Host Etiquette Q&A
Q: I’m scared my shower is going to be a snore. How can I tell my maid of honour what kind of shower I want?
A: Back off, bridezilla. (Just kidding.) Seriously though, you cannot take control of this party being thrown in your honour. But while we’re sure your maid of honour is trying to plan a shower that suits your personality, there’s no reason you can’t give her a little guidance. When she approaches you to decide on the date, drop subtle hints like, “Any weekend in May would be perfect, since I love the garden-like feel of spring.” Better yet, enlist a shower spy: Share your concerns with a trustworthy bridesmaid who can help steer the maid of honour toward your party ideas and your sense of style.
Q: Who is expected to throw my shower? I was hoping it could be at my mum’s house.
A: It’s long been customary for the maid of honour or the bridesmaids to throw the wedding shower — so if any one of them is your sister, you’re in luck and it would be totally acceptable to throw the shower at your mum’s. Your mum can take on the role of cohost — the Mavens of manners no longer look down upon that as a quest for presents (after all, gifts at showers are usually expected no matter who’s hosting).
Really, it comes down to who wants to throw you this party: your aunts, the groom’s family, your mum’s best friends, your college pals, even your coworkers. More brides and grooms are living in cities other than the one where they grew up, and their attendants may be from college, where they live now, or elsewhere. What if the wedding is in the bride’s hometown, but none of the maids live there? It’s unrealistic to expect a maid of honour in Seattle to plan a shower in Chicago without help from the locals. Faraway bridesmaids and honour attendants definitely pitch in, but Mum is often party central these days, and no one’s horrified.
Q: My mother’s friend is throwing my shower. Should I bring a hostess gift?
A: A nice, handwritten thank you note would be perfectly acceptable, but many brides also choose to show their gratitude with a small gift. Some ideas: a flower arrangement, a box of homemade treats, or a lunch out on the town.
Q: My girlfriend and I want to give our friend a luncheon bridal shower at a restaurant. Who pays for the meal? My girlfriend says each guest should pay for her own meal, but I want to do the right thing.
A: If you two are hosting the shower and inviting the guests, then you two should pay for it. If a luncheon seems too expensive, think about tea or dessert instead, or have the luncheon at one of your homes. It’s cheaper to come up with a menu and cook it yourselves than to plan a restaurant event.
Q: I am the maid of honour — for the second time — in my friend’s second wedding. She doesn’t want a shower — she’s having a family wedding luncheon and not inviting many friends. What should I do?
A: Any maid of honour’s job — be it a first wedding or an eighth or ninth — is to be there for the bride, listen to her wishes, and act accordingly. Your bride says no shower? That’s one less thing for you to do! I do understand, though, that as the MOH you want to do something nice for her. Think high tea for two — if she’s not into tea, consider going out for coffee, drinks, or dinner, or try a spa for massages. The idea is to do something together — your treat — to celebrate her upcoming wedding.