Bachelorette Party vs Bridal Shower: What’s the Difference?

Cactus Bachelorette party backdrop

Bachelorette Party Backdrop || Etsy 

Getting married? Congratulations! As you start to plan your wedding, you will undoubtedly be faced with some decisions. One of those decisions is whether to have a bachelorette party or a bridal shower. What's the difference? Which comes first? Must I have both? Well, let's help you sort this out.

Here we will explore the details of these two pre-wedding events and what it takes to throw the perfect pre-wedding parties.


What's a Bachelorette Party?

A bachelorette party is a celebration of a woman's last night of freedom before she gets married. It used to be an informal party but recently, most pre-wedding parties are becoming quite formal.

While males have been throwing bachelor parties since the 5th century, women have only been allowed to organize a bridal party since the 1960s due to cultural barriers. This included showering the bride with presents, as well as preparing her for her new role as a married woman. Women sought the freedom to pick what kind of pre-wedding parties they wanted after the sexual revolution in the 1960s. Bachelorette parties were another means of showing the world that men and women are equal.

Bachelorette party celebrations began in the 1970s and continued until the end of the twentieth century. The bridesmaids and brides select what happens during the bridal party nowadays. There are a lot of fun ways to enjoy this pre-wedding party. It is usually held the night before the actual wedding day and often includes dinner, drinks, bachelorette party gifts, dancing, and games. The bride-to-be usually puts on a white dress with a veil, and her friends might wear matching outfits. Bachelorette parties are a great way to let loose before the big day!

If you're planning a bachelorette party, there are a few things you'll need to know. First, decide what kind of party you want it to be. Will it be a wild night out in the town? Or a more low-key evening with close friends.

Then research some fantastic bachelorette party ideas and trends. You can find plenty of inspiration online. Once you have got an idea of what you want, then you can start planning! Make a guest list, book a venue or restaurant, and send out invitations.


Miss to Mrs Backdrop || iJayBackdrops

What's a Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower is a celebration of the bride-to-be, typically given by the bride's closest friends and family. The purpose of the bridal shower is to give the Bride gifts that she will need for her new home as a married woman. It is also an opportunity for the guests to meet each other and to get to know the bride better.

The tradition started in Europe in the 16th century, when wedding showers were held to help the bride's family gather items for her dowry. During the Victorian era, bridal showers were planned to assist the bride in getting ready for her wedding night. Today, they are simply a fun way for the bride's friends and family to celebrate her upcoming nuptials!

Bridal showers are mainly organized for the bride, which means the groom and his friends are not allowed to the bridal party. And the bride can invite whomever she wants.

Generally the more the merrier though, it makes it a lot more fun and means a lot more bridal shower gifts! 

bridal shower vs bachelorette party

Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: Are they the same as wedding showers?

A lot of people often confuse bachelorette parties with bridal showers. While they may both be celebrations before the big day, there are actually quite a few differences between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party.

Bridal showers are intended to help the bride-to-be prepare for her future life as somebody's wife, whereas the purpose of a bachelorette party is to help the bride relax and enjoy her pre-marriage life.

On the other hand, A wedding shower is a mixed-gender affair that welcomes both men and women. Both the bride and groom attend, and the party honors the entire marriage rather than simply the bride. A wedding shower is a more modern and inclusive version of the traditional bridal shower. Wedding showers are also more appropriate for same-sex marriages in which no traditional "bride" is present.

The wedding shower is usually hosted by a close friend or family member of the bride and is usually a more formal affair.

Before we dive deep into the differences between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, here's a quick rundown of the main differences:

Bachelorette parties are usually held closer to the wedding date, whereas bridal showers are typically held a few months beforehand.

Bachelorette parties tend to be more wild and crazy, often involving drinking and dancing. Bridal showers are generally more low-key affairs focused on food and games.

Bachelorette parties are just for the bride-to-be and her close friends, whereas anyone can attend a bridal shower (including family members).

what happens in a bridal shower

What happens in Bridal Showers vs What happens in Bachelorette Parties?

