Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party: What’s The Difference?

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Bridal Shower vs. Bachelorette Party…what is the difference? The bridal shower and bachelorette party are traditionally the two celebratory events for the bride leading up to her wedding.

A bridal shower tends to be a more formal event, with guests giving the bride-to-be gifts and words of wisdom to prepare her for married life.

The bachelorette party is usually a little wilder!

This is a chance for the bridal party to let off some steam and release some of that built-up stress from the wedding preparations.

Being aware of the main differences between the bachelorette party and bridal shower ensures you can make each event unique yet equally special.

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Difference Between Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party

So what does make a bachelorette party and a bridal shower different? And can the two events ever be combined?


These days bachelorette parties often involve a whole weekend away or minibreak.

Destination bachelorette parties are becoming more and more popular.

As the cost is usually split between everyone (apart from the bride), the location tends to be a little more lavish than a bridal shower.

A local bachelorette party can still be fun, plus they show consideration for those with kids, work commitments or a smaller budget.

Some ideas for a local venue include a cool bar or club, or perhaps the bride’s favorite restaurant.

Glamping or a spa day can also make a great bachelorette night if the bride isn’t a big party animal. 

On the other hand, bridal shower locations are usually a little more lowkey and typically occur in the organizer’s home.

Late morning or afternoon is the most popular time as they often incorporate a brunch/lunch.

Other venues include a restaurant or a hired hotel space.


One of the most fun things about planning a bridal shower is to pick an awesome bridal shower theme that she will love!

You can base all your decisions off of that theme to make the whole party.

From food to drinks, what to wear, and time of day…start with your theme, and you’ll be on the right track to set everything else.

Bachelorette parties can also have themes, although it’s becoming quite popular to have themed days or events…where the whole crew dresses alike depending on the outing.



Gift-giving is a huge focus at bridal showers.

Gifts tend to be thoughtful, with some meaning behind them.

Usually, they are items for the home or future married life.

Although it may make some brides feel uncomfortable, it’s traditional for the bride to open her gifts in front of everyone.

Although something small may be a nice gesture, a gift isn’t essential for a bachelorette party.


Both events often incorporate games to help everyone get to know each other and break the ice.

Bridal shower games tend to be family-friendly, considering that younger/older guests may be present and perhaps the bride’s relatives and/or co-workers.

Popular game choices for bridal showers include What’s In My Purse?, Bridal Shower Jeopardy and He Said, She Said.

In comparison, bachelorette party games are more raunchy and will only be played with the bride’s closest girls.

Ideas for bachelorette party games include Truth or Dare, Never Have I Ever and Prosecco Pong. 


Bachelorette parties, usually have a major focus on alcohol!

Think plenty of champagne, cocktails and shots!

It’s still a good idea for the bridal party to line their stomachs.

A meal at a restaurant pre-partying or ordering take out are both fun, hassle-free ways to make sure everyone has eaten something.

Food and drink at a bridal shower is usually a much more civilized affair!

The organizer often prepares some small dishes or lunch buffet.

Although you may wish to offer guests a cocktail, drinking alcohol is usually minimal, given the event is generally during the day. Bringing a dessert or fancy bridal shower cupcakes is a nice touch.

The Guestlist

The wedding party and bride’s closest friends usually make it onto both guest lists.

The main difference is that brides female family members & friends who are invited to the wedding, typically attend the bridal shower.

These guests are usually missed off the bachelorette guest list, as the games and conversation can get a little risqué!

The bridal shower guest list is usually larger and more diverse.

It may include various age groups from the bride’s work, family and social acquaintances.

The event’s tone needs to reflect this- so save any wilder conversation topics for the bachelorette party!


Which order you have your bridal shower and bachelorette party, and how close they are to your wedding day is entirely down to personal preference.

There are many things to consider, such as how long you have until the big day and how many guests you have traveling in from out of town.

A bridal shower usually happens one-three months before the wedding.

The bachelorette is generally thrown after the bridal shower, typically the weekend before the wedding or could be a little sooner. Perhaps to give the bridal party a chance to recover! 


Bridal shower dress codes are usually a little formal to reflect the tone of the event.

Think pretty dresses, florals or a jumpsuit.

Check out What to Wear to a Bridal Shower for ideas.

Bachelorette parties dress a little more laid-back and sexy.

This is the time to try out a bold look!

Many parties also color coordinate, so the bride is wearing white, and the rest of the group is in black or pink.

These bachelorette party t-shirts are great for an outing together.

Who throws the bridal shower or bachelorette party?

Bachelorette parties are often a team effort, where various bridal party members and bride’s friends will get together to plan everything.

The cost is usually spread between the group (and often, they will pay for the bride). 

On the other hand, bridal showers tend to be run by a single individual. Who pays for the bridal shower can depend on the wedding party or the brides family…

This is usually the Maid of Honor, although she will (hopefully!) be supported by others in the bridal party and perhaps the bride’s mother.

She tends to take the lead with arrangements for the food, decorations and venue.

Can you throw a bridal shower and bachelorette party at the same time?

It’s your wedding- you can do anything you like!

Combining a bridal shower and a bachelorette party can be a great way to reduce costs and make travel more convenient for your guests.

This has become a big bridal trend in recent years.

If you are seeking a particularly wild bachelorette party, it may be best to keep the events separate to avoid offending certain guests!

You could even have your events on the same day, with a bridal shower in the afternoon and a bachelorette in the evening.

That way, you can have two separate guest lists! 

Wedding Shower vs Bridal Shower?

These are essentially the same thing. Typically the bridal shower is for the brides female wedding guests to attend, and a wedding shower can be more open to being a co-ed shower if you’d like.

But these terms can be used interchangeably.

Sara, a seasoned expert in wedding planning and date ideas, brings a wealth of experience to our couples blog. With a background in the television industry and hands-on involvement in a dozen weddings, including working as a wedding assistant on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera," Sara has an innate understanding of the magic that makes weddings truly special. Growing up with four sisters has given her unique insights into the dating world, making her a go-to source for practical and heartfelt dating advice. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her the perfect guide for couples seeking to infuse their relationships with creativity and love.

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