Q. Who gives bridal showers and how many may a bride have?
A. Bridal attendants, family friends, co-workers and relatives may give showers. Members of the immediate family—mothers, grandmothers and sisters of the bride or groom—should not do so. There is no specific rule about the number of showers, but it is an imposition to ask friends to go to several and bring a gift to each. The bride should go over the guest lists with the hostesses and divide them so that no one person is invited to more than one or, at the most, two showers.
Q. Are showers for women only?
A. No indeed. Showers that include the groom and male guests are often held in the evening or on Sunday. It is fun for the groom, who is often not as much involved in the prewedding planning and festivities as the bride, to participate in a shower. The shower category, however, should be of interest to both the bride and the groom. Bottle or bar showers, workshop showers, garden and barbecue showers all are appropriate.
Q. I have received a shower-invitation that has a note saying "wishing well. " What does that mean?
A. This means that in addition to a regular gift, you have been asked to bring something for a "wishing well." "Wishing well" gifts are tiny presents—a spool of thread, a kitchen sponge, a wooden spoon, a can of soap powder, etc. The hostess usually makes a cardboard replica of a well and decorates it with paper, fabric, laces, doilies, ribbons, etc., and the gifts, wrapped and tied to ribbons, are tossed in. There are no cards on the presents, although at some showers the guests write a poem, which is wrapped around their gift. The bride pulls out the gifts with the ribbons. and reads the poems aloud.
Q. Must a bride write thank-you notes for shower presents?
A. It is never incorrect, but it is necessary only to those guests who have sent a gift and are not present. If the bride personally and warmly thanks each friend for her gift as it is opened, she need do no more.
Q. What is the bridesmaids' luncheon?
A. The bridesmaids' luncheon may be given by the bridesmaids for the bride or vice versa. It is not a shower but rather an opportunity for the bride and her attendants to have lunch together before the wedding. It is usually held on the weekend before the wedding so that those who are working can attend. The bridesmaids usually give the bride their joint present at that time and the bride may give her gifts to them.
Q. What is a bachelor's dinner?
A. It is a festive gathering of men to bid farewell to the groom's bachelor status and, as is the bridesmaids' luncheon, an opportunity for the groom and his attendants, plus other friends, if desired, to get together before the wedding. Toward the end of the dinner, the groom rises and proposes a toast "To my bride" and the men rise.and drink the toast. Bachelor parties once were given by the groom's father, but that is rarely so today. Instead, the ushers usually arrange the party, or it may be hosted by fraternity brothers or co-workers.
Q. When is the wedding rehearsal held? Who takes part in the rehearsal?
A. Usually it is held the evening before the wedding. It is attended by the bride, the groom, all the members of the wedding party and the bride's parents. The groom's parents do not need to attend but they certainly may, if they wish.
Q. Who gives the rehearsal dinner and who attends it?
A. The groom's parents usually give the rehearsal dinner, although it is not obligatory that they do so. If they do not, a member of the bride's family or a close friend may give the dinner.
The bridal party and their fiance(e)s, spouses or live-in companions, family members of the bride and groom and, if possible, out-of-town friends who arrive the day before the wedding make up the. guest list. The clergyman, if a family friend, and his or her spouse, is often included.
Q. Who sits where at the rehearsal dinner?
A. For a large dinner, a U-shaped table is ideal. The bride sits on the groom's right at the outside center ot the base of the U: Her maid of honor sits on the groom's left, his best man on the bride's right. The attendants sit on either side, alternating bridesmaids and ushers. The host and hostess sit at the two ends of the U. If they are the groom's parents, then the bride's mother sits on the groom's father's right and, the bride's grandmother on his left. The bride's father sits on the groom's mother's right and the bride's grandfather sits on her left. The other guests are seated along both sides of the arm of the U, in whatever order seems the most congenial.
At a smaller dinner a rectangular table is best. The bride and groom sit together at the center of the one long side, their attendants beside them, the host and hostess at either end, and other guests in between.