Who typically pays for the bridal shower? (2024)

Paperless Post BlogWedding > Who typically pays for the bridal shower?

March 12, 2024

7 min read

Whether you’re the parent of a nearly-newlywed or an excited future in-law, favorite cousin, or bestie since kindergarten, you’re about to embark on planning one of the most anticipated events in the next chapter of their life—the bridal shower.

Bridal showers are a joyful pre-wedding tradition—and with up to 72% of soon-to-be-married couples celebrating their upcoming nuptials with a wedding or bridal shower, chances are you’ll attend or host one at some point. But if you’re looking into how to plan a bridal shower, one important question you might find yourself asking is, who pays for the bridal shower?

Although once upon a time it was expected that the bride’s family would foot the bridal shower bill, modern society has changed the rules. Nowadays, the person (or people) hosting the bridal shower are responsible for covering the costs associated with the shower.

Table of Contents

The history of the bridal shower (and who pays)

The concept of a bridal shower dates back to the mid-1800s. It used to occur when the bride’s family, friends, and neighbors offered money and household goods for the happy couple. Back then, however, it was less of a carefully executed and fun-filled party for the bride, and more of an opportunity to ensure the bride had a sizable dowry to offer her husband. (Oh, how times have changed!)

Although bridal showers are no longer dowry-related, the sentiment remains the same—to shower the happy couple with good wishes, love, and plenty of gifts ahead of their wedding day.

Image via Spell; “Laurelwood” by Paperless Post.

Modern methods of paying for a bridal shower

While neighbors and friends of the bride are no longer expected to fill a hope chest with money, fine china, and cotton bed clothes for the couple’s wedding night (scandalous!), the cost associated with throwing a bridal shower very much does still exist.

The person (or people) who covers that cost, however, varies from shower to shower. When it comes down to it, anyone can contribute to the cost of the shower, including:

— The bride’s parents: As tradition would have it, it’s not uncommon for the bride’s mother (or both of the bride’s parents) to take responsibility for the cost of the bridal shower. Since parents often don’t attend their children’s bachelorette or bachelor parties, the bridal shower is their chance to shine—and celebrate their child—by orchestrating a beautiful bridal shower.

— The bridal party: Although it’s typically the responsibility of the bridal party to pay for other pre-wedding events, like the often libation-filled bachelorette party, sometimes the maid of honor and the bridesmaids band together to pay for the bridal shower, too. This typically only occurs if members of the bridal party are the ones hosting the shower.

— Members of both families: These days, the mother of the bride isn’t the only one known for paying for the bridal shower. Sometimes one or both of the bride’s parents plan the bridal shower with the bride’s future in-laws. In addition to planning the venue, catering, and decorations, the in-laws’ responsibilities sometimes include paying for a portion of the shower, depending on what they and the bride’s parents discuss and agree upon.

— The happy couple: Who’s to say that the happy couple can’t throw tradition to the wind in lieu of a joint celebration? A wedding shower is a more modern take on the bridal shower, offering both partners the chance to bask in congratulatory vibes from their friends and loved ones—and each other. What could be more special?

How much does a bridal shower cost?

Whether you’re the bride’s mother, the maid of honor, or a loved one of the future spouses, it’s valid to wonder what the total cost of the bridal shower will be. After all, if you’re hosting, it’s helpful to have an idea of how much money you (or the group) will be shelling out for this pre-matrimonial party.

Generally speaking, the cost of a bridal shower can fall somewhere between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand, depending on the following factors:

The venue

Your chosen venue will make a big difference in the overall cost of the bridal shower. For instance, an intimate bridal shower hosted from the comforts of your living room can save you a lot more money than booking a venue at an exclusive upscale restaurant. From a barbecue in your backyard to something more elegant (and expensive), here are some common venue options to consider:

— The home of the shower host

— A resort

— A banquet hall

— A bar or restaurant

— An rustic or outdoor venue, such as a botanical garden, park, beachfront, farmhouse, or winery

Floral Letters” by Paper Source for Paperless Post. Image via Ocho at Hotel Havana/CultureMap San Antonio.

The number of guests

Whether you’re keeping it quaint and cozy or large and luxurious, the number of guests you plan to invite can have quite an impact on the cost of the shower, too. This is especially true if you’re reserving a venue and are planning to cater food and beverages for the event.

Traditionally, a shower is an intimate affair with only the future spouse’s (or spouses’) closest friends and family in attendance. For some people, however, bigger is better, and the guest list becomes more extensive (and therefore more costly). In 2023, the average bridal shower size is 30 guests. Whichever route you and the happy couple choose to take, you can establish a better idea of the total cost after you’ve created a guest list.

