Bridal showers are kind of weird. There, we said it. Honestly, think about it for a second; It’s like going to brunch with the girls, except grandma is there and you have to take part in silly games to break the awkwardness.
Oh, and God help you if you BREATHE A SINGLE WORD to the bride’s Meemaw about how the guest of honor and her ’maids were up to their eyeballs in Mai Tais and penis paraphernalia at her bachelorette party last month. Hear us? Not. A. Word.
Anyway, we digress. The point is that even though bridal showers can be slightly awkward, getting invited to one is still a pretty big honor. If your friend/sister/cousin/whoever recently sent you a bridal shower invite, you probably have one pressing question on your mind: What do I wear?
We’ll be honest with you, cracking the dress code for a bridal shower invite can be super tricky. But fear not, because we’ve put together a few foolproof tips and outfit ideas to help you decide what to wear to a bridal shower.
What to Wear to a Bridal Shower
When dressing for a bridal shower, you have three main objectives: Look pretty, don’t upstage the bride-to-be and wear practical shoes so you can make a beeline to the bathroom when the cringey, bridal shower games begin.
Okay, so maybe there’s a little more nuance to dressing for a bridal shower than that. To help you make sense of all the different dress codes and venues, here are a few tips on what to wear to a bridal shower:
When in Doubt, Wear a Preppy Dress
If you’re not entirely sure what the dress code is, you can always play it safe by wearing a preppy dress to the bridal shower. A cute and comfy dress is a go-to option for most bridal shower guests because it checks off every box:
- Suitable for a wide range of venues? Check.
- Can be worn again for different occasions? Check.
- Won’t earn you disapproving looks from the bride’s family? CHECK.
- Will completely erase the memory of you doing one too many tequila shots at the bachelorette party? Hmmm. The jury is still out on this one...
In any case, a preppy dress will never steer you wrong at a bridal shower. For maximum versatility and mileage, choose a frock in a timeless hue such as blue (absolutely no black or white, though) and accessorize with a fun clutch or statement jewelry.
Keep it Dressy Casual for a Backyard Fete
Who doesn’t love a backyard bash? The guests are (mostly) chill, the dress code is lax (but still existent, mind you) and the food—OH, the food! Whether it’s catered or BBQ hot off the grill, the food is always stupid good. Excuse us for a moment while we wipe away some drool.
The trickiest part of attending a shower with such a low-key setting is figuring out what to wear.. Although you’re free to wear a casual dress, the general consensus is that wearing a cute pair of skinny jeans with NO holes (as in zero, nada) and a chic blouse is also perfectly acceptable attire for a backyard bridal shower.
Just remember to check the forecast before you decide what to wear to the bridal shower. If it’s going to be brutally hot that day, wear a breathable dress and bring a large sun hat to keep those rays from beating down on your skin. No one will judge you for it. Unless it’s a sun hat that is so big it could double as a rug, in which case, you should definitely prepare to be verbally annihilated by your fellow guests.
Choose Bright Colors for a Daytime Event
Bridal showers are meant to be happy, cheerful events, so be sure to wear something that fits the mood! Bright colors and pretty florals are always acceptable while wearing black to a bridal shower is considered a huge no-no. This isn’t a funeral, no matter how much you’re mourning the end of the bride’s wild and crazy years as a single gal.
If you’re attending an outdoor bridal shower in the spring, don’t forget to choose a colorful jacket. To fend off the last of winter’s chill, remember to wear something that versatile, like bring a bright-colored popover with sleeves that can be rolled up or down. You could also bring along a cream cardigan to the event that you can take off or put on as weather permits. It’s cute, comfortable and, most importantly, it will keep you warm as you patiently watch the bride slowlyyyyy open her gifts and thank everyone individually (really though, this is actual footage of us waiting for the bride to finish opening her gifts).
For Formal Affairs, Stick to Cocktail Attire
Thankfully, most bridal showers call for dressy casual attire. But what if you’ve been invited to a fancy bridal shower? (Pinkies up, ladies)
If the bridal shower is being held in a banquet hall or high-end restaurant, that’s a pretty big clue that you’ll need to don cocktail attire. You can always confirm the dress code with the party planner (usually, the bridesmaids) to make sure you get it right. Or, you can just wing it and wear a versatile shift dress that you can instantly glam up with sparkly jewelry and heels.
Pay Attention to the Theme
Everyone knows that all the best parties have themes, and bridal showers are no exception. Personally, we’re big fans of the fiesta theme. Mostly because, um hello: Bottomless margaritas and a taco bar. But also because it means we’re more likely to get away with wearing jeans to the event.
While some bridal shower themes have no bearing on the dress code, others do, so pay attention to where and when the event will be held. If the event has a tea party theme complete with fine china and floral arrangements, you best show up wearing your Sunday finest.
Again, themes may not have a huge impact on the party. If you’re confused or worried about what to wear to a bridal shower, don’t be afraid to ask! It’s much better to ask than to show up wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt, only to realize the “Luau” theme applied strictly to the food—and nothing else.
Supporting the Bride-to-Be
To sum it all up: Pay attention to the dress code, keep your attire modest and stay far, far away from anything that you see a 21-year old wearing to a nightclub. Apart from that, have fun! Eat, drink (but not too much or you’ll be re-enacting the stripper’s moves from the Bachelorette party) and celebrate the lovely bride-to-be.
Oh, and don’t forget to get the bride a thoughtful gift. Nothing says “hope your marriage is filled with love and happiness” like an avocado scooper or bacon-themed socks. Just kidding. Go get them something off their registry.