Every situation is different, but the pros have some baseline advice.

By Courtney Levia
April 14, 2020
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The bridal shower is an occasion when family and friends gather together to celebrate the bride's upcoming wedding. While this celebration is sure to be a joyous one, there's no denying that planning this special occasion can be tricky, especially when both sides of the family are involved.

But how much should families be involved in planning this event? Typically, the mother of the bride or the maid of honor hosts the shower, so final decisions should be left up to them—taking the bride's preferences into consideration, of course. Would the hostess also have to accommodate the mother of the groom's preferences, too? To ensure every in-law who's interested in helping plan this pre-wedding party has an opportunity to do so (and without overstepping their boundaries) we went to the experts for their advice.

Remember That Every Situation Is Different

"This is different in every situation and with every single client we work with," says wedding planner Jesse Tombs of Alison Events. Family dynamics vary, and who is hosting (and therefore paying for) an event can be a big factor in how involved a specific family member may be in the event. If your future mother-in-law has graciously offered to foot the bill for flowers, connect her with the hostess—assuming they see eye-to-eye on the vision and agree on the budget, there's no reason why she shouldn't be able to make that contribution. But if the hostess ultimately has other ideas in mind, it's within her right to graciously decline and suggest your future in-law contributes in another way or simply enjoys the party as a guest.

The Mother of the Groom Can Co-Host the Bridal Shower  

Tombs says this event is generally hosted by the mother of the bride or the bride's closest friends. If the mother of the groom is very close with the bride, then she may feel as though it's her duty to pitch in, too. If your mom, sister, or friends are on board with the idea of a co-host, then this is an entirely acceptable route.

Be Cautious of How Many People Are Involved in the Planning Process  

"I personally think events are easier to plan, organize, and execute with as few cooks in the kitchen as possible," Tombs says. Simply put: the more people that are involved, the more complicated decision making gets.

Offer the Mother of the Groom a Role in the Event

"One thing to consider is offering the mother of the groom one major role or contribution for the shower," Tombs recommends. For example, perhaps she provides the flowers for the lunch or maybe she oversees the invite list or catering. If your hostess already has these details covered, see if she'd like to put together a game or a photo display for decorations.

You Can Consider Having Two Gatherings

"Typically a wedding or bridal shower would consist of two parties or gatherings," explains wedding planner Alicia Fritz of A Day in May Events. One is hosted by a family member (or friend of the bride), she explains, and one is hosted by a friend or family member of the groom. Even if you hadn't planned on having two celebrations, it would be nice to let your future mother-in-law throw a second party in your honor for her friends and relatives if she'd really like to.

The Bridal Shower Should Be About the Bride

"At the end of the day, the shower should be about the bride," Fritz says. Keep it simple, elegant, fun, and lighthearted, she advises. Family dynamics can be worked out after.

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