Hi Emss20: … most importantly I see that this is your very first posting on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
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From an Etiquette point a view… one should not be Hosting their own Bridal Shower… as you would be the Guest of Honour as the Bride… so just like you wouldn’t applaud for yourself when being honoured with an award… it is inappropriate to throw a party for yourself.
Bridal Showers are typically hosted by someone in your Bridal Party… or a close Relative or Friend.
Having it at a Restaurant is certainly do-able… but typically whoever Hosts is the one who would pick up the tab… which is one of the reasons WHY it is most often held at someone’s home, or a Hall (like a Community Centre, Church Hall, etc)
Asking Guests to pay would be considered rude.
Likewise… Guests should never be imposed upon for a gift… altho gifts are the norm at a Shower… each person should be able to determine what they are most comfortable giving (so no group gift, where the Hostess collects say $ 20 from everyone… as this is an imposition on Guests… and could mean that someone might not want to come / participate. Altho if a group of friends want to go in collectively on their own that is ok… so say the Bridesmaids say, lets pool our resources and just get EMSS20 one great gift from all 3 of us).
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As the Bride, you can have the oppportunity to Host an Event to Honour your Bridesmaids… known as a Bridal Luncheon. This is where you and your maids go out to lunch (or again can be done at Home etc). It is an event that is given to Thank the Bridesmaids for their support, help etc. So you organize & pay etc. The occasion can also be used to present them with their Thank You Gifts (that you chose individually and specifically for each gal). OR you can do that at the Rehearsal Dinner… and just use the Bridal Luncheon to give the gals anything particular items that you have picked out for “the party” to wear on your Wedding Day… such as matching “Whatevers” (shoes, purses, earrings, etc)
(Thank You Gifts should NEVER be something required for the Wedding, nor should they all match)
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Typically hosted by the Groom’s Family… acts as an occasion when both sides of the two families can socialize together BEFORE the Wedding the Next Day. It is usually attended by all who attend The Wedding Rehearsal… Bride & Groom, Both Sets of Parents, Bridal Party, including Flower Child & Ring Bearer and Flower Girl and their Parents. As well as immediate Family Members (Brothers & Sisters), and any Special Guests you might want to include (such as Grand Parents, God Parents or someone who has come an especially long way from out of town… like Aunt Sally who flew in from Tahiti).
In Traditional Etiquette… the Rehearsal Dinner is one of the relatively few expenses that is covered by the Groom’s Family.
BUT it is perfectly ok for the event to take any sort of theme… so yes, a BBQ would certainly be fine.
The Rehearsal Dinner can be the occasion when there is a Groom’s Cake… or the Thank You Gifts are given out (Bridal Party – Parents). OR that all can happen quietly at other occasions before the Wedding.
Hope this helps, if you have more questions… ask away