Bridal Shower vs. Bachelorette Party

Are the bridal shower and the bachelorette party the same? What happens at a bridal shower vs. a bachelorette party? Find out in our latest guide.

By Shira Telushkin

Bachelorette Party vs Bridal Shower
Photo by Sarah Zimmerman Photo
Bachelorette Party vs Bridal Shower Photo Credit // Shutterstock

There are so many events that happen before the actual wedding day itself. The engagement party, the wedding shower, and the bachelorette party. But, when it comes to the wedding shower and the bachelorette party, it's not always clear how to differentiate between the two events.

Bridal Shower vs. Bachelorette Party: Are the Wedding Shower and the Bachelorette Party the Same?

Nope, bridal showers and bachelorette parties are not the same thing. Bridal showers are meant to prepare the bride-to-be for her future life as a married woman, whereas a bachelorette party is meant for the bride to de-stress, celebrate, and enjoy her present pre-married life.

Additionally, wedding showers are hosted parties, where the host pays for the event—including the food, catering, decorations, and anything else—and invites the guests, whereas bachelorette parties are often co-hosted by the friends of the bride.

With bridal showers, it’s very common and often expected, that guests will arrive with gifts. These gifts are typically related to the home or the life between the new couple. The wedding shower is traditionally hosted by a friend or family member close to the bride and is often an afternoon or late morning affair.

The bachelorette party is usually a weekend away or a night out that is planned by the bride’s close friends, and, typically, her maid of honor. Though a thoughtful gesture, bachelorette party gifts are usually not the main focus of the night. The focus is on ensuring that the bride has fun and enjoys herself. You may ask, who pays for the bachelorette party? As compared to the wedding shower, the costs are usually split between the event attendees.

Who Is Invited to the Wedding Shower, and Who Is Invited to the Bachelorette Party?

The wedding shower typically includes a wide assortment of guests who are connected to the bride. Traditionally, the wedding shower guest list only extends to women guests, although today wedding showers increasingly will include male friends of the bride. The guests often include the bride’s female cousins, aunts, and extended family members; female family friends of her parents; and female members of her religious community or another group in which she participates. All ages are included in the wedding shower guest list. Some brides may also invite co-workers if they’re close, but this is not expected in most situations.

The bachelorette party almost always includes the wedding party, and then the bride’s close friends. Traditionally, bachelorette parties only included women's friends, but today the bride might want to include friends of all genders. The bachelorette party might be organized by one of the bridesmaids or the maid of honor, but the costs are usually shared by all the guests attending.

A wedding shower is an event that usually includes a wider range of guests than the bachelorette party. The guest list is ultimately up to the host, as she is the one planning the event and opening her home. However, the host will likely consult with the bride to ensure that there are no mix-ups or hurt feelings. Older and younger female relatives should be invited to the wedding shower, but in most cases would be out of place at the bachelorette party. Some social friends of the bride might have no interest in attending the wedding shower, but would be appropriate guests for the bachelorette party.

What Happens at a Wedding Shower vs. a Bachelorette Party?

Bachelorette Party vs Bridal Shower Photo Credit // Shutterstock

The wedding shower includes the opening of gifts, sometimes toasts by some of her female relatives (such as her mother, aunt, or sister), and certain games or activities related to her soon-to-be-married life. The tone of the event should be appropriate to the diverse range of guests, which might include older, conservative family members or co-workers. The wedding shower is about celebrating the bride’s new life as part of a couple and is often focused on her broader community.

Bachelorette parties include fun activities planned by the bride’s friends, games related to the bride and her soon-to-be life partner, and social bonding. The bachelorette party is not suited for friends or family that are not part of the bride’s social circle, and often include activities that incorporate bachelorette party game questions that are a little more raunchy or intimate than what would happen at the wedding shower. The bachelorette party is really about fun and joy and focused entirely on the bride and her friends before she becomes a married woman.

Knowing the difference between a wedding shower and a bachelorette party will help ensure that you plan the perfect event for each occasion.

The Best Winter Bachelorette Party Ideas

  • snowman competitions
  • spa retreat -- no better time than when it is miserable out there
  • sledding!
  • smores and fire
  • ice skating
  • matching cozy flannel pajamas or gloves
  • cabin with a hot tub
  • winter festival
  • face masks, hair masks

8 Best Bachelorette Party Destinations:

  • Vegas
  • Mexico City
  • Montreal
  • Cruise
  • New Orleans
  • Austin, TX
  • Charleston, SC
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • Savannah, Georgia

Bachelorette Party Game Questions

“Who knows you best?”

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