What is the difference between a wedding (bridal) shower and an engagement party?
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An engagement party is for the couple and celebrates their engagement. You might bring a gift, but this isn’t a central part of the event. It’d be unusual to open gifts at the party if you did bring them. Both bride and groom are there, and both men and women are invited. Since it’s a party, it would usually be held in the evening. It usually takes place shortly after (within a few months of) getting engaged.
A wedding shower (more often called a bridal shower) is for the *bride.* Traditionally, the groom is not invited (although he might show up at the end to say hi to guests) and only women attend. The central activity is opening gifts. A bridal shower would usually be held a month or two before the wedding. It would usually be held in the morning or early afternoon.
An engagement party is often hosted by one or both sets of parents, but that is not a hard and fast rule.Classic etiquette rules state that the bride’s mum or sister isn’t supposed to host the shower, but these days, many mums and sisters do act as hostesses for these fun festivities, and it’s really a personal decision.You might find that a relative offers to host one shower for you, and a friend offers to host a different, more laid-back bash, where you can invite your pals, in case you don’t have a bachelorette party for example.
In short, an engagement party vs bridal shower:
– mixed sex vs women only
– about the engagement, vs the marriage
– a celebration vs an event to “prepare”
– evening vs day time
– about the couple vs just the bride
– after the engagement vs right before the wedding
– no gifts vs gift opening
A couple might have both events, neither, or just one.