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Difference between Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party: Which One Should You Have?

So, you’re getting married! Congratulations! As you begin to plan your wedding, you will soon realize that there are a lot of traditions and rituals that come along with tying the knot.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether to have other related celebrations. But what’s the difference between a bridal shower and bachelorette party? And which one should you have—and is it ok to have both?

group of women posing with a bride to be at her bridal shower in front of a floral backdrop
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Let’s take a closer look at each one and help you decide!

Difference between a Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party

People might use the terms “bridal shower” and “bachelorette party” interchangeably, but there are actually significant differences between the two celebrations.

What is a Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower is a party thrown for the bride, usually by her closest friends and family. It traditionally includes light refreshments, games, and gifts for the bride-to-be.

What is a Bachelorette Party?

A bachelorette party is a party typically thrown by the maid of honor or bridesmaids group and is aimed at celebrating the last nights of freedom for the bride.

It is typically a more wild affair that includes drinking and dancing, and is often held at a bar or club. It can encompass an entire weekend or even a mini vacation.

Difference between Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party


In general, bridal showers are more restrained affairs while bachelorette parties are more likely to be rowdy, laid back, or casual. However, there are no hard and fast rules, so it ultimately comes down to what the bride and her friends and family enjoy.

Bridal showers often have a more formal or semi-formal feel, with women of all age generations gathering to shower the bride with hopes and wishes—as well as advice—for the new bride.

beautiful bridal shower tablescape with roses and candles

In addition to celebrating with the bride, it’s also customary to have games that are centered around the wedding and marriage such as “guess how long the couple has been together” or “advice for the bride.”

Bachelorette parties—also called hen parties in parts of the world—are centered around fun and freedom before the wedding, typically in a light-hearted or all-out crazy fun approach. Silly and wild antics are often encouraged, and friend groups often have theme parties, costumes, matching shirts or other accessories to increase the fun factor.

group of women toasting glasses at a bachelorette party with the bride wearing a white veil and the bridesmaids wearing pink veils

Guest Lists & Gifts Differences at Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party

The guest list is typically a bit larger for a bridal shower and includes women who are close to the bride and invited to the wedding, such as extended female family members, friends of the bride as well as friends of the mothers of the bride and groom, flower girls, etc.

Gifts tend to be more practical in nature and often are off of the bridal registry, such as items for the home or kitchen.

Bachelorette parties on the other hand, are reserved for just the bride’s closest friends or her “tribe”. This may or may not include her siblings, depending on how close they are or the activities taking place.

group of women making surprised faces as a bride to be holds up her engagement ring during a hen party

Gifts are not expected but are often given, and tend to be either wedding related (such as a bridal t-shirt, monogrammed items, or wedding kit), personalized with the bride-to-be’s new last name, or extremely funny/cringe in nature.


While bridal showers typically take place at the home of the maid of honor or another close friend, there are a number of other potential locations that can make for a unique and memorable event.

For example, many restaurants and cafes offer private rooms that can be rented for special occasions. This can be a great option for groups that want to enjoy a meal together.

Alternatively, many hotels offer function rooms that can be used for events like bridal showers. This can be a good choice for out-of-town guests who may be staying at the hotel anyway.

woman sitting with her legs crossed writing on a printable bridal shower game paper

There are also a number of dedicated event spaces that can be rented for private parties. Whatever location you choose, be sure to consider the size of the group and the type of event you want.

The bachelorette parties can take place anywhere, from someone’s hometown to cities across the map.

Las Vegas has long been a popular choice for bachelorette parties, as it offers an array of nightlife and entertainment options.

For those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, the beaches of Florida or Hawaii are ideal destinations.

Scottsdale and Nashville have gained popularity and now rank among the top spots for traveling parties.

And for the ultimate in pampering, many brides-to-be head to New York City or Palm Springs for a day of spa treatments and shopping.

