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Wedding Shower vs Bridal Shower: Here’s What’s Different


October 17, 2022

Bridal shower theme: Afternoon tea. Tables decorated in pastels with a beautiful floral arrangement on a small cookie holder as the centerpiece

Wedding Shower vs Bridal Shower: Here’s What’s Different

The celebration of your love does not begin and end at the wedding and reception. There are several wedding celebrations for the bride and groom alike. And some of the most beloved is the wedding and bridal shower. But, in the grand scheme of things, what is the difference between the wedding shower vs bridal shower, and do you need to have them both? We want to give you some clarity on that today.

But, TLDR; Bridal Shower = party for the bride vs. Wedding Shower = party for the couple.

What Is A Shower?

Whether we are talking about a baby shower, bridal shower, wedding shower, or any other “shower”-type party, the major component of the celebration is for the showeree’s closest friends and family to come and “shower” them with love and gifts. Traditionally, it is a way for a community to come together to get someone ready for the next chapter of their lives. That’s why we often see gift registries lined with practical items like toasters, dishware, and other necessities. It is to help the new couple move into their marriage with some stability and the things they need to build their home together. So, with both the wedding and bridal shower, you will find this tradition as a staple of the event.

History Of The Bridal Shower

Now, you may be wondering where on earth this tradition came from. And the story is pretty fascinating. This tradition is not new at all. We can trace the history of bridal showers back to the 1500s in Holland. The story goes that a disapproving father decided not to gift the traditional dowry to his daughter and her soon-to-be husband. So, the lucky bride’s friends got together and gifted her some items on their own. This turned out to be a beautiful thing, and the father softened his view on the marriage and ended up supporting them after all. And so, a new tradition was born.

Who Is The Host Of A Bridal Shower?

Things start to get a little different with each of these celebrations via the “Who” and “What” avenues of planning—who is the party for, and what will you do? Typically, a bridal shower is for the bride and hosted by the bridal party—see the historical dowry story above. One of the primary jobs of a maid of honor, for instance, is to plan and throw the bridal shower alongside the rest of the bridal party. But this is not always the case. Sometimes a couple may decide to forego parties altogether, their parents might want the honor of hosting them, or they may opt for the more inclusive wedding shower (which we will get into in a little bit). All these options and more are glimpses of our modern take on the tradition.

Who Is Invited To A Bridal Shower? 

A typical bridal shower will include the closest friends and family of the bride. It will most likely include their bridal party (if they have announced that yet), close family, and people the bride would like to celebrate with.

What Will You Do?

A shower isn’t just a time to watch your loved one open up gifts. There’s typically food or tapas, some beverages, and games like wedding mad libs and pass the love story. It’s a time to chat with people who will be at the wedding and kick off the official celebrations. 

So, What Is A Wedding Shower?

The wedding shower is where things shift a bit. While the history of these shower-type events has revolved around the bride, modern couples have begun to host these showers together, creating a larger and more party-centric pre-wedding event. 

Who Is The Host Of The Wedding Shower?

You will often see the bridal party throwing the shower like a bridal shower. But, depending on the couple, you could see their family hosting or even a self-hosted party. The tradition is more modern here, so if someone wants to throw this event, the couple would likely welcome them.

Who Is Invited To A Wedding Shower? 

While a typical bridal shower can be gender-specific or highly focused on the bride’s side, a wedding shower includes all! It’s usually a larger event that has more of a party atmosphere. 

What Will You Do At A Wedding Shower?

You will often find fewer games, more cocktails, and a much less structured event. Essentially bring the love you have for the happy couple, a nice gift, and be ready to celebrate.

Which Event Should You Choose?

Well, we think variety is the spice of life, so if you are someone who wants a dedicated party for yourself, do it. If you would like to celebrate with your partner, do that. And, if you wish to do both—there are no rules. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Make it what you want. 

If you are looking for the perfect bridal shower venue in San Diego or a place to throw a wedding shower, our team is here for you. With venues big and small, indoor and outdoor, we have the perfect spot for your dream celebration.