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Traditionally, who is supposed to pay for a bridal shower?

Asked by: admin Bridal Party Gifts

I know bridesmaids are responsible for the bachelorette party as well as paying for their dresses, shoes, etc and wedding/shower gifts. I was under the impression that bridal showers were thrown by family members. I"m in a wedding this summer and the bridal party is being asked to pay for both parties which wouldn’t be a problem if we had the $ but majority of us are struggling financially. My main objection to being asked to cough up hundreds of dollars is that the bride and groom are paying for the wedding themselves. So it seems like both sets of parents are getting away with not paying for anything. Doesn’t seem fair to me. What do you think?

9 Answers

  1. Miss Dallas on Apr 30, 2010

    Those hosting the event pay for it.

    This event started as a celebration of family and friends with the bride-to-be. Guests brought gifts for the new couple to help them set up their first home. Bridal shower etiquette considered it improper for the immediate family to host the event, as it appeared they would be asking for gifts.

    Traditionally, it has been the maid of honor’s duty to organize the bridal shower, and the bridesmaids’ duty to help with the planning. It is often still done this way. However, times have changed and so have some of the rules. It can now be given by anyone close to the bride-to-be. Couples showers are also a fairly new trend.

    When the party is being hosted by many people, it’s okay for a pool of money to be collected and used as the budget rather than having everyone cough up a set amount of money. Just do what you can afford and don’t worry about who is paying for what.

    There are also several ways to cut costs. Consider evites instead of printed and mailed invitations. Bake a cake instead of ordering one. Host the party at someone’s home and hold it between meal times so no food is expected. Serve punch and light hors d’oeuvres. Use crepe paper and self blown balloons using a $20 helium tank from Party City for decorations. With a little imagination and creativity, you can offer a beautiful shower at a fraction of the cost.

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  2. EK on Apr 30, 2010

    My bridal shower (and any I have attended) have typically been thrown by the bride’s mother and a close friend or 2 of the bride (the friends don’t have to be bridesmaids).

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  3. theacrob on Apr 30, 2010

    I believe typically the maid of honor hosts/throws the bridal shower, but in this anything-goes, anything-for-more-presents culture, who knows.

    If you can’t afford it, just be honest. Tell whoever is in charge that you regret that you will not be able to participate, donate to, or attend the bridal shower. Case closed. If all the bridesmaids follow your example, that is a message to the bride that she has to figure something else out.

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  4. BBG on Apr 30, 2010

    Traditionally, whoever hosts the shower pays.

    Some brides have multiple showers depending on the size of her wedding and how varied her social circles are (family shower, friend shower, work shower, etc.) Typically one of the female attendants hosts a shower.

    What you might want to do is keep the shower simple. Have it at someone’s home so there is no venue to rent. You can also keep the food very simple and make it yourselves – no need to cater. I’ve also been to showers where there was only cake and coffee/tea. If you go that route just make sure you are going to choose an appropriate time of day so that people don’t expect a meal. Showers are always an "expense" but you don’t have to go hog wild.

    I know, it DOES get expensive being in a wedding. It’s stressful not just for the bride but also for everyone in the wedding party. Keep the communication open with the bride and ask for her input given the budget you have to work with. Just slow down and breathe if things get tense.

    My SIL is a bit of a "princess" and I experienced a lot of what you are describing when she and my brother got married. And then after the wedding came the babies and baby showers…lol….I thought it would never end!

    Try not to worry about what’s "fair" as far as the parents paying for things. The showers are usually not paid for by the parents. Besides, maybe the bride is disappointed they’re not helping either so at least you have that in common. :-)

    Good luck!!!!!!!

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  5. Farleene Finklestein on Apr 30, 2010

    Just tell them you can’t afford it……….. simple

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  6. Lprod on Apr 30, 2010

    I agree with theacrob…… who really knows for sure "what things are supposed to be like"??? Who determines it? In the old times the wedding was supposed to be paid by the bride’s father but that’s no longer the case…… I also have friends who have paid for their own wedding. I commend your friend for doing this and not expecting her parents (or her fiance’s) to pay for HER wedding. She chose to marry so it’s ok that SHE pays for it too. But yes it’s unfair to expect the bridesmaids to pay for 2 parties…. either it’s one or the other. I agree that you should just state that you cannot afford to participate in the 2nd party and stay out of it altogether if attending means you have to chip in a bunch of $$$.

    The last bridal shower I attended was thrown by the bride’s mom & grandmom & aunts. She paid for her own wedding so I thought this was nice of her mother — but I never thought it was her "obligation" to do so.

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  7. abfabmom1 on Apr 30, 2010

    Actually, etiquette says that the family absolutely should not host a bridal shower. This is because, technically, the family is financially responsible for the young woman, and hosting a party to give her gifts gives the appearance of greed (whether this is true or not is irrelevant).

    If you can’t afford to host the party, or if you’re (understandably) bothered about being asked to do so, you should simply say, "I’m afraid that won’t be possible."

    That said, there are all kinds of ways to throw a party that don’t involve huge amounts of money. If you do it in someone’s home, then there’s no facility rental fee. Also, theoretically, the guests at a bridal shower are the loved ones of the bride – since they all love her, wouldn’t they be willing to bring a dish to share? Be creative…you never know what might work until you start working on ideas.

    Also, just to clarify a point…The parents are not required to pay for any part of any wedding. If they choose to do so, it’s a gift, and isn’t tied to any responsibilities. It’s entirely fair, as they’ve paid for the raising of these two individuals, and that’s no small thing. If the bride & groom are mature enough to get married, in theory they’re mature enough to fund whatever events they want to host. With that in mind, there’s no such thing as fair or not fair in this conversation.

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  8. tehabwa on Apr 30, 2010

    Uh, there is NO obligation for anyone to throw a bridal shower. If a friend does, she’s the hostess.

    It’s incorrect for family to throw a whoer; it’s like they’re begging stuff for one of their own.

    Uh, the bride needs to learn to not shake down her "friends" for money.

    Cllectively, buy her a Miss Manners book that talks about this stuff.

    What arrangements the families have for who pays for the wedding itself are completely NOT anyone else’s business.

    You and the others in the wedding party should get together and figure out what you can afford, and let the bride know, saying you could either have one or the other, or both on the cheap, but you’re not going to render yourselves homeless for her.

    That’s IF you’re willing to put up with a bride who thinks her friends’ money is her own.

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  9. Ed F on Apr 30, 2010

    The host, whomever puts it on.

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