When it comes to activities, bridal showers usually involve games,  opening of gifts, sometimes toasts by some of her female relatives, cutting of the bridal shower cake, and good food. While a bachelorette party is quite similar to an engagement party and often includes drinking, dancing, and sometimes even risque entertainment. Of course, these days anything goes when it comes to planning a pre-wedding party, so it's really up to the bride (and her squad) to decide what kind of bridal shower and bachelorette party they want.

A tip for staying organized while planning activities for a bridal shower is to use a timeline to outline the order of events.

This way, you can make sure that everything flows smoothly and that there's enough time for each activity.

Another tip is to make a budget and stick to it. This will help you avoid overspending on unnecessary items or activities.

It's important to remember that the point of both pre wedding celebrations is to celebrate the bride-to-be and help her get excited for her big day. So have fun with it!

Princess fairytale bridal shower backdrop

Princess Bridal Shower Backdrop || Etsy

What is the purpose of a bridal shower and a Bachelorette Party?

A bridal shower is typically a more low-key event than a bachelorette party, and its purpose is to help the bride-to-be prepare for married life. On the other hand, a bachelorette party is all about letting the soon-to-be Mrs. let loose before her wedding day. Both types of parties can be a lot of fun - it just depends on what kind of atmosphere the bride is looking for.

Whether you're planning a bridal shower or a bachelorette party (or both), remember that the most important thing is to make sure the bride has an amazing time. After all, this is her special day!

 future mrs

When to have a bridal shower and a bachelorette party?

Most times, brides will have a bridal shower first and then a bachelorette party. But which one should really comes first? Here are a few things to consider when deciding the order of your pre-wedding festivities:

The timing of your events: If you’re having a destination bachelorette party and wedding party, you might want to have it closer to the wedding so that everyone can travel together. Alternatively, if you’re having a local bridal shower and wedding party, you might want to have it closer to the wedding so that everyone can be there.

The bridal shower takes place a few weeks to a month or two before the upcoming wedding. This is usually a daytime celebration occurring in the late morning or early afternoon, and it's one of the last festivities before the wedding day.

A bachelorette party is normally held a few months before the wedding day, before the bride is too preoccupied with last-minute wedding plans. The bachelorette party is usually a one-night party or a weekend retreat.

 Bachelorette party backdrop

Rustic Bachelorette Party Backdrop || Etsy

Can you have a bridal shower and bachelorette party together?

The answer is you can. It depends on the bride and her friends. Some brides want to keep the two events separate, while others don't mind combining them. If you're considering having both the bridal shower and bachelorette party together, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First, consider the guest list. Will there be any overlap? If so, who do you want to invite to each event? Second, think about the activities. What kind of activities would be appropriate for both a bridal shower and a bachelorette party? Finally, consider logistics. Can you accommodate both events at the same location?

To combine both parties, you can begin with a bridal shower brunch plus a few activities.  After your bridal shower, you can head straight to the bachelorette festivities with your smaller group of guests, which is usually your bridesmaids and close friends. This is especially useful if you have out-of-town visitors who will only be staying for a short time and may not be able to attend both parties on different dates.

If you decide to combine a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, be sure to talk to the bride and her friends to get their input. They'll be able to tell you what will work and what won't. With a little organized planning, you can throw a fun party that everyone will love!

 bridal shower party

Who Pays for a Bridal Shower vs Who Pays for a Bachelorette Party?

The short answer to this question is that typically, the Maid of Honor pays for the bridal shower and the bride pays for her own bachelorette party. However, there are always exceptions to this rule. If the bride’s family is paying for the wedding or engagement party, they may also offer to pay for one or both of these pre-wedding events.

Alternatively, if the Maid of Honor is unable to cover the costs herself, she may ask other members of the bridal party or even close friends of the bride to help split the cost. Ultimately, it all comes down to what works best for everyone involved!

