Your best friend is getting married soon and you are the maid of honor. That means you will be obliged to host some parties. Should you host a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, or both? To help you better understand the bridal shower vs bachelorette party, we make a list of the differences between the two.
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Table of Contents
- 1. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Definition
- 2. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Host
- 3. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Guest List
- 4. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Duration
- 5. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Gifts
- 6. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Venue and Dress Code
- 7. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Activities
1. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Definition
What is a bridal shower? What is a bachelorette party? A bridal shower is a party thrown before the wedding to celebrate the bride-to-be. As the name suggests, it is a party where the bride is “showered” with gifts as well as words of encouragement from the closest and dearest to her.
A bachelorette party, on the other hand, is a party thrown to mark the bride-to-be last night as a single woman. A bachelorette party tends to feature alcohol, sexy antics, and naughty humor. In recent years, more women choose tropical retreats or spa weekends instead of naughty nights.
A bridal shower usually takes place during the day. The party involves fun and girly activities. A bachelorette party is held at night. It is a girl’s night out where the bride can forget the wedding plans and just have fun. Despite differences, they share something in common: both are focused on the bride-to-be.
Both bridal shower and bachelorette parties can have a special theme. In general, the themes of the bridal shower are more limited than the bachelorette party due to its more formal nature. That said, the theme can be anything the bride wants.
2. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Host
- Bridal Shower Host
Back then, it was considered a no-no for the family member of the bride to host a bridal shower. As time goes by, it is no longer considered a taboo. Today, it is considered appropriate for just about anyone who knows the bride to throw a bridal shower for her. Well, perhaps except the groom.
- Bachelorette Party Host
A bachelorette party is slightly different. It is hosted by either the chosen maid of honor, the bride’s best girlfriends, or by other members of the wedding party. Because of the nature of the party, it is unlikely for the bride’s family member to host this party.
Planning and Who Pays for the Party
For a bridal shower, the bride should be kept out of the planning other than supplying the guest list. For a bachelorette party, how involved the bride depends on her. Some brides only choose the city and let the rest be decided by her friends, while some others want to oversee the planning.
As for who pays for the party, a bridal shower is usually paid for by the host(s). If the bridesmaids are co-hosting the party, then the cost of the party should be split between them.
A bachelorette party, on the other hand, is paid for by everyone except the bride. That said, hosts should cover the entertainment costs, which can include transport to the next venue. For the food and drinks, the guests usually pay them themselves.
3. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Guest List
Yes, the guest list is also different. This one is quite major, in fact. The difference in the guest list lies in the nature of the party. A bridal shower is meant to make sure that the bride has what she needs for the next stage of her life, while a bachelorette party is more of a fun time for the bride and her girlfriends.
- Bridal Shower Guest List
Because of that, the guest list of a bridal shower is much longer than that of a bachelorette party. A bridal shower is traditionally a woman-only affair both for the host and the guests. That being said, not every woman is invited, especially if it is a big wedding.
The women on the guest list are family members such as grandmothers, aunts, and nieces, and other important women in the bride’s life, like close friends, mentor, a neighbor, and so on. In short, the nearest and dearest women in the bride’s life are on the list.
- Bachelorette Party Guest List
The guest list of a bachelorette party is a bit different. Usually, the bridal party is the one who attends the party. The bridesmaids are, after all, the bride’s closest friends. Yes, exactly the persons with who the bride will want to celebrate the bachelorette party.
As for the bride’s relatives or family members, they are not always invited to the bachelorette party. Especially not the bride’s future mother-in-law.
(Note: It can be awkward for the bridesmaids to meet for the first time during the wedding. A bachelorette party is a perfect time for the bridesmaids to bond, in case they don’t know each other yet.)
When to Send the Invitation?
Speaking of the guest list, the time to send the invitations are. A bridal shower is a more formal occasion, which is why the invitations should be sent to the guests 6 to 8 weeks before the party. This will give time for everyone invited to sort out any travel details.
A bachelorette party is less formal and more casual. Because of this, the invitations should be set 3 to 4 weeks before the party is held. If it involves celebrating for more than one night or includes traveling, the invitations should be sent at least 8 weeks before the bachelorette party to give everyone time to plan.
4. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Duration
How long a bridal shower should be held? How long should be a bachelorette party should be held? For a bridal shower, the duration is usually very short whereas a bachelorette party depends on the activities planned up for the party.
The party should last between 2 to 4 fours. Why? Because a bridal shower should not be too short the guests don’t have time to have fun and spend time with the bride or too long they get bored.
