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Bridal Showers - The Evolution Of A Quaint Tradition

Dec 25, 2007
A bridal shower is an almost expected pre-wedding custom and is practiced more ardently in the United States and Canada than in any other part of the world. However, contrary to popular assumption, the origin of the bridal shower was neither in the US nor in Canada.

Various opinions exist regarding the origin of this custom. Some claim that bridal showers originated in Brussels, Belgium around 1860. However, the general agreement is that the origin of this practice can be traced back to a sixteenth or seventeenth century love story involving a young Dutch couple.

It was believed that young Dutch lass fell in love with a poor miller boy and wished to marry him. But her father strongly disapproved of the match and preferred to have his daughter marry someone of her own or of a higher stature. But the young lady preferred to lead a life of poverty and decided to marry the man of her choice all in the name of love. The father was so outraged that she dared to go against his wishes that he refused to give the customary dowry to the young bride as was the tradition in those days.

To help the couple set up their home , the grooms friends and a few others from the community pitched in and bought gifts that the couple could use to set up a new home and start their own life as a husband and wife. And so was born the tradition that still exists today albeit modified and glamorized to suit the whims and fancies of the different strata and classes of society.

The United States adopted this quaint tradition of assisting a couple to equip their new home in the 1890s and it was more prevalent among the upper middle classes. Early bridal showers were more or less family affairs attended by relatives who were mostly women. These days of course, bridal showers are mostly a 'bride and friends' event.

Traditionally, a bridal shower is to be hosted by the maid of honor or a close friend of the bride. Since showers typically are synonymous with gifts it was considered rude for a family member to host them as it may look like the family was asking for gifts. Typically, a bridal shower is held at least four to six weeks before the wedding.

Bridal showers today are elaborately planned events often based on themes and orchestrated by event planners and organizers who can come up with endless possibilities to make the day memorable for the bride. The objective of a bridal shower is no longer just to help the couple set up a home. The richer the bride's circle, the fancier the event is with ornately designed invitations ,lavish menus ,expensive favors and chic decorations .

People are also moving out of traditional venues and experimenting with innovative and exotic venues like spas, country clubs and beach resorts. The bridal shower these days has definitely come a long way from being just a simple traditional celebration where friends and family got together to shower the bride with gifts and helped set up her marital home.
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