If the word bridal makes you think of frothy champagne, delicate pink peonies, or glittering tiaras, you’re not alone. These are all classic symbols of a bridal shower, an event traditionally held for the bride before her wedding. But the term actually dates all the way back to 16th century Belgium, where it was first recorded as a noun and an adjective meaning “a bridal feast or banquet.” Today, this tradition has evolved into a special gathering for the bride-to-be to be feted by female friends and family members. This can be a casual brunch or tea, a cocktail party at a hotel, or an intimate dinner at the bride’s parents’ house.
The bride-to-be is typically the focus of the festivities, so it’s important to consider her when choosing an outfit for the event. A dress is always a safe bet, but you can also look to other feminine silhouettes like jumpsuits and skirts for a bridal shower. A flattering floral print is ideal for the occasion, and a blouse with embellishments like bows or ruffles will add the perfect touch of femininity.
Another key consideration is the venue, especially if it’s an outdoor location. “Use a light palette with hints of spring, or go for a more neutral color scheme, like blush, cream and ivory,” Abbasi suggests. “And make sure your shoes are comfortable, as you will most likely be standing for long periods of time.”
When it comes to the dress, bridal designers tend to agree that fit and flare styles, a-line dresses and simple sheaths work best for petite figures. However, it’s also essential to pay attention to how the silhouette flatters your body type—if you’re short and pear shaped, for instance, a soft a-line with a structured bodice could help balance out your figure. Most petite brides also opt for extra structure in the form of built-in shapewear to help them achieve a more hourglass silhouette.
While it’s obvious to steer clear of white, the general rule is to avoid anything that resembles it. White is reserved for the bride, and it’s a good idea to save your little white dress for other occasions that don’t require the same level of formality.
While the bridal party is often composed of women, some brides may choose to include men in their wedding entourage as well. These men can be groomsmen, fathers of the bride and groom, or other supportive male relatives. They can be part of the wedding ceremony as well, helping with tasks like bustling the gown or affixing the veil. Regardless of how the bridal party is comprised, it’s important that the maid or matron of honor stand out as confident and radiant on the big day. This can be done by choosing a beautiful wedding gown that reflects her personal style, and completing the ensemble with a dazzling headpiece or veil. A bouquet of flowers is a great final touch, too.