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What is a wedding shower? And is a wedding shower the same as a bridal shower? Even though wedding showers and bridal showers are two different occasions, they are often used interchangeably. To understand what a wedding shower is, you need to learn the differences between the two. But first, let us look at the origins of the wedding shower and how it came to the United States.

The Origins of the Wedding Shower

The actual origins of the wedding shower are unclear. But what we do know is that its concept may be tied to the dowry practice originating in the Netherlands. Here is how the story goes:

The father of an upper-class woman asked his daughter to marry the rich farmer he chose for her, but she did not want to marry him because she was in love with a poor miller. When she told her father that she wanted to marry the poor miller, he refused. To force his daughter to marry the rich farmer, he told her that he would not provide her with any dowry unless she married his choice.

Hearing her father’s demands, the villagers banded together to throw the woman a wedding shower. At the wedding shower, they provided her with household items and other small items, so she could marry the poor miller.

Her father, upon seeing the effort the villagers put in to ensure his daughter receive the dowry that he refused to give, touched his heart and changed his mind. He gave his daughter his blessings to marry the man of her dreams.

Apart from this origin story of the wedding shower, there is a second, third, and fourth account. Here they are:

  • In the second account, the origin of the wedding shower in the United States is unromantic. In the late 1800s, the upper-class women celebrated their wedding showers with food, talk, and the opportunity for the guests to give the bride-to-be gifts. Guests of the bride put small gifts inside a paper parasol to shower over her.
  • In the third account, there was a young woman who could not afford to give her friend who was getting married a wedding gift. So, she decided to host a small party where she invited all the bride-to-be’s friends, asking them to bring a small gift for her.
  • In the fourth account, it is also claimed that retailers came up with the idea to throw the bride-to-be a wedding shower to increase their sales.

Since we do not know which origin story of the wedding shower is the real one, you can pick one that you like the best. Nowadays, wedding showers have become an extravagant event with people going to a different state or even country to celebrate it.

Whether you want to throw a wedding shower for your friend on a small or large scale, both involve giving her gifts. Moreover, wedding showers are no longer just for the bride, but the groom can also be a part of it. Lastly, let us look at the differences between a wedding shower and a bridal shower.

How Are Wedding Showers Different than Bridal Showers?

Here is how wedding showers are different from bridal showers:

1. Guest List

You throw a bridal shower for the soon-to-be-bride. The guest list for a bridal shower includes women in her family and friends. A woman, such as the maid of honor throws the bridal shower. For the wedding shower, both the bride and groom are invited as well as the men and women from their families and friends. You can consider inviting close friends of the bride and groom, their grandparents, aunts, cousins, and colleagues to the wedding shower. If you are throwing your friend a bridal shower, you only need to invite females.

2. Presents

The presents given in a bridal shower and a wedding shower also differ. At a bridal shower, the bride’s family and friends give her gifts only, as the groom is not part of it. Some of the gifts the bride may receive at her bridal shower include bath products, lingerie, perfume, and jewelry.

Since both the bride and groom are invited to the wedding shower, the guests will give them gifts that both of them can use. They include household items, decoration pieces for their home, and family heirlooms.

3. Location

Most often, a bridal shower takes place at a friend’s home, restaurant, or at an entertainment venue whereas a wedding shower will be held at a meeting facility or restaurant. A wedding shower includes dinner and speeches by guests. At a bridal shower, the guests will have drinks and snacks and play exciting party games.

What is Common Between a Wedding Shower and Bridal Shower?

The bride and groom will write thank you notes to each person who came to their wedding shower and gave them a gift. At a bridal shower, only the bride will write thank you notes to each person who came to her party and gave her a gift.

If you have invited a person to your wedding shower or bridal shower, you need to invite them to your wedding as well because that is considered poor etiquette.

Do You Plan to Throw the Bride and Groom a Wedding Shower?

If you plan to throw a bride and groom a wedding shower, here are a few tips you can follow:

  • You need to check in with the couple’s close relatives at least three months before if they have plans to throw a wedding shower and if not, you can do it.
  • The wedding shower does not need to be a complete surprise. This means that you can discuss the guest list with the couple.
  • You need to select a location for the wedding shower. Some options include a restaurant, beach, or lavish hotel. If you are selecting a theme for the wedding shower, the location you choose should reflect that.
  • You need to decide on a date to hold the wedding shower. Check in with all the necessary people who need to be present at the wedding shower and then choose the date for it accordingly.
  • You need to compile and finalize the guest list, so you can send the invites.

You can choose to throw a bridal shower just for the bride or throw a wedding shower for both the bride and groom.

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