Bridal shower


Bridal shower

A bridal shower is a gift giving party given for a bride before her wedding. The custom originated in the United States, although the first stories about these events have been known to originate in Brussels, Belgium around 1860. It remains a primarily US and Canadian practice. Showers are usually coordinated by the bridesmaids, who invite guests to offer gifts for the home of the bride and groom.

The custom of the bridal shower is said to have grown out of earlier dowry practices when a poor woman's family might not have the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. In such situations, friends of the woman would gather together and bring gifts that would compensate for the dowry and allow her to marry the man of her choice. A frequently quoted legend traces the origin of this practice to sixteenth or seventeenth century the Netherlands. However there are also parallels with many dowry practices and the US Colonial or hope chest (trousseau) custom.cite book |first=Beth |last=Montemurro |title=Something Old, Something Bold |origdate=2006 |publisher=Rutgers University Press |language= English |id=ISBN 0-8135-3811-4 |chapter=Origins of Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties pp 21 - 22]

In the United States bridal showers started in urban areas in the 1890s, mainly among the upper middle classes. By the 1930s bridal showers had spread to rural America.cite book
last = Otnes
first = Cele C.
coauthors = Pleck, Elizabeth H.
title = Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding
origdate = 2003-10-17
publisher = University of California Press
language = English
id = ISBN 0-520-24008-1
chapter = The Engagement Complex
pp. 72 - 73]

The earliest use of this sense of the word in print may be in the Grand Rapids Michigan Evening Press 22 June 4, 1904: "The ‘shower parties’ that through mistaken hospitality the wedded couple are forced to attend..." And may derive from the custom in Victorian times for the presents to be put inside a parasol, which when opened would "shower" the bride-to-be with gifts.cite book |first=Beth |last=Montemurro |title=Something Old, Something Bold |origdate=2006 |publisher=Rutgers University Press |language= English |id=ISBN 0-8135-3811-4 |chapter=Origins of Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Partiesp. 26]

Bridal shower etiquette

Many different customs have developed in different regions and social groups. But the basic format has been relatively unchanged for generations, and emphasizes traditional gender roles. Sociologists like Beth Montemurro note that the ritual of the bridal shower "socializes women into the hyper-feminized traditional wife role", with its emphasis on the future role of the bride-to-be as family cook, homemaker and sexual partner. But this role is more of a homage to the mothers and grandmothers than a reflection of how the bride-to-be will actually behave in the marriage.

Although the format has remained relatively consistent, there have been some significant changes. An etiquette guide from the 1920s suggested showers should be "purely spontaneous and informal", with guests arriving unannounced at the bride-to-be's home, while a planning guide from the 1950s suggests more complex themes and games.cite book |first=Beth |last=Montemurro |title=Something Old, Something Bold |origdate=2006 |publisher=Rutgers University Press |language= English |id=ISBN 0-8135-3811-4 |pp. 20, 26]

Traditionally, hosting the bridal shower falls on the Maid of honor. Because gifts are required of those who attend the shower, some communities consider it rude for a relative of the bride to host it, but relative-hosted showers are a common and accepted occurrence in other communities. The shower normally takes place four to six weeks before the wedding.

The number of guests and their relationship to the bride varies widely. In Canada among some immigrant communities parties in community halls with upwards of 300 guests were normal, while other cultures emphasized intimate parties with only close friends and relatives. [cite book
last = Otnes
first = Cele C.
coauthors = Pleck, Elizabeth H.
title = Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding
origdate = 2003-10-17
publisher = University of California Press
language = English
id = ISBN 0-520-24008-1
chapter = The Engagement Complex
p. 74
]

References

ee also

* Bachelorette party
* Bachelor party


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bridal shower — UK US noun [countable] [singular bridal shower plural bridal showers] mainly american a party for a woman who will soon be getting married, at which she receives presents Thesaurus: parties and celebrationshypo …   Useful english dictionary

  • bridal shower — bridal ,shower noun count AMERICAN a party for a woman who will soon be getting married, at which she receives presents …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bridal shower — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms bridal shower : singular bridal shower plural bridal showers mainly American a party for a woman who will soon be getting married, at which she receives presents …   English dictionary

  • bridal shower — noun A celebration held in honor of a bride attended by female friends of the bride. Usually held prior to, or at the same time as a bachelor party. The shower will be held at the home of the bridesmaid …   Wiktionary

  • bridal shower — /ˈbraɪdl ʃaʊə/ (say bruydl showuh) noun a party for a bride to be to which the guests, usually other women, bring a present for her future home; shower tea; kitchen tea …   Australian English dictionary

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  • shower — I n. bath using an overhead spray 1) to have (BE), take a shower short period of rain brief downpour 2) a heavy; light shower 3) April; passing; scattered showers 4) a meteor; rain; thunder shower 5) a sun shower (esp. AE) ( rain that falls while …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Shower (disambiguation) — A shower can be:Weather* A shower, a short period of rain or snow or hail or sleet ** Mango showers, pre monsoon showers in the Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala that help in the ripening of mangoes ** Sunshower, an unusual meteorological… …   Wikipedia

  • shower — [[t]ʃa͟ʊə(r)[/t]] showers, showering, showered 1) N COUNT A shower is a device for washing yourself. It consists of a pipe which ends in a flat cover with a lot of holes in it so that water comes out in a spray. She heard him turn on the shower.… …   English dictionary

  • bridal — adjective 1 concerning a bride or a wedding: a bridal car 2 the bridal party the group of people who arrive at the church with the bride 3 bridal suite a special set of rooms in a hotel for a newly married couple 4 bridal shower AmE a party for a …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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