The invitations

Another factor to consider when budgeting for the bridal shower is the type of invitations you plan to send. An online bridal shower invitation is a convenient, modern method of inviting your guests that can save you time and money—all while putting digital party planning tools at your fingertips.

Depending on your shower plans, you can choose from various bridal shower invitations or joint couple’s wedding shower invitations, tailor them to your liking, and send them via text message, email, or shareable link to each shower guest.

Main Squeeze” by Paperless Post.

The decor

The cost of your decor can vary widely depending on your bridal shower aspirations—and from a Champagne brunch to a beach bonanza, there are plenty of bridal shower theme ideas to consider. Once you’ve settled on some of the other crucial aspects of the shower, you can narrow your scope on the perfect bridal shower themes for the future Mrs. (or Mr.) and begin budgeting for shower decor.

Regardless of your theme, we recommend starting with a few decor must-haves suitable for any bridal shower budget (and working your way up from there, if desired). You can bring the dazzle and glitz to her shower with a few of these sophisticated and affordable bridal shower decor staples:

— Balloons: Pale pink balloons set a romantic mood and add a soft feminine flair. If the Champagne is flowing freely, you can also consider adding some helium Champagne balloons to the mix—or add in a Pink Balloon Cloud or two to evoke those cloud nine vibes.

— Bridal shower photo booth props: You can make unforgettable memories by setting up a photo booth for each bridal shower guest to commemorate the special day. Heart-shaped glasses, giant faux engagement rings, and cute catchphrases are popular choices for on-theme photo booth props.

— Party favors: You can’t go wrong with monogrammed trinkets. From makeup bags to nail polishes, there are endless pint-sized bridal shower favors you can monogram with the bride’s new initials and future wedding day date. Or, treat your guests to Macaron Surprise Balls that open up to reveal delightful prizes. You can also use bridal shower games to distribute the gifts.

Ladurée Paris Macaron Surprise Balls, Ladurée Paris Dinner Plates, and Ladurée Paris Macaron Pyramid Napkins by Meri Meri, In Full Bloom Mini Toppers by Coterie; “Ruban d’Or” by Ladurée for Paperless Post.

The food and drinks

A potluck-themed bridal shower will ensure you and your guests enjoy an undoubtedly tasty variety of foods to sample and savor, all while reducing your catering costs. However, many showers rely on the host to take care of the spread of delectable delights for bridal shower guests.

Whether you choose to curate your own pint-sized aperitifs or cater a three-course meal for each guest, here’s the general per-person cost related to your bridal shower menu of choice (and no, most bridal showers don’t require guests to pay for their food):

— For a fabulous DIY table of hors-d’oeuvres: If you consider yourself as confident and capable as Julia Child in the kitchen, then for approximately $10 per person, you can craft the ultimate spread of delicious finger foods (and some equally tempting handcrafted libations).

— For a lunch catered at a local restaurant: If the guest of honor has a particular favorite restaurant where they’d like to celebrate, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $40 per person for a meal and beverage of their choice from the menu.

— For a multi-course meal catered by an upscale vendor: Whether you’re hosting at your home or a local event hall, expect a multi-course meal to set you back $40 to $100 per person.

Sips and Sweets” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio for Paperless Post; Image via Andee Layne.

Find bridal shower invitations and decorations all in one place at Paperless Post

No matter the size of the shower, you can find everything you need (and some you never knew you needed!) with Paperless Post.

Start by setting your sights on the perfect invitation for your bridal guests. Then, customize it to your heart’s content. If you’re sharing hosting duties with someone else, you can even add a co-host to the invitations to keep them in the loop. Need to add multiple sections for things like accommodations, registries, and more? Utilize our informational Blocks to add as many sections as you need.

Once you’ve sent off your invites, it’s time to curate your list of bridal shower decoration ideas and focus on the finer details. From sparkly balloons to baby pink plates and everything in between, Paperless Post Party Shop has a wide selection of bridal shower decor the guest of honor will love, and that will pair perfectly with any bridal shower theme.

Get the ball rolling with Paperless Post and start planning the bridal shower of their dreams today.

Browse bridal shower

Hero image via Green Wedding Shoes.
Who typically pays for the bridal shower? (2024)


Who typically pays for the bridal shower? ›

In short, the host is the one who pays for the bridal shower—or at least some of it. Most commonly, this is the maid of honor, but the couple's relatives, friends or even the to-be-weds themselves can all pitch in to cover the cost of the wedding shower.

Does the brides mother pay for the bridal shower? ›

According to standard etiquette practice, a bridal shower is paid for by the person hosting the event, who, in most cases, is the maid of honor.

