Friday, December 18, 2015

Etiquette for Bridal Showers

The Novel Bridal Shower of 1907
Vintage 1960s Bridal Shower gift wrap
An Astonishing
 "Paper Bridal Shower" 

By the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, pre-printed paper shower items and gifts were seen more and more at bridal showers. In 1907, however, they were not. Paper items for a shower was novel and fun for the woman of 1907. As talk of china and silver were left out of this article, it is probably a good guess that the paper items were only gifts. There is no mention of paper plates, nor napkins.


The writer begins "astonished" to receive an invitation to her first "paper" bridal shower. She then goes into great detail about the decor and gifts for the bride to be. All of the curiosities made from paper. It is fun article to read, all the way down to the serving of the "salad and dainties." Below the article is some simple bridal shower etiquette to keep in mind. 



By the tone of the article, the women at the shower in 1907 could give Martha Stewart a run for her money in the craft department.

Bridal Shower Etiquette

The Etiquette Then:

1.The bestowal of engagement presents has taken on a wholesale aspect. Instead of the occasional receipt of a present from one or another of her friends and relatives, the bride-elect is often now the guest of honor at one or more "showers," and the recipient of numerous gifts which are literally showered upon her. There are many kinds of "showers," as many as the ingenuity and financial resources of friends may admit of. When, however, any one bride is to be made the object of a series of such attentions, it is well for the girl's friends who have the matter in hand to see to it that no one person is invited to more than one shower, or, if so invited, that it be at her own request and because she wishes to make several gifts to her friend.

2.Effort should be made not to have the articles given at a "shower" duplicate each other. They should be some simple, useful gifts, which will be of immediate service, and need not be either expensive or especially durable, unless the giver so desires. A "shower" is usually given when a wedding is in prospect, and the necessity of stocking up the new home confronts the young home-makers. The aim is to take a kindly interest in the new home and help to fit it out, more in the way of suggestion than in any extravagant way, which would make the recipients feel embarrassed or indebted, or overload them with semi-desirable gifts.

3.The "shower" is usually in the afternoon, and is joined in almost exclusively by the girl friends of the bride-elect, with perhaps a few of her older women friends and relatives. If, however, it comes in the evening, the men of the bridal party are usually also invited. The refreshments are simple and the style of entertainment informal. The invitations to a "shower" are usually given by the hostess verbally, or she sends her cards by post with the words "Linen shower for Miss Hanley on Wednesday at four."

4.There is a wide range of possible kinds of "showers," but the only rational way is to choose for a donation party of this sort only such objects as will be needed in quantity and variety, and in the choice of which one has not too strong and distinctive taste, as, for instance, the following: Linen, towels, glass, books, fancy china, silver, spoons, aprons, etc. Of course, the furnishings of some one room, as the bath-room, laundry, or kitchen, might be the subject of a "shower," but usually a housewife would prefer to have what she wanted and nothing else for use in these places.

The Etiquette Now:

1. The old etiquette was that bridal showers are not held for 2nd time brides, or even 3rd time brides. Etiquette changes with society, and "serial-marriages" are with us to stay. It is wise for the bride-to-be to make sure anyone throwing a shower for her keeps it tastefully small and with just intimate family and friends invited. Anything over-the-top appears tacky.

2. The old etiquette was that the shower was held only for the bride, her family and friends. Today, more participation of men has given rise to "couple showers" that honor both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be. Men enjoy being feted, just as much as ladies do.

3. The old etiquette of handwritten thank you notes for the shower gifts, being sent out prior to the wedding, is still the correct etiquette now. If the bride and groom do not get notes of thanks sent out quickly, they will find the task much more difficult as the wedding nears. And no... you may not email the notes of thanks! It is poor manners to email a note of thanks to someone who took the time to bring you a gift. Unless a gift was emailed to you, an emailed "note of thanks" is rude.

Compiled by contributor Mary Boyd from Gero-Dynamics©

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia