Author Topic: Hosting a Bridal Shower - do both host AND guest of honour send thank you notes?  (Read 1103 times)

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ktanne

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Hi e-Hellions,

I've been lurking and enjoying reading through the archives for a while, but I have a question I haven't yet come across an answer for. 

I am excited and honoured to be hosting a bridal shower for my BFF (P), however showers aren't quite as common in my circle as they seem to be in the US.  Hen's nights (bachelorette parties) are pretty common here, but they aren't so much hosted as just organised by the bridesmaids or best friends, so everyone pays their own way and maybe buys a drink for the bride.  These are not gift-giving occasions.  Neither P nor I are interested in this type of party, however I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion so I'm throwing an Afternoon Tea for around 30 of her closest friends and immediate family. (All of the shower invitees are on the wedding invite list!)

I think I'm going to have a number of questions about this event in the next few weeks, but the first is this:
Do I, as Host, send out Thank You cards after the event?  I am planning on personally thanking each guest as they leave the party, and handing them a small homemade, edible favour with a "Thank you for celebrating with us" note attached. 

I assume most guests will probably bring gifts* as I plan to include the wedding registry details with the shower invitations (on a separate card, not on the actual invite - I gather this is acceptable for a bridal shower?)  Therefore, I know P will send Thank You notes or cards to say thanks for the gift and thanks for attending my shower.  Is it customary for the Host to also send a "Thank You For Attending" note?



*As I noted, showers are not the norm here, and it is a "Champagne Afternoon Tea", so some guests may just think the party is going to be a low-key, ladylike hen's party instead of the usual pub crawl...  The invitations will state "Bridal Shower" but I'm just not certain (especially after talking with some of P's other friends) that Bridal Shower has the same meaning here that it does elsewhere.

PurpleFrog

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I'm guessing you're in the UK, if so I would really consider just doing the Afternoon Tea and skipping the shower part. They are very much an american tradition and co-opting this can come across as quite gift grabby and boorish.

In your place I'd have the afternoon tea in leiu of a hen night, celebrate the bride etc, and have a througly lovley time with out offending anyone.
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camlan

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The answer to the question you asked is no, the host does not send thank you notes after a shower. The Guest of Honor does, to say thank you for the gift.

However, if showers are not the norm in your culture, I'd think twice before throwing one. It would be pretty easy for some of your guests not to realize that a gift is expected and show up without one. Then they'd be embarrassed about not having a gift. This could throw a damper on the party.

Showers are the norm in my circle. But once I received an invitation to a "Bridal Luncheon" for a friend of mine. Bridal Luncheons are very much not the norm in my area. I wasn't sure if this was a shower or not, didn't know if a gift was expected. I finally had to flat out ask the bride if this was a shower or not. It was awkward.

I can understand wanting a new, different sort of party. But if a friend of mine chose a new, different sort of party that required an extra gift for her big event, when I already had to purchase a gift for that big event, my thoughts would not be turning to "Oh, Friend had such a good idea for this party!" so much as "Gee, Friend's a little greedy for presents, isn't she?"

A Champagne Afternoon Tea sounds lovely, even without gifts to open.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


peaches

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Hosts of a shower do not send out thank you notes. The guest of honor does.

In the U.S., the purpose of a shower is to "shower the honoree with gifts." That's always been the case, and there wouldn't be any confusion here (about gift giving) if someone received an invitation to a shower. That may not be the case where you live.

Enclosing registry information with, or even on, a shower invitation is acceptable. That would tend to reinforce the idea that it's a shower, not just a gathering.

I can't predict whether your guests would understand the purpose of a shower as you do. It's a tradition here, but even so, not everyone has a shower or wants one. 
 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 07:30:26 AM by peaches »

shhh its me

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  I always give the advice ...on this site if its not US etiquette disclose the location so poster can answer with the relative culture in mind.

The host does not send a TY note.

I don't know that you can(politely) throw a shower in the UK without all the guests agreeing to it ...ie your group of friend have all talked about "it would be great if we did showers for these events."  , UK posters may be more helpful , if you're in the UK?

Showers are a pretty weird part of US etiquette if you think about it.  A guest would be considered rude to come and not give a gift. No other event has this clause..wedding bday parties the gifts are optional.   

ktanne

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Thanks camlan, peaches and shhh...  Good to know I can cross one thing off my to do list  :)

I am in Australia - sorry, I thought I had that in the OP but I must have deleted that bit!  Showers are held here, but are not as common as hen's nights for a wedding - but very much the norm for new babies (whether it's a first, second or twelfth - there seems to be no limit on baby showers here, much to my chagrin).  From what I can gather, Aussies are aware that bridal or baby showers are for showering the bride/ couple or mother to be, but it's not quite as rigid here as the US.  I don't think anyone here would be totally unaware of the difference between a bridal shower and a hen's night, but they might not feel as obliged to bring a gift to a bridal shower as a North American might feel. 

For example, when a distant cousin got married, I was invited to her combined shower/ hen's night party.  I didn't go due to other commitments, but if I had, I wouldn't have taken a gift for the shower as the organisers also asked guests to pay $50 upfront for food, drinks & entertainment.  (I was glad to be otherwise engaged on that date, for this reason).  My mum and sister did go, paid their $50 each, didn't take gifts, and said it was about 50/50 as far as guests taking gifts for the shower part. 

TootsNYC

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Hosts of a shower do not send out thank you notes. The guest of honor does.



In fact, hosts never thank. Hospitality is a gift, and givers don't thank. Recipients do.
   Technically speaking, if any thank-you note is going to be exchanged that isn't a -gift- thank-you (from the guest of honor, recipient of the gift), then the thank-you note should be from guests to host. (After all, technically you owe your dinner-party hostess a thank-you note, according to all the etiquette books.)
   But, shower guests don't thank shower hosts in the U.S.  I guess because it's considered that the hospitality is given to the guest of honor, really, and the shower guests are part of that gift to the GOH.
   And, that's borne out by the fact that the shower recipient *does* thank the host.

Even favors are a bit against that, I think, though they are OK especially with any occasion that involves gift giving.


ktanne

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It's funny, I didn't think of it that way.  I actually would prefer not to do party favours but felt pressured to do them because there seems to be some expectation.  I might scrap the favours, I forgot that hosting guests was a gift in itself.  Thanks TootsNYC.