Who is traditionally responsible for the bridal shower? ›

The maid of honor traditionally takes on the role of chief shower planner. But she isn't a one-woman show: She relies on the bridesmaids to help her with planning logistics. On the day of, the girls run the party, making sure everything goes smoothly and that guests are taken care of.

Who is supposed to plan and pay for a bridal shower? ›

Although once upon a time it was expected that the bride's family would foot the bridal shower bill, modern society has changed the rules. Nowadays, the person (or people) hosting the bridal shower are responsible for covering the costs associated with the shower.

What is a reasonable budget for a bridal shower? ›

That works out at $300 to $800 for a 20-person party but can go as high as $150 per person or $3,000 for a 20-person shower. Based on these estimates and an average bridal shower guest list of 35-50 people, a reasonable budget for a bridal shower is between $350 and $7,500.

What does the groom's mom pay for? ›

The groom's family traditionally paid for all costs associated with the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, wedding day transportation, and the officiant. The groom paid for the bride's engagement ring, wedding ring, and groomsmen gifts. It is also common for the groom's family to pay for the alcohol at the reception.

Does the mother of the bride pay for anything? ›

When it comes to paying for the wedding, there are differing views. While traditionally, the bride's parents were responsible for hosting (and paying for) the entire celebration, today, many couples join both sets of parents in contributing.

Should a mother give her daughter a bridal shower? ›

Traditional etiquette dictates that the maid of honor—not the mother of the bride—should host the shower. Nancy is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.

Who should not throw a bridal shower? ›

Answer: Tradition says that a shower shouldn't be thrown by the bride's immediate relatives, including future in-laws, because it might give the impression that you're asking for gifts.

What is etiquette for a bridal shower? ›

Since showers are intended for the bride's nearest and dearest, every shower guest must already be on the wedding guest list. Because it's understood that guests should bring a present to a shower, it's not appropriate to invite people whom you don't plan to include in the wedding.

What is the average size of a bridal shower? ›

With that being said, our experience shows us that the average number of guests at a bridal shower is about 25, with 20-30 being the average range. Obviously, the number of guests has a huge impact on the bridal shower budget. The more people there are, the more expensive it's going to be!

Who spends money on bridal shower? ›

In short, the host is the one who pays for the bridal shower—or at least some of it. Most commonly, this is the maid of honor, but the couple's relatives, friends or even the to-be-weds themselves can all pitch in to cover the cost of the wedding shower.

Who throws and pays for a bridal shower? ›

Key Takeaway: The host is the one who usually pays for the bridal shower. However, if needed, others can help, too. The planning process can be a beautiful collaboration between the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, the bride's mother, and the groom's mother. And yes, even the bride can join in if she wants!

Who typically hosts a bridal shower? ›

When it comes to the question “who hosts a bridal shower,” the most popular answer is usually the maid of honor. One of the most important maid of honor duties is leading the charge to plan the bridal shower, from choosing a venue to sending out bridal shower invitations, planning games to choosing favors.

What is the etiquette for the mother of the bride at the bridal shower? ›

Wondering whose responsibility it is to host the shower? Gottsman says the bridal party. "Under optimum circ*mstances, the attendants in the bridal party would host the shower," said Gottsman. According to Gottsman, the mother of the bride (MOB) should be a guest, but should not participate.

Who pays for Jack and Jill's party? ›

Historically, a Jack and Jill was a celebration before the wedding in order to raise money for the couple. An example of this would be holding a party and charging invited guests an admissions fee of ~$5, which would go toward the engaged couple.

What does the mother of the bride do for the bridal shower? ›

Mom. For years, while the maid of honor and maybe even the bridesmaids were acting as hosts and getting all the glory, the mothers of the bride were, in fact, the shower's silent partner—banker, really—and were responsible for making all of the party arrangements and paying most, if not all, of the bills.

What does the bride's parents have to pay for? ›

The topic of money can be touchy, and no one wants to inadvertently offend. Traditionally, the breakdown of expenses was very clear: The bride's family paid for the groom's ring, engagement party, the wedding and reception, a brunch the next day, and a belated reception (if there was one).

What is expected of the mother of the bride? ›

As the mother of the bride, it is one of your responsibilities to act as a hostess at the wedding and reception to make sure the guests are comfortable. So, on the day, make sure you welcome guests, ensure everyone is looked after.

What does mother of groom buy for wedding shower? ›

One popular category is kitchen and home items. These gifts are practical and something that the bride can use in her new home. Whether it's cookware, beautiful linens, or home decor, she will appreciate a great gift like these and put them to good use.

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