Unlike a bridal shower, a bachelorette is all about having fun. As such, the duration can be as short as a single night to as long as an entire week, depending on what kind of activities are planned up for the party.
5. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Gifts
Next is the gifts. At a bridal shower, gifts are mandatory for the guests. At a bachelorette party, however, gifts are not expected although guests can give gifts to the bride if they wish to. Remember, at a bachelorette party, the guests pay for the party, so gifts are not expected but always welcome.
At a bridal shower, guests always give gifts, including even if there are no gifts mentioned on the invitation or party website. Another thing to keep in mind is that the gifts should be purchased from the wedding registry. Adding a personal gift is welcome, especially if you are close to the newlyweds.
Speaking of wedding registry, it is typically printed in the invitation. Or, if the party has a website, the link to the wedding registry will be provided. Whether you are purchasing gifts in-store or online, make sure to buy them directly from the registry.
As we said, guests are not expected to bring gifts at a bachelorette party. At bachelorette parties where gifts are given, they are usually more personal and less elaborate. Bachelorette party gifts tend to come in the form of marital advice, a personal memento of friendship, and sometimes, lingerie.
6. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Venue and Dress Code
Bridal Shower Venue
Next, the venue and dress code. Between the two, the bridal shower is more traditional when it comes to where to hold the party. A bridal shower is usually held at someone’s home, hotels, or restaurants. As for the time, most bridal showers take place during brunch or lunchtime.
There are no specific rules for the venue of a bridal shower. The most important thing is that there is enough space for everyone to mingle and eat and another space to open gifts. As long as this requirement is met, it can be held just about anywhere.
Bachelorette Party Venue
What about the bachelorette party? Bachelorette parties tend to be less formal and more casual. This is why, when it comes to venue, a bachelorette is freer than a bridal shower. Typically, bachelorette parties are held at pubs, clubs, or any other places that serve alcohol.
The rules of bachelorette party venues are not set in stone, of course. In recent years, more women are opting for tropical retreats or spa weekends as their bachelorette party. As long as the bride and her friends enjoy the activities, it is a great bachelorette party. Yes, even if it is held at home.
The Dress Code
As for the dress code, you need to remember the occasion. A shower is a more formal event, while a bachelorette is less formal and more casual. Therefore, the dress code for a bridal shower is more formal than that of a bachelorette party.
- Bridal Shower Dress Code
For a bridal shower, the bride can wear a beautiful white dress, a floral dress, or a jumpsuit, depending on what she likes. The guests should wear a formal dress code, although they can wear a less formal dress code for a backyard bridal shower.
- Bachelorette Party Dress Code
For a bachelorette party, it is customary for the bride-to-be to wear white. For the guests, a black party dress is a good option. That said, everyone can dress up in fun outfits, including the bride. The bride should stand out from the rest, of course. This is her party, after all.
7. Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: The Activities
Lastly, the activities. Remember, a bridal shower is originally meant to prepare the bride with the stuff she needs in her next life stage. A bachelorette party is a mark of the bride-to-be’s last night as a single woman. Of course, the activities at a bridal shower are different from that of a bachelorette party.
Bridal Shower Activities
One of the traditions of bridal showers is games. A bridal shower is not just about showering the bride with gifts. The bride and guests play games and have fun together at the party. The game can be anything. For example, a quiz where everyone answers questions about the bride to know who knows the bride best.
Other activities include the guests sharing their advice for a happy marriage for the bride. This can be done using advice cards. The guests can give their advice in the form of a funny story, a poem, or, well, anything they want as long as there is a lesson that the bride can learn.
The activities at a bridal shower are usually arranged like this: food and drinks, followed by games and finished with the bride opening the gifts. Some brides, however, choose activity-oriented like crafting class, a spa day, and so on for their party.
Bachelorette Party Activities
There is no specific outline to follow at a bachelorette party. How the party is held varies, depending on the bride’s preferences. A classic bachelorette party goes more or less like this: dinner, games, or other small activities, then a night at a bar or club.
That’s not the only way to hold the party, of course. A bachelorette party can be a girl’s night out, a weekend camping trip, or even spend the day at a beach. Because it is held according to what the bride likes, discussing with the bride-to-be about what she likes is necessary if you are responsible for the party.
The most important thing to remember is that the party is always about having fun. It can be any activity that the bride enjoys. If she likes to play games, then games. If she likes to go to the spa instead, then a spa it is. And so on.
Bridal shower vs bachelorette party, which one should be thrown? Now that you know the differences between the two, it should be easier to decide. Whichever party is thrown, make sure that the bride would love it. Both parties, after all, are meant to celebrate the soon-to-be-bride and her next stage of life.