While not as important as the actual wedding itself, a bridal shower is one of the most special and sentimental moments for a bride to get together with her nearest and dearest in preparation and celebration of the next big step in her life. If you’ve been invited to a bridal shower as a guest, it’s time to get excited, because these are beautiful occasions that will make memories that will last a lifetime. When receiving an invitation to a bridal shower, know that your presence is truly important to the bride-to-be. Thus, it is important to put the appropriate thought and care into deciding what to wear and bring to ensure you are well-prepared for this joyous occasion.
A bridal shower is an intimate gathering leading up to the big day. While bridal showers don’t receive as much attention as the wedding itself, these joyous events are equally special and sentimental. For many brides, their bridal shower is an opportunity to bring together the most important people in their life, of all ages and relations, to celebrate this huge milestone. This is the kind of special event where tears are shed, laughter is shared, childhood memories are told, and advice is passed down from older generations.
A bridal shower is an opportunity to literally shower the bride-to-be with love, gifts, support, and attention. You can expect there to be food, drinks, gift-giving, story sharing, and endless laughter. Typically, this is a day-time event attended only by the close women in the bride’s life in celebration of her upcoming marriage. Nowadays, many brides like to see their closest male friends in attendance. This is especially true if these men are bridesmen or are in the bridal party. Generally, however, you can expect this to be a women’s affair.
Bridal showers come in many different shapes and styles, which are all dependent on the bride-to-be’s taste. If the bridal shower is taking place at a country club, you can assume you’re expected to wear more of a special occasion dress. Whereas if the bridal shower is taking place in a backyard, you can expect it to be a more relaxed affair. Similarly, if the bride-to-be enjoys a fancier personal style, her shower will likely mimic that. If she is more boho-chic, expect a more earthy bridal shower celebration. Some bridal showers are also themed, so your outfit decision will revolve around that.
While these are all important factors to take into consideration when deciding what is best to wear, there are still some basic bridal shower fashion rules that one should try to adhere to. Regardless of the theme, style, or location of the shower, you want to be comfortable and look classy and elegant. While one can, in theory, wear black to a bridal shower, it’s really not encouraged. It’s best to wear bright and light colors that reflect the occasion. This is a joyful and heartfelt event, after all, and what you choose to wear should reflect that. Avoid wearing dresses that are too short or revealing; instead, choose a dress length similar to a tea dress or a cocktail dress. Avoid dresses that are too tight or revealing. You want to have a degree of conservatism to your look, even if it is your best friend’s bridal shower.
Women’s dresses are always a win when planning what to wear to a bridal shower. As noted above, avoid darker or more somber colors that will have you looking like you’re getting ready for a date night rather than a daytime celebration. If you insist on wearing muted tones, opt for navy or gray tones instead. Choose a loose, flirty, fun, and flowy dress that matches the occasion and your personal style. We love floral print midi dresses, pastel silk max dresses, summery cocktail dresses, or brightly colored solid dresses.
Our top pick for what to wear to a bridal shower is a summer dress. These are easy to dress up and dress down, as well as being comfortable to wear and easily styled to fit the theme of the occasion. Summer dresses also tend to match the brightly colored, pastel, or floral look that so well encapsulates the joyful vibe of a bridal celebration.
While you can wear a fancy pair of dress trousers with a nice blouse, dresses are the most common attire for bridal showers. For more casual bridal showers, you can even wear a pair of dark denim jeans with a nice blouse. The top should be less business professional, but it should be feminine and elegant. If you do choose to wear pants and a top, be sure it looks soft and joyful. Pair with a nice pair of shoes and some special accessories to really glam it up.
As mentioned, avoid wearing black and somber colors. While it’s not wrong to wear them per se, it doesn’t really match the mood of the day. It’s also good to avoid wearing pure white, as it distracts from the wedding festivities and the bride herself. Avoid wearing overly casual shoes or sneakers, and try wearing shoes that are a little dressier. Don’t wear something that’s too day-to-day casual, like jeans and a t-shirt. Instead, use this opportunity to get dressed up to celebrate. Don’t wear anything too formal, and definitely don’t wear anything that could overshadow the bride.
Some bridal showers come with a certain dress code on the invitation. This is a good thing as it’ll help you better discern what to wear. If the invitation says, “Teatime Attire,” be prepared for a traditional English High Tea event, where you’ll be expected to wear a tea dress, which is a more daytime version of a cocktail dress. A tea dress is typically the length of a midi dress but functions as a fancier daytime dress. Some bridal showers may take a more casual approach. If the shower has a “Boho-Chic” dress code, expect a more down-to-earth and casual bridal shower dress code. Wear a maxi dress or something loose and flowing and expect to encounter many wildflowers as hairpieces and decor. Some bridal showers are glitzier and more glamorous, which would be a “Cocktail Attire” dress code. If this is the case, have a brightly colored cocktail dress ready to go.
As with any outfit, deciding what to wear to a bridal shower is going to be dependent on the season. In the winter, opt for longer dresses, sweater dresses, jumpsuits, and silk pants. In the summertime, wear looser dresses, midi skirts, and more bright colors and pastels. A color palette should also be considered, not just to match the occasion but also the season. Conservative winter hues, striking spring colors, bright summery prints, and autumnal hues should all be worn according to the season.
Location is big for determining what to wear. Footwear, especially, should be considered concerning location. Many bridal showers are held in backyards, meaning you have to be cautious about wearing heels and should perhaps opt for wedges instead. If the shower is held at a fancier venue, expect to wear something a bit fancier too. If the bridal shower is taking place outside or at the beach, dress in something loose and flowy, and expect to perhaps end up barefoot. No matter what, you can bet that the bridal shower dress code is going to be closely aligned with the location’s general dress code.
Remember, this joyous occasion is about the bride-to-be and gathering in celebration of her upcoming wedding. As you are deciding what to wear, ultimately remember the reason for this special occasion and the style and desires of the bride-to-be.