Bridal Shower vs Wedding Shower vs Bachelorette Party vs Engagement Party vs Cat’s Birthday Party… Yes, we get it, it can all get a little overwhelming. It can sometimes feel like there are more parties than you know what to do with! Fear not, we are here to explain all so you can spend your time partying, rather than stressing over party planning.
During this article, the Story Amour team will dive into the difference between bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Furthermore, we go deeper, explaining how you can get ahead of the curve, creating pre wedding jubilees that even Franck Eggelhoffer would be proud of. Niche reference there but fans of “Father of the Bride” will get it.
Is a Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party the Same Thing?
Seems like a good place to start really. Are bridal showers and bachelorette parties the same thing? No. Completely different.
To summarize, they are different for numerous reasons, including why they are held, the people you invite, right down to who is actually hosting the event.
Generally speaking, a bridal shower is a little more sophisticated, fancy, “grown up”. However, a bachelorette party… well… think Channing Tatum… Yeh you get it. Be sure to check out our new article “Top 10 Baby Oils for Your Bachelorette Party”… Joking!
Reason to Celebrate
Traditionally speaking, a bridal shower is held as an opportunity to receive gifts for your new home. Think air fryers and Le Creuset cooking pots. It’s a time to celebrate your future life as a newly married woman.
On the other hand, a bachelorette party is quite literally, more of a “party”. It’s a time to paint the town red and celebrate your final days of single life. On this night filled with fun, don’t be surprised if you end up dancing until your feet hurt while drunk off belly-button tequila shots. Trust us, we’ve seen it all. But that’s ok! It’s your bachelorette party. Let your hair down!
It’s amazing how different Aunt Gladys acts after a couple of Babysham’s at your bachelorette party compared to a cup of tea during your bridal shower. No idea why. That being said, both parties may include similar guests, friends, family and people that you are closest to.
You may invite a more select group to the bachelorette party, perhaps considering the different ages. Look, if your 79 year old grandma is down to party at the local boogie night club, invite away! You invite who you want to invite. You will have a much better understanding of your guests than us. Just remember to consider the establishments that you will likely be frequenting… Not everyone’s idea of the perfect night out.
Story Amour Tip: Planning a bachelorette party getaway has become very popular over the last few years. If you are devising such an event, we suggest keeping the numbers low. It’s much more stressful trying to get 30, slightly tipsy, friends and colleagues, on a plane to Vegas, than it is 5 close friends to a cottage break in the Hamptons.
When we say hosting, we don’t just mean the venue that you will be holding the party. It’s also used to describe the planner. The person choosing the activities and making sure everything runs smoothly. As smoothly as it can run after 14 cosmopolitans. I’m not sure if you have noticed, it seems to be a repeated reference to alcohol consumption. Not sure what that says about me.
The bridal shower is more commonly than not, hosted by either one of your bridesmaids/maid of honor, or a very close family member. Perhaps mum or sister. Depending on the exact situation, the actual event can be held at your own house, their house or, on some occasions, a private room at a local restaurant. We would probably skip the latter as bridal showers tend to be gift heavy, meaning logistics can become a little tricky.
The bachelorette party is usually hosted by the maid of honor with the evening itself usually taking place across multiple locations. It’s become quite popular to make a day of the event. Think pottery making in the morning, an evening meal at a fancy restaurant before letting everything go at several nearby bars and clubs.
Another quick tip from the team. Ask a younger member of the bridal party to host the bachelorette party, and a more responsible (cough older cough) member to host the bridal shower. This is just to ensure that the full responsibility doesn’t land on just one person. Spreading the load will help reduce planning stress all round.
When it’s Held
There are no hard and fast rules you need to follow when planning dates to hold your events. Try to choose dates where all your most important invitees can attend. In reality, you should however be holding your events before your big day. It’s a little silly to enjoy your last nights of freedom, 4 weeks after you’ve just tied the knot.
Your hosts will generally manage the dates and RSVP’s while liaising with yourself. It’s good to choose a few dates together first before they go about contacting all the people you want to invite. If there is a problem with certain guests not being able to attend, they will likely speak to you to find a solution. As a bride it’s best for you to stay out of this as much as possible, you will have enough on your plate trying to get your nearest and dearest to attend the wedding itself, never mind trying to get responses for the bachelorette party. As we said before, spread the load.
