What’s the Difference?| Modern MOH

Chances are you’ve heard of the terms bridal shower and bachelorette party before, you may even have attended one or both. But beyond the separate titles for each event, can you really describe the differences between the two?

Yes, of course, each of these pre-wedding festivities is a way to celebrate the bride-to-be and her upcoming wedding, but what’s the real difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party?

To help you better understand and plan for these important events, follow us as we break down the five major differences between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party by answering the age-old 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and Why ?)

Bachelorette party or bachelorette party: the 5 points of difference

1. Who is invited to each?

A significant difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party is who gets an invitation to attend. Because these events serve two different purposes (more on that in #5!), the guest list won’t be the same for both.

When it comes to the bridal shower guest list, all close friends and relatives are traditionally invited. Typically, this means the wedding party plus other friends from the inner circle, as well as the mother, future mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts and cousins.

When it comes to the bachelorette party, the guest list usually includes only the bridal party and any additional close friends (although it’s not entirely uncommon for a mother of the bride or a close relative makes the cut!)

2. What happens at a bachelorette party or bachelorette party?

Another important distinction between these pre-wedding festivities is what happens at each. In other words, the two have very different routes/agendas (again, this has a lot to do with #5).

While no two bridal showers are the same, this particular event follows a pretty standard schedule. Typically, this includes a light meal with refreshments, followed by some group games or activities, and then concludes with the bride-to-be opening her gifts.

On the other hand, the itinerary of a bachelorette party depends on both the preferences of the bride and the length of the event itself. In most cases there is often a night on the town which includes dinner, drinks and dancing, and for longer events one or two activities are usually planned for the group.

3. Where do they take place?

The third difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party is where they each take place. It has a lot to do with the who, what and (you guessed it) why.

Traditionally, the bridal shower will take place in the bride’s hometown or somewhere nearby. The venue itself is usually the home of a guest, such as a bridesmaid or close relative, or a local restaurant/event space.

As for the bachelor party, the location is entirely up to the bride. These days, it’s very common for brides to choose a single destination that requires traveling and booking accommodation.

4. When do you have a bachelorette party or bachelorette party?

This is often the hardest detail to differentiate between these two pre-wedding events as it depends on various factors, primarily the availability of the bride and her guests as well as the venue.

Typically, the bridal shower and bachelorette party take place anywhere within two weeks to two months of the wedding date. And while there’s no hard and fast rule on which comes first, it’s important that you space them out so guests don’t have to make the trip back in too short a time.

Besides the time and dates of these two celebrations, another major difference is the duration of each. While a bridal shower is most often a one-day, 3-4 hour event, a bachelorette party can last up to three days and three nights.

5. Why do we have both?

The last and major difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party is Why we know it. In other words, the intended purpose and general mood of each event.

To put it simply, a bridal shower is meant to be an intimate celebration of gifts to prepare the bride-to-be for her next chapter in life, while a bachelorette party is a chance for the future Mrs. to let loose. and de-stress before the big day.

Traditionally, a bridal shower is much more formal (meaning sophisticated) than a bachelorette party, a difference that runs through almost every facet of every event. For example, bridal shower games tend to be much more family-friendly than typical R-rated bachelorette games, while the dress code for a bachelorette party is much more casual than a bridal shower.

Can you combine a bridal shower and a bachelorette party?

Despite all the differences between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, it’s certainly possible to combine the two events into one big pre-wedding celebration. If this option sounds appealing to you, let us walk you through a few ways to do it.

  • Keep events separate but on the same day. To do this, organize your bridal shower in the early afternoon, then move on to the bachelorette party in the evening.
  • Keep the events separate but on the same weekend. To do this, plan a bachelorette party on Friday and/or Saturday evening, then organize the bridal shower on Sunday morning.
  • Combine the two into one major event. To do this, choose your favorite aspects of each celebration and then mix and match them. While this option can mean a lot of different things, it’s up to you what your bachelorette party/bachelorette party looks like!

UP NEXT: Bridal Shower Planning Checklist

Bachelorette party or bachelorette party: what's the difference?Bachelorette party or bachelorette party: what's the difference?

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