Surprisingly, having reached the ripe old age of 22 I've seen about 70% of my friends from high school and college get married. That being said, I've seen my fair share of weddings and have attended QUITE a few bridal showers. Oddly enough, I haven't attended very many bachelorette parties....and let me tell you why. Most of the bridal showers I've attended have been a mixture of bridal shower and bachelorette party. I like to call these Bridalette Showers and somehow they NEVER turn out very classy.
I've never quite understood why bridesmaids and friends combined these two parties. Maybe they don't want to plan something separate, or maybe guests just don't understand the difference.
Traditionally, bridal showers were meant for friends of the bride to come together and bring her gifts to help her plan the wedding and start a home.
Bachelorette parties on the other hand are an excuse for the bride and her close friends to get together and have one last hoorah as a single girl. Gifts for the honeymoon come in here.
Here is the definition of a Bidalette Shower and a few suggestions on how to avoid it (if you plan to):
A Bridalette Shower is simply a shower where guests bring gifts, but the invitation didn't specify the kinds of gifts that are needed/welcomed. Close friends of the bride, her mother and possibly even her grandmother are invited. Friends of the bride bring *hem hem* sexy clothing and toys, while mom and grandma bring kitchen and home accessories. All guests invited and the bride especially become very embarrassed when it's time to open gifts- for obvious reasons.
Now there are exceptions to every rule- some brides have grandmothers who'd be the first to give them sexy playthings for the wedding night and others have friends who would never DREAM for getting them such things for a bridal shower.
But for the sake if classiness we have to plan for the worst.
It is often through no fault of the bride herself that these things happen. It's the responsibility of the bridesmaids or best friend or even a designated keeper of classiness to keep these two separate.
So how do you avoid the confusion and embarrassment?
For the planners:
Make sure the invitation indicates what kind of bridal shower it is. For the kitchen, for the bathroom, etc.
You can put any kind of theme or even just a specific mention to where the bride is registered to give guests a clue to what they should bring.
Have a friend shower separate from the family shower.
Make sure friends know there will be a bachelorette party for the more outrageous gifts.
If the bride isn't a bachelorette party kind of person- ask that gifts of a more private nature be saved for after the shower or at least be labeled so the bride knows what she is getting into.
For the guests:
Give the gift that is appropriate for the occasion.
If you really can't resist, attach a note to your gift asking for it to be opened later "for the wedding night."
Don't forget that you are free to join in the new craze and splurge the two parties together (it does save time in the pre-wedding craziness), but be sure to make sure everyone involved is comfortable!
Let's keep it classy ladies.