Typically, we would recommend holding the bridal shower 1-4 months before the wedding day itself. There is no particular set date for the bridal shower, so the actual timing can be flexible. Choose a date that is most suitable for yourselves and your close friends. Furthermore, traditionally the bridal shower is an event where you will receive gifts for your new home. You will likely need time to put these new gifts into place before you move into your new house together. Yes, we know! It’s 2023, you’ve probably been living together for two years already. Some traditions just fail to die and the opportunity to receive free gifts is not something we are going to fight against.
All that being said, while there is no defined date for the bachelorette party, we would recommend holding this much closer to the wedding day itself. Traditionally it’s seen as the last opportunity to enjoy single life before getting married. Your last hoorah!
Think pink sashes, cowboy hats and large inflatable pen… ha… had you going for a second there. Don’t be so crude!
I think we all get the picture… When it comes to your bachelorette party, there aren’t really any (ANY) rules you need to follow. Many brides often opt for a theme of some description, something fun to add to the festivities of the party. However, it tends to depend on the exact event you are planning. You will likely dress differently if you are planning a weekend away in the hills over a limo ride through Magaluf (a well known European party destination). Just be sure that your host lets your guests know with plenty of time to plan.
On the other hand, your bridal shower is traditionally a much more formal affair. Smart casual but more relaxed than the wedding day. Not quite in the same area as your bachelorette party. Think weekend brunch with a bottle of bubbly.
When it comes to wedding gift etiquette, we are somewhat pro’s. We’ve advised countless brides on what to expect from their wedding registry and your bridal shower is no different. Actually, that’s not correct, but trust us, we know our stuff.
Before we get into the bridal shower, let’s start with the bachelorette party and its differences. Think of fun, light-hearted, silly gifts. Nothing too serious or formal. Speaking to the guests directly, you may wish to club together to pay for a spa weekend break, or maybe a bridal subscription box if for some reason you are holding the bachelorette party particularly early. From a bride’s POV, don’t expect too much. From a guest POV, don’t overthink it.
When it comes to the bridal shower, this is where things get a little more complex. Practical, useful, boring, no no, not boring, functional gifts are the way to go. These are gifts that the bride will use in her new home. It’s quite commonplace for a bride to have set up a bridal shower registry, although it’s nowhere near as popular as a wedding registry. If there is no bridal shower registry, it means you can be a little more flexible on what you give. Smaller, less expensive home appliances and requirements are traditionally given. Think a nice chair cushion over a washer dryer. While not specifically practical, little bits like air diffusers and candles are nice little touches that the bride will definitely appreciate.
Story Amour Gifting Tip
There are many close similarities between the wedding gift lists and bridal shower gifts. Chances are that you will see toaster ovens on both. However, the team at Story Amour agree that one way to distinguish between the gifts is to buy specifically for the Bride and her home needs, rather than the couple and their home needs. Without trying to get all “1950’s How to be a Good Housewife”, try to choose practical gifts that the bride will love when buying for the bridal shower.
Bridal shower vs bachelorette party vs engagement party vs wedding shower
We get it, there are so many different events, parties, showers and rehearsals when it comes to weddings. It can be quite a challenge to keep track and know the differences associated with each, never mind knowing what to wear, who is the host, and whether or not you should look forward to receiving gifts. That being said, no matter how many events you choose to have, as long as you enjoy each one, you can’t go far wrong. Remember, you only get married once.
The bachelorette party and bridal shower are probably the most widely known events, other than the wedding day itself, however there are also wedding showers and engagement parties. While we don’t want to do a full breakdown of each (will likely come in a full article), we thought we would put together a quick summary of the two lesser known, and how they differentiate for bridal showers and bachelorette parties.
A wedding shower is much the same as a bridal shower, as you’ve probably guessed by the name (Interesting fact: the word shower comes from a tradition of opening the gifts over the bride-to-be’s head. Weird right). The only difference is that the wedding shower is considered a time to give gifts to the couple, rather than just the bride-to-be. We’ve dived a little deeper into wedding showers in a previous article, so if you want to learn more, it’s well worth a read.
