Wedding Shower Vs. Bridal Shower: What's The Difference?

If you hear that your friend just got engaged, be prepared to attend multiple events leading up to their wedding. These days, most couples will host multiple celebrations throughout their wedding planning process, including an engagement party, a bachelor and bachelorette party, and some form of bridal shower — and yes, you're usually expected to bring some form of gift to each event.

The practice of throwing a bridal shower dates back to 16th century Holland, with guests "showering" the bride with gifts before her wedding day in order to make sure she had everything she needed to make a home with her husband, per World Bride Magazine. According to WeddingBee, if a bride of that era did not have a dowry, a shower would be held, encouraging gifts and money to make sure she could still get married.

While we no longer worry about dowries these days, there are plenty of other antiquated bridal shower traditions that brides choose to leave behind when celebrating. Some forgo the cheesy bridal shower games and guest icebreakers, while others avoid the awkwardness of opening all their gifts in front of everyone. But more modern brides take it a step further by avoiding the bridal shower altogether, deciding to share the love with a wedding shower instead.

Wedding showers are more modern and inclusive

If your spouse-to-be is bummed about missing out on the bridal shower festivities, why not include them? A wedding shower, sometimes referred to as a jack and jill party, is a co-ed party before the wedding that celebrates the couple at which guests of any gender are encouraged to attend.

Traditionally, showers are held to give the bride gifts for her new home. However, these days, a majority of couples have built their shared homes prior to getting engaged. Per a 2017 study published in Population and Development Review, 70% of married couples in the U.S. lived together before their wedding day. Therefore, a wedding shower is a great way to celebrate both partners without the pressure of bombarding them with kitchenware. Instead, most guests at a wedding shower will give money towards the couple's honeymoon expenses or a home fund.

Having a joint wedding shower is also a great way to incorporate both partners' families. As event planner Sumeta Satija tells The Knot, "We have seen a trend over the recent years of an engagement party being hosted by one set of parents and a wedding shower being hosted by the other, especially if the families live in different states or countries." We love the idea of splitting up the hosting duties, giving both sides of the family more chances to celebrate the happy couple!

Ways to get your partner involved in the wedding shower planning

Historically, in heterosexual couples, the majority of wedding planning and pre-wedding day responsibilities fall to the woman. Even when a party is designed to celebrate her, she usually ends up planning and executing it. If you're planning on hosting a wedding shower, it might be a good idea to get your groom involved in the planning process.

Before you get frustrated at your fiance for not being super involved already, understand where he might be coming from. Research analyst Sean Palmgren told The New York Times that when he got engaged to his fiancée, he wanted to become involved in the planning process but didn't know where to begin. "Most everything, from magazines to wedding shows, was all about women," he explained.

Wedding showers are all about celebrating both you and your partner, so make sure to let them in on the planning process. Try making decisions together about the venue, the food, and the festivities. Bridal Guide recommends the "divide and conquer" method. Put your future spouse in charge of the playlist or the invitations, and let their imagination run wild. Try not to stifle their input even if their taste doesn't exactly align with your initial vision. Let your individualities shine through with elements you both enjoy. After all, the party is about your life together! Trusting in your partner to help you execute party tasks without judgment will help them feel a welcomed addition to the planning process.