Every bride or new mother-to-be looks forward to sharing her excitement with family and friends by having one or more showers. Unfortunately, she may put pressure on her family and friends to do what she wants, how she wants, and when she wants. No, no, no. A bride or new mom is the guest of honor. As such, it is her responsibility to enjoy whatever her friends or family plan, as long as it isn’t dangerous or tacky. She should be consulted about the date, but that is all.
Who hosts a shower? A bridal shower may be hosted by anyone other than the mother of the bride. One or more bridesmaids, an aunt or a friend might volunteer. A baby shower may be hosted by anyone other than the mother of the mom-to-be. No one should feel coerced to host, particularly if finances or distance make hosting difficult.
It is common for a bride or mom to have more than one shower, particularly if her family lives in one place and the groom/husband’s family lives elsewhere. In such situations, it is not unusual for the mother of the groom/husband to host.
The person/persons who plan the shower also pay for it. It is incredibly rude for one person to plan a shower then “bill” other people for the cost of decisions she made and expenses she incurred. The host should plan an event that fits within her budget. It isn’t necessary to go to an expensive restaurant or plan an elaborate menu.
To gift or not to gift? The purpose of a shower is to “shower” the bride or new mom with gifts to help establish her home or nursery. If the bride or new mom doesn’t want or need gifts, then don’t have a shower. Plan a tea or luncheon instead.
When is a shower held? A baby shower may occur either before the birth or afterwards. A bridal shower occurs before the wedding. A similar event held after the wedding is considered a reception. Brides who elope have a post-wedding reception, not a shower.
Who is invited? Everyone invited to a bridal shower should also be invited to the wedding. Therefore, guests are usually close family and friends. If work associates want to plan a shower, they do so with the understanding that all may not be invited to the wedding. Baby showers are attended by close family and friends. It is appropriate to plan a couples shower, inviting friends of both the bride and groom or of the new parents. When inviting men, the shower activities and the food served should be appealing to them. No petite fours or cute games, please.
So what is the responsibility of the bride or mom-to-be? She is the guest of honor. As such, her only responsibility is to graciously accept the attention focused on her on the special day. She may be asked for names of invitees and she should be consulted about the date and time of the shower before firm plans are made. If she has dietary restrictions, those should be communicated as well.
After the shower, thank you notes need to be sent. If that can be accomplished before the wedding or the birth, mom or bride will feel less burdened than if she procrastinates.
What if no one volunteers to host a shower? That is okay, though it may be a disappointment. Showers are fun, but they are not necessary. The baby will still be born; the wedding will still occur. When a new mom or bride remembers that the shower is for her, but not totally about her, she can relax and trust her family or friends to plan a lovely event.