difference between bridal shower and engagement party

What Is the Difference Between a Bridal Shower and an Engagement Party?

There’s nothing quite like getting married and all the grand things that come with it!

With all the planning and parties associated with tying the knot, it can be hard to know the difference between some things, like what is the difference between a bridal shower and an engagement party?

Simply put, a bridal shower is for the bride to receive gifts from those closest to her as she starts her new home. On the other hand, an engagement party is for the newly engaged couple to celebrate their recent engagement.

Bridal Shower

bridal shower vs engagement party

What is a Bridal Shower & Why Have It?

A bridal shower is specifically for the bride (without the groom) and is held to shower her with gifts.

Getting new things for a home is always exciting, but a bride getting them to start up her new home is even more thrilling.

The whole purpose of this party is to really make the bride feel special and help give her something more to look forward to as she prepares for the wedding!

When to Have a Bridal Shower?

The absolute best time to throw this party for the bride is about 1 month prior to the wedding date.

However, it can also be around the 2-month mark as well. The timing of the parties surrounding a wedding should be perfectly planned to help the guests get excited for the big day.

However, holding them too early can make the wedding seem dragged out and it can lose its momentum.

Who Throws The Bridal Shower and Organizes It?

This shower is a special one as it is usually planned and organized by the maid of honor, or the bridesmaids collectively along with other female members of the family.

This inclusiveness really adds to the overall wonderful feeling of the party and gives the bride a sense of feeling important and loved by those female companions closest to her.

Who Pays for the Bridal Shower Expenses?

The general rule of thumb for who pays for this party is whoever is planning and organizing it.

While every situation is different, this is just the customary way. However, whoever is throwing the party should feel more than welcome to bend this rule if need be.

Where to Have a Bridal Shower?

It’s not an easy job to take on especially when you’re the person tasked with figuring out where to hold a bridal shower. You want to keep the expenditure within budget, yet you also want the shower to be nothing short of amazing!

Regardless of where you live, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a restaurant or café where the food and ambiance you know the guests would enjoy.

Likewise, reserving a seating area in a hotel lounge could work just as well if you like the idea of having direct access to a bar.

Having the bridal shower at your home (if you’re the bride) or another family member’s house isn’t just a fail-safe option, it’s a great solution! It’s an environment where you and most guests would feel most comfortable in.

Not to mention, there is no restriction on the deco you wish to set up to match the shower theme.

What Happens at a Bridal Shower?

This event is exclusively for the bride and is meant to “shower” her with gifts and overall vibes.

There can be shower party favors for the guests, or you can organize lunch served in lieu of party favors.

Usually, there is a gift table set up with beautiful decorations that can be themed to tailor the colors of the wedding or have a life all of their own. It is absolutely up to whoever is planning the event.

Either way, the decorations should be vibrant and exciting including fun colors, sparkling decor, and elegant features that are to the liking of the bride.

What Decorations Do You Need for a Bridal Shower?

Due to the decorating involved with the party, it is critical to check with potential venues what kind of decor is allowed. Some will not allow tape, etc. that could damage surfaces.

Knowing these constraints in advance, if any, helps you prevent wasting money on buying decorations that you cannot use.

Venues are a good option for those who want to pay for a small lunch for everyone coming. While having the party at a venue has its perks, sometimes it is better to have it at someone’s home as well.

Either way can be really chic and gorgeous.

For parties held at home, the decor can get as detailed as it needs to be! (or in venues that allow it too!) This type of event can become a potluck event where people bring dishes for the luncheon as well or the one hosting can make a delicious lunch.

Traditionally, the lunch is light and fun with things like sandwiches, dips, desserts, and snacks.

There is still the gift table nearby at this option as well. The gifts are usually opened last after party games are played.

What Games Can Be Played at a Bridal Shower?

These party games (which are also played at the venues!) include fun facts about the bride and her groom, the wedding, their relationship, etc. This really makes for an entertaining party for everyone!

The games can be things like trivia or bingo. The level of creativity can really be practiced during this part of the party as they can be handmade pieces or games to really add flair.

Either way, these games are meant to shed some light on the bride and her groom and be lighthearted in nature! There can be small prizes associated with the games as well.

When Do You Open Bridal Shower Gifts?

After lunch and the games have been played, the bride should open her gifts.

It is customary that the bride sits in a special chair in front of the guests and someone hands the bride her gifts one by one to open. She usually reads who they are from and proceeds to open them.

Someone should be readily available to keep the wrapping paper or bags disposed of and to stack the open gifts neatly on the table in which they came off of.

One of the most exciting things about this process is seeing the bride as she opens her gifts. The chair she is sitting in can be decorated as well to help make it feel even more special. Sometimes a crown is bought for her to wear while opening her gifts too.

What Is Appropriate Attire for a Bridal Shower?

No matter if the event is at a venue or at someone’s house, the attire requirements are basically the same: dressy!

The bride usually buys a very specific dress or outfit for the event and bridesmaids and guests should dress up too. Dresses or skirts are very common, although, for women who prefer dress pants, these are acceptable as well.

Overall, the clothing should be colorful, but not too flashy but also not too dark to seem depressing!

Who Should Be Invited to a Bridal Shower?

The biggest rule that should always be followed when compiling a guest list for the bridal shower is to never invite those who are not also invited to the wedding.

The guest list is usually all the females who are from the bride and groom’s side of the family, though it’s also not uncommon that only the bridesmaids and close female friends are invited to the party.

