Who to Invite to a Bridal Shower

three women in white robes sitting on a bed drinking champagne

A bridal shower is a more intimate gathering than a wedding and the guest list usually consists of the bride-to-be’s closest female friends and relatives, including close relatives of the soon-to-be-bride’s spouse. Especially if the bride’s future mother in law is hosting, nearest and dearest in-laws often attend the shower, too. 

Who Gets a Bridal Shower Invitation?

A bridal shower is an opportunity to officially celebrate a bride-to-be. It’s a time to eat and sip some bubbly, share advice and stories, and shower the special lady with extra attention. This intimate gathering is traditionally hosted by the bridesmaids, and/or the mother of the bride or future mother-in-law and will have a much smaller guest list than the main wedding event. Keep in mind that everyone who comes to the shower should definitely be invited to the wedding.

The bridal party, including the maid of honor and bridesmaids generally make the top of the guest list, followed by immediate family members from both sides of the aisle. If the bride welcomes children at her shower, guests may also include nieces, the flower girl and junior bridesmaids. Friends from the couple’s close social circle, friends from childhood or college, etc will likely attend. You don’t have to invite plus ones, co-workers or acquaintances of your parents, or friends of your future spouse unless you’re close to them. 

Traditionally, showers were meant to be a party for ladies only, however, co-ed showers are quite common, especially if there are bridesmen in the bridal party. For a Jack and Jill style shower, all genders are invited, including close male friends, and both the groom and his dad may make a special appearance towards the end of the shower to mingle and thank everyone for their well wishes and gifts. Ultimately it’s up to the bride and host to decide who should be there to celebrate the couple. 

What to Do During a Bridal Shower

Nowadays, it’s not unusual for couples to have a joint or coed shower with both of their loved ones present. It’s also common to have more than one shower to accommodate different guests in different locations. While a shower is generally more of an adult event, some couples welcome children and include a kid-friendly menu and activities. Ultimately, the details of the party will be determined by who’s coming and where the gathering will happen. 

Unlike engagement parties where gifts are optional, guests are usually encouraged to bring a gift to a bridal shower; there’s usually a set time when everyone will sit down with the bride while she opens presents. You’ll want to set up a station for gifts and a system to record what she’s received so she can easily write her thank-you notes. There’s usually a meal or hors d’oeuvres served with drinks and plenty of time to mingle. There may also be games and activities for attendees. 

Simple Bridal Shower Itinerary Example

  • Host(s) arrive at the bridal shower venue a few hours early to set up for the party, including decorations, food preparation, and drink stations.
  • 1:00 pm-1:30 pm: guests arrive, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and mingle.
  • 1:30 pm-2:00 pm: the main meal or dessert is served.
  • 2:00 pm-2:30 pm: guests gather for games, like wedding mad libs, bridal bingo, or couples’ trivia.
  • 2:30 pm-3:30 pm: the bride opens her gifts, and her partner may make a planned or surprise entrance. 
  • 3:30 pm-4:00 pm: the host shares a toast to the bride, thanks the guests for coming, and hands out bridal shower favors.
  • 4:00 pm: guests begin to leave. 

Most bridal showers last between two and four hours, and typically take place during late morning or early afternoon (think brunch or luncheon). The event begins with celebratory food and drink and heartfelt connections and then a time for the bride to open gifts. Towards the end of the shower there’s often a toast to the bride, and some sort of favor for guests to thank them for attending.  

Historic Acres sits along beautiful rolling hills and offers a variety of stunning settings indoors or outside, for any event. If you’re looking for the perfect venue for your bridal shower in Hershey, PA, contact our team today to learn more about our event spaces, available dates, and more.