One of the most exhilarating things about getting married (next to spending the rest of your life with the person you love) is the series of celebrations that follow popping the question—including the bridal shower.
But who is expected to host the bridal shower, and is the host also responsible for the shower expenses?
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the origin of the bridal shower dates back to the 1890s, when the first-ever bridal shower hostess gave presents to a bride. The concept caught on; guests began to shower future brides with gifts.
Fast forward to the current day, and bridal showers are typically women-only events where ladies give gifts to the bride to celebrate and honor the impending wedding. Often, gifts are geared toward helping the soon-to-be-married couple set up their new home.
And although the celebration has evolved, basics, including when to have the bridal shower, are still relevant. If you foresee a bridal shower in your future, it's important to understand the etiquette, like who plans the event and who is supposed to pay.
Parents may be chipping in (or paying entirely) for the wedding, the soon-to-be newlyweds are probably covering the honeymoon, and the bridal party is tasked with orchestrating a super fun bachelorette party. So, who is responsible for paying for the bridal shower?
Let's dive into bridal party etiquette for planning and financial purposes. We'll cover:
- Who traditionally pays for bridal showers
- How much a bridal shower typically costs
- Helpful tips to save money on a bridal shower
- The best way to split expenses for a bridal shower with Braid Money Pools
Who traditionally pays for bridal showers?
While modern couples typically skirt tradition, the original intention of the bridal shower is a homage to a time when the bride's family would have a hope chest of items to help the soon-to-be-married pair set up their new home. It's a throwback to when the bride's friends and neighbors would host a party to supplement the things the family couldn't provide.
So, according to tradition, the bridal shower wasn't typically hosted by the immediate family because it looked like a gift grab. Instead, the bridal shower was commonly hosted by the bride's cousins, aunts, or close friends.
Fast-forward to today, couples are skirting tradition into whatever shower setup feels best for them, their friends, or their families.
Currently, the onus of paying for and hosting the bridal shower tends to fall on the bridal party and maid of honor, although sometimes close friends not in the wedding party step up to the plate.
So, while the maid of honor may take responsibility for the shower costs, it's becoming more common for bridesmaids or the mother-of-the-bride to contribute, depending on who can afford what.
If you host the bridal shower, do you have to pay for it?
If you host the bridal shower, it's often expected that you pay for all attached expenses. But what if you just want to offer up your home as the venue without paying for the whole shower?
As we stated previously, there are no actual rules about who is expected to host or pay for the event. If you are the maid of honor, the bridesmaid, the bride's mother, an aunt, or just a close friend, you can offer to host in your home without paying for all the costs.
Just ensure it's clear to whoever is helping plan the event that you still need assistance covering related costs like vendors, food, drinks, decorations, games, invitations, etc. Everybody can chip in, so the individual hosting at their home doesn't have to budget for everything (and still pay for a gift.)
How much does a bridal shower generally cost?
The short answer is—it depends.
Like the wedding itself, the largest costs associated with a bridal shower are the catering and the venue (if the shower isn't hosted at someone's home.) Along with that, the bigger the guest count, the higher the cost will be.
When providing food and drinks, you should consider alcohol a separate budget category. Your food budget may vary depending on the type of shower (a light luncheon, a seated brunch, or appetizers, for example), but generally, alcohol costs tend to stay the same.
Most bridal showers will include some type of bubbly no matter what your menu looks like—champagne, prosecco, and rosé are popular options.
It's also essential to be mindful of unexpected expenses that may creep into the budget. For example, if the shower is catered or held at a restaurant, taxes and tips may get left out of the budget.
The shower host should plan to pay for miscellaneous things like flowers, favors, and games. Games especially are usually synonymous with bridal showers, so don't forget to budget for the costs of the items needed for the games but also any prizes for the winners.
Helpful tips to save money on a bridal shower
How can you save a little dough when budgeting for a bridal shower? Here are some tips:
Know your bride's style
If you're planning a bridal shower soon, chances are you know the bride very well. However, it's important to be sure how they want their special event to look and feel.
Depending on the guest of honor's style and personality, some of the expenses and activities associated with a traditional bridal shower might not apply. Perhaps, they don't want to invite many people or prefer to forgo the games. Or, maybe they would instead share a meal with their closest gal pals at their favorite restaurant or even have a picnic at the park or beach.
Understanding what your bride enjoys can totally change the shower and, in turn, the budget—for better or worse!
Don't overthink event expectations
People planning an extra special event often get caught up in other people's expectations. You may overthink the things people will anticipate at a bridal shower—for example, if you rent a chocolate fountain or buy an Instagram photo backdrop, your budget will quickly disappear.
Remember that most guests show up to an event with very simple desires—to be fed and, hopefully, to have some drinks. Start by meeting those basic needs, and add on the fun stuff later—if you still have room in your budget.
If you're serving brunch, stick with the basics—eggs, bacon or sausage, pastries, fresh fruit, coffee, and juices. Or, for lunch, serving a salad with a grilled protein followed by cake or sweet treats is perfectly sufficient.
Throw in a few bottles of wine and some cases of sparkling water, and you should be good to go. If, and only if, you have additional funds, feel free to add on something fun like a Bloody Mary or mimosa bar!
Go for affordable flowers
Floral centerpieces are always a beautiful touch at a party, but understand the varied costs between flowers before ordering them. For example, there's a considerable difference between orchids and tulips, so it pays to know what you're buying.
Look for affordable flowers that provide both beauty and volume. Hydrangeas, sunflowers, and daisies will brighten a room without breaking the bank.
You could even consider supplementing the bouquets with candles, which can elevate the ambiance without spending too much cash. Even in the daylight, a flickering scented candle will provide aroma and visual warmth that can make the space feel more pleasant.
Pool money for bridal shower expenses with Braid
Now, we're down to the most essential part of the party planning—figuring out how to split bridal shower expenses with the rest of your group.
If you stick to planning a budget and price out your shower necessities (food, drinks, venue, decorations, games, and prizes), you should know approximately how much each person needs to contribute.
From there, the money splitting process is simple—you can use the Braid app to create a Braid Money Pool dedicated to your bridal shower. That way, you can forgo the hassle of personally collecting money from every person paying for the shower.
Here's how it works:
- Share your pool link with your bridal shower group. They can contribute to the pool straight from their smartphone.
- Everyone places the split of their bridal shower contributions to the Braid Money Pool.
- Money gets subtracted from the pool as you pay for things related to the bridal shower. No more funneling cash in and out of your personal account! Less money stress, more fun planning a terrific bridal shower.
Navigating who pays for a bridal shower doesn't have to be stressful. Try easy-to-use Braid Money Pools for an amazing celebration instead of worrying about reimbursements and fronting money for your friends and family.