This ensures everyone feels inclusive and welcome to shower the bride with her gifts!

Between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party (although both are parties for the bride), the guestlist for a bridal shower is typically longer compared to the one for a bachelorette party.

What to Buy for a Bridal Shower Gift?

Bridal shower gifts are so easy to buy! The gifts should be something that will help the bride get her new home in order. These are usually things for the kitchen. To ensure the best products are chosen, knowing what the bride likes to do is key.

For brides who love to bake there are things like cookie sheets, mixers, blenders, food processors, coffee makers, etc. For brides who enjoy cooking there are pots and pans, utensils, cookbooks, etc.

Finding a common color scheme that the bride would like is also helpful as it makes the gifts more streamlined and matching!

However, a bridal shower does not have to be all about getting household items.

As this is a party for the bride getting together with her closest female companions, any gift of a more personal nature or one that reminds the bride of the shared memories and special bonds shared between them would be just as great, if not better!

How Much to Spend On a Bridal Shower Gift?

Knowing how much to spend on a gift doesn’t have to be hard. Guests should take into consideration how close they are to the bride.

For guests who are not that close to the bride, they can spend a bit less with the common amount spent around $25 or less. The average amount spent is said to be anywhere from $50 to $100.

Once again, it all matters in how close someone is to the bride.

How Much to Spend On Bridal Shower Gift If You Are a Bridesmaid?

For someone as close to the bride as the bridesmaid, spending a little more (usually $100 or more) would be a good range to aim for.

However, true friendships are not measured by dollars spent on gifts. Bridesmaids are friends dearest to the bride, as such a handmade gift that comes from the heart is worth more than anything that money can buy!

Engagement Party

bridal shower or engagement party

What is an Engagement Party and Why Have it?

The engagement party is to help celebrate a couple’s recent engagement.

Whether they’ve been together for a long time or a short time, an engagement party is a perfect way to break the ice with the couple’s families and celebrate their decision to tie the knot.

The couple’s families may or may not know each other and this event gets everyone well acquainted with the big day that lies in the future.

When to Have an Engagement Party?

The timeframe for an engagement party is obviously different than the other parties that surround the magical wedding day.

This is because it is the engagement getting celebrated, not much else has happened yet other than she said, “Yes!”. When taking that into considering the most common time to throw the party is no longer than 3 months after getting engaged.

Who Throws the Engagement Party?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents throw the engagement party.

However, in more modern times, anyone can throw the party. This can include the groom’s parents, close friends, and other family members. It can also be thrown by the couple in today’s society as well.

Either way, the fun of celebrating the couple’s engagement will be had!

Who Pays for the Engagement Party?

The engagement party, like most other pre-wedding parties, is paid for those throwing the party. If more than one person is involved in the planning stages, they should also contribute to help with the cost of the party.

Where to Hold an Engagement Party?

Unless someone else is offering to throw the engagement party, the engagement party is typically held at the home of the bride’s parents.

Otherwise, having the party in a private dining room at a restaurant or a hotel in town can be a great choice for a more formal event.

What Happens at an Engagement Party?

This event can be a dressier occasion but in order to keep the comfort level for the guests, a more relaxed and casual environment is recommended. This is because the guests are getting to know each other.

Generally, what happens at this event is there is a lunch or dinner and the couple announces their engagement.

Throughout the course of the engagement party, there can be ice breaker games for the guests or games related to the couple’s relationship that can help everyone get to know a bit better.

These games are meant to lighten the mood and be remarkable moments to create memories for a lifetime.

The other big thing that happens at this event is the mingling! Everyone joins in on conversations about the couple, the future wedding, and any wedding plans that may have already been decided on.

If anyone’s brought gifts, the appropriate time to bring the gifts is after dinner has taken place. This is a time where everyone can sit around and enjoy the couple opening their gifts.

What is Proper Attire for an Engagement Party?

With this type of party being a bit more relaxed, the attire is nothing too strict. While guests should still dress nicely, it is not a formal occasion by any means and no one has to wear suits or anything.

Dress pants, polo shirts for men are acceptable and a blouse and skirt for a female are just fine.

Who Gets Invited to an Engagement Party?

Once again, never invite someone to a wedding-based party that isn’t going to be at the wedding itself.

Keeping a running list of everyone who will be invited to the wedding so that tabs can be kept on who is invited where is crucial so no social mistakes are made! It is just plain rude to invite one and not the other!

Generally speaking, the guests at an engagement party should be people from both sides of the family (men and women!) and those who will be at the wedding.

Not to be forgotten, the bridesmaids (source) and groomsmen (source) shall be invited as well.

What Gifts Do You Give at an Engagement Party?

The kind of gifts given at an engagement party is usually things that are sentimental to the couple.

These gifts are meant to commemorate the couple and vary from things like framed pictures, home decor with the couple’s name and romantic sayings, etc.

Whatever the gift is will help the couple think of the person who gave it to them every time they look at it! They can decorate their future home together with it as well!

The cost associated with the gift should be gauged by how well the guest knows the couple. It is also not expected that everyone brings a gift to these parties.

Keep the Wedding Bells Ringing!

These parties are so fun to throw and attend that the wedding bells will keep on ringing!

Knowing the exact difference between an engagement party and a bridal shower will help everyone involved have the best time ever!

Difference between a Bridal Shower and a Wedding Shower

Although both showers may sound like they’re referring to the same thing (or you may have heard of both terms being used interchangeably), the difference between a bridal shower and a wedding shower lies in who each shower is for, the guestlist, and more!

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