Usually, the wedding party is responsible for taking care of everything, while the bride relaxes.

A meeting of bridesmaids should be held to discuss this specific occasion. The bride's entourage should be aware of the projected cost well in advance of the bachelorette party. Especially if they are traveling or attending a weekend event.

The maid of honor may have to step up to ensure that the bride-to-be is not out of money. The maid of honor might have to pay for her upfront and then recover the difference from the bridesmaids afterward.


Who throws the bridal shower and bachelorette party?

Usually, the maid of honor throws the bridal shower but it can also be a close friend or family member. Immediate family members were never appointed as formal hosts in the past. Because a shower is all about asking for gifts, it was regarded to be impolite if the bride's family was practically bidding for them. However, if they were privately hosting, which meant they planned and paid for the event, their names were kept hidden, and the bridal party was normally tasked with impersonating the hosts. It's now acceptable for Mom or a sister to organize and host the gathering.

The bachelorette party on the other hand, is usually thrown by the maid of honor, however, anyone that is close to the bride can step in. Ultimately, it is up to the bride who she would like to have throw these parties for her. So if you're thinking about who should plan your bridal shower and bachelorette party, consider who you want by your side during these special events!

 bridal shower gift

Do you give gifts at a bachelorette party or bridal shower?

The answer to this question is, it depends. If the hen party or shower is being thrown by close friends or family, then it is not necessary to bring a gift. However, if the event is being hosted by someone who is not as close to the bride-to-be, like an aunt or cousin, then it would be appropriate to bring a small gift.

Another factor to consider is whether or not the bachelorette party or bridal shower has a specific theme. If so, gifts should reflect that theme. For example, if the party has a lingerie theme, guests could bring sexy items like robes or slippers as gifts. Or if the shower has a kitchen theme, guests could bring cooking utensils or appliances.

In general, it is not expected that guests bring gifts to bachelorette parties or bridal showers. However, if you do choose to bring a gift for the bride to be, make sure it is something the bride will actually use and enjoy.


Who attends a bridal shower vs who attends a bachelorette party?

The answer to this question really depends on the bride and her friends. Some brides prefer to keep their showers more low-key, putting only close family members and close friends on the bridal shower guest list. Other brides want to make sure all of their girlfriends are there to celebrate with them. It really just comes down to preference!

As for bachelorette parties, these tend to be a little more wild (after all, it is the last hoorah before the big day!). The bachelorette party guest list may include both friends of the bride and groom, just like the engagement party. Again, it really just depends on the bride and her friends. Some brides like everyone they know on their bachelorette party guest list including their future mother-in-law, while others prefer a smaller group. No matter what, bachelorette parties are always a ton of fun!

 bridal shower outfit

What to Wear to a Bachelorette Party or Bridal Shower?

If you're wondering what to wear to a bachelorette party or bridal shower, don't worry - we've got you covered! Whether you're the bride-to-be or a guest, we've put together some tips on how to dress for a pre-wedding party.

For a bachelorette party, it's all about having fun and letting loose! You can go for a sexy and fun outfit that shows off your personality. Think short dresses, crop tops, or even a bodycon jumpsuit. If you want to wear something more casual, jeans and a cute top will also do the trick. Just ma ke sure you avoid anything too formal or stuffy - this is not the time for that!

As for a bridal shower, the dress code is usually a bit more relaxed. A nice sundress or maxi dress is always a good choice, or you can go for a cute top and skirt combo. Again, avoid anything too formal or matronly - this event is all about celebrating the bride-to-be!


So, what’s the difference between a bachelorette party and a bridal shower? In short, a bridal shower is more focused on the bride-to-be while a bachelorette party is more about the guests. A bridal shower is typically smaller and has more of a gift-giving focus, while a bachelorette party can be larger and involve more wild activities. If you’re still not sure which one to choose for your big event, think about when you want it to take place and how much time you want to spend on planning. You can always have both celebrations if you have the time and budget!


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