In the same way that the wedding shower is for the couple, so is the engagement party when compared to the bachelor/bachelorette party. An engagement party is usually thrown shortly after the announcement of the engagement. It is usually seen as an opportunity for both sides of the family to come together, get to know each other and celebrate the exciting impending marriage.
Who pays for the bridal shower and bachelorette party?
Budgeting for weddings can be a treacherous path to cross. While we are always a big fan of doing away with outdated traditions, it can’t be argued that it made everything a little more simple to follow. Especially when it comes to money.
In 2023, there isn’t really a select group or person responsible for paying for the bridal shower or bachelorette party. While it’s quite commonplace for the host of the bridal shower to pay for any catering/event expenses, it’s certainly not a requirement. The same can be said for the bachelorette party. A quick Story Amour tip would be to create a kitty for each event and ask for a contribution from each invitee. It’s always important to be upfront with each other as the hosts may have already decided to pay for the event as part of a gift towards the wedding.
Bachelorette Party Ideas
We could write an essay on the hundreds of amazing bachelorette party ideas that we have seen over the years. There are so many exciting conversations you can have, whether that’s planning a tropical overseas destination getaway or something a little more “out there” like bungee jumping off a cliff. The sky’s the limit.
That being said, it’s probably best saved for another article, where we can dive deeper into the options you may wish to consider. However, we asked the team for 5 interesting options, and here is what they came up with.
- Yoga Retreat – Fitness freak bride? Why not plan a soothing yoga retreat.
- Pasta Making – A pasta making evening is a great way to start the party. Learn to make your own pasta.
- Cocktail Making – You might as well get the drinks flowing early!
- Joint Bachelor/Bachelorette Party – Controversial we know, but if you share a similar group of friends it’s a great way to save money and enjoy it all together.
- Jewelry Design Course – More of a morning/afternoon event before the partying starts but a cute little activity you can all do together. Plus you will likely walk away with a little keepsake.
Most importantly, remember who you are planning the event for. Take into consideration the bride-to-be’s personality. You should always plan something they will love. While forcing them into the aforementioned bungee jump might seem funny, it’s probably best left on the ideas pile.
Bridal Shower Ideas
Similar to bachelorette party ideas, there are so many options that it’s best we write a full article on it. Hit the newsletter sign up button below and you will get updated when we put together the epic list. In the meantime, we once again asked the Story Amour team to suggest 5 great options when it comes to bridal showers. Remember to keep in mind the more formal, almost subdued nature of bridal showers. At least in comparison to bachelorette parties.
- Afternoon Tea – Many cafes or restaurants offer an afternoon tea package. A quite elegant way to celebrate the bride before showering her with gifts.
- A Themed Cookout – Perhaps some kind of themed food evening, whether that’s Italian Night or a backyard BBQ.
- At Home Wine Tasting – At home wine tasting has grown in popularity over the last few years. Usually you will receive a selection of wines to try along with an instructional video to guide you through each.
- Picnic in the park – Nobody said that you need to keep the party at home. Why not head out for a picnic in the park. Sunny weather can go a long way to setting a nice atmosphere for your gathering.
- A Games Night – Why not prepare a series of funny games. Perhaps a quiz about the bride to be? A great way to get everyone laughing.
That just about wraps it up. Hopefully by now you know the difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party? If not, think of the bachelorette party as more of an opportunity to dance and have one or two (or ten) glasses. Whereas your bridal shower is more of a formal event, if you’ve had too many you won’t be able to open all those wonderful gifts!
While it is important to understand the different customs and traditions, provided you plan ahead and have a good time, you can’t go far wrong.
Remember the Story Amour tip to split the hosts between each event, this should limit stress on the host allowing for two epic celebrations. Choose a fun, excitable bridal party member to plan the big blow out bachelorette party, and a more responsible adult to arrange a nice soiree for your bridal shower.
Now get planning, assign your hosts and prepare to celebrate.