always welcome to include other members of the bridal party in these decisions and even ask relatives and friends for advice. At the shower, though, she acts as the host.
There are some exceptions to this in this day and age. As bridal parties often focus more on bachelorette parties, close family members may take on the planning of the bridal shower. The future mother-in-law may also participate so that she doesn’t feel left out.
In contrast, both the maid of honor and the best man can organize a wedding shower. These two people are likely the ones who know the couple the best, so they can easily join forces to throw a great party.
That said, other wedding party members, friends, and relatives can also throw the wedding shower. In recent years, it has even become common for parents to split the duties, i.e., one set hosts the engagement party while the other splurges on the wedding shower.
4. A Wedding Shower Can Be Held During the Day or at Night
The usual timeframe for both of these events is around four to eight weeks before the wedding. Similarly, both last for anywhere between two to four hours, though that depends on the itinerary itself.
One thing to keep in mind here is that bridal showers are typically a day affair, often happening around the same time as brunch, lunch, or afternoon tea.
Wedding showers, however, are a bit more flexible in this case. They can take place during the day too. Still, some prefer hosting them around dinnertime or happy hour.
5. Bridal Showers Are Usually Held at the Host’s Home
As a bridal shower is often a more intimate event, it’s common to host it at the host’s home or backyard or another friend’s or family member’s house. However, this isn’t set in stone (much like most rules regarding these showers). The host can also pick another location that would be meaningful to the bride, such as her favorite café or restaurant.
On the other hand, seeing as wedding showers are larger affairs, it’s often best to host them at a venue. Ideal settings include the couple’s favorite restaurant, park, banquet hall, or any similar location.
Any private event space would do for this sort of happening, but again, it all depends on the couple’s preferences. Alternatively, the wedding shower can be held at someone’s home or in their backyard too.
6. Wedding Shower Gifts Cater to the Couple’s Needs and Wants
One of the biggest differences between wedding and bridal showers boils down to gifts. At bridal showers, the bride can expect more personal gifts. Meanwhile, wedding shower guests bring things both the bride and the groom can enjoy together.
If the couple has set up a registry, the bride can also receive some items from there at her bridal shower. In general, though, she can expect to get more personal presents, i.e., stuff she alone can enjoy.
Some of the best examples include family heirlooms, which the bride’s female relatives pass down to the next generation. Famously, brides often get some lingerie, too, along with skincare and beauty products, perfumes, and jewelry. Also, photo books are a hugely popular gift because they’re both thoughtful and unique. It takes time to properly curate a good photo book and photo books in general take time to get right. They’re something the couple will treasure always.
Wedding shower gifts, however, typically come from the official wedding registry, though guests can bring other presents too. It has become more common recently to bring money, which the couple can then use to buy themselves anything they’d be able to enjoy together.
Still, as a rule of thumb, most couples receive practical gifts like home decor and homeware at their wedding showers. The presents may also reflect their interests; if the couple is a bit on the adventurous side, someone may give them a skydiving gift certificate.
Similarly, if they are animal lovers, perhaps someone will decide to adopt a giraffe or a bear in their name!
7. Bridal Showers Often Have More Elaborate Activities
Finally, know that due to their nature, these events also have different activities that make them all the more special.
A wedding shower is more inclusive, and the activities also depend on the whole vibe. If it’s a small event, it could resemble a bridal shower, only with both the bride and the groom in focus. In that case, engaging games and activities are a must, especially the Wedding Shoe Game.
However, wedding showers are most commonly more of a social gathering where the couple is celebrated over dinner and drinks. During such events, toasts, speeches, and mingling are the biggest activities, alongside gift-opening, which is usually the highlight of both types of showers.
In contrast, since bridal showers focus on the bride, it’s common to take part in games and activities that relate to her or her and her groom’s relationship, as well as the wedding itself.
Undoubtedly, most bridal showers often include popular games like How Well Does the Bride Know the Groom? and making wedding dresses out of toilet paper.
Still, it doesn’t always have to be all about the wedding. The trivia quiz almost every bridal shower has doesn’t even have to focus on the couple’s relationship but rather tests the guests’ knowledge of the bride.
Plus, there are also useful icebreaker games, such as Find the Guest, which focuses on the guests themselves and would make the atmosphere a bit more relaxed for everyone.