Alternative bachelorette parties might include a camping weekend, beach trip, dinner & drinks at a friends house or restaurant or even taking a cruise together.

coffee table full of finger foods and wine giving off vibe of low key bachelorette party

Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: Why you should have one or the other

A bridal shower is typically a more low-key event where close friends and family gather to give the bride gifts and share well-wishes for the upcoming nuptials. In contrast, a bachelorette party is often a wilder affair where the bride and her closest girlfriends let loose before she ties the knot. So which one should you have? It really depends on the type of bride you are.

A lot of brides-to-be get caught up in the debate of whether to have a bridal shower or a bachelorette party, or if they should have both. If you’re on the fence about which event to have, here are a few things to consider.

Reasons to Have a Bridal Shower

A bridal shower is a common event. While some people view bridal showers as an outdated tradition, there are several good reasons to have one:

  • Bridal showers can be a fun opportunity for the bride to celebrate her upcoming nuptials with her closest friends and family.
  • It gives guests the opportunity to bring gifts to help the bride set up her new home.
  • The event is often an opportunity for the bride to share her wedding plans with her closest loved ones.
  • It can help to ease any pre-wedding jitters the bride may be feeling.
  • And finally, it gives guests a chance to pitch in and help the bride get ready for her special day.

Reasons to Forgo a Bridal Shower

While bridal showers are a time-honored tradition, they’re not for everyone.

  • For some brides, the idea of being “showered” with gifts is a bit off-putting.
  • Others may not want to make a fuss or draw attention to themselves.
  • Sometimes the idea of being the center of attention for an event can be overwhelming.
  • Others may feel like they are being showered with gifts they don’t need or want.
  • Some women simply want to keep the wedding celebration low-key. 
  • And then there are those who simply don’t like the idea of having all their friends and family together in one place to skip out on unnecessary drama!

Whatever the reason, there’s no shame in skipping the bridal shower. In fact, it’s becoming more and more common for brides to forgo this pre-wedding event.

So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to have a bridal shower, know that you’re not alone. Ultimately, the decision is up to you!

To have or not have a Bachelorette Party

There’s no denying that bachelorette parties have become big business in recent years. A quick search online will reveal a host of companies offering everything from “party buses” to pre-planned itineraries, themed party kits and expensive nights out. But is all that really necessary?

For some brides, a big night out with their closest girlfriends is the perfect way to celebrate their last days as a single woman. But for others, the thought of getting all dressed up and going out on the town is just too much.

If you’re not sure whether or not you want to have a bachelorette party, here are a few things to consider.

Reasons to Have a Bachelorette Party

women grouping together for a photo while out to dinner for a bachelorette party at a restuarant
  • A bachelorette party is a chance to let loose and have some fun before the big day.
  • It’s an opportunity to spend time with your closest girlfriends and create lasting memories.
  • A bachelorette party is a great way to relieve any wedding-related stress.
  • It’s also a good opportunity to get some of the more raunchy gifts out of the way before the big day!

Reasons to Skip a Bachelorette Party

Like bridal showers, bachelorette parties are not for everyone.

  • Some women feel like they’re too old for a “last fling before the ring.”
  • Others may not want to draw attention to themselves or make a big deal out of their impending nuptials.
  • Some brides simply want to keep their wedding celebration low-key
  • Bachelorette parties can end up being very expensive, especially if travel or multiple days are involved. Some of the bridesmaids or close friends may not be able to afford an extravagant night out or flashy weekend.

Pro tip: If budget is an issue, consider having a bachelorette night in, with DIY spa treatments, a movie, wine, and fun party games for a low cost solution that still allows for some great memories!

Deciding whether or not to have a bridal shower or bachelorette party can be difficult. Ultimately, the choice is up to you!

If you’re on the fence about either event, consider the pros and cons of each and make a decision based on what’s best for you.

Whether you choose to have a bridal shower or bachelorette party, both, or skip them altogether, remember that the most important thing is to enjoy your wedding day!

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