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Get the low-down on bachelor/ette parties and wedding showers.
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Wedding Showers:
What are they?
Who does what?
What's the gift expectation?

Bachelor/ette Parties:
What are they?
Who does what?
What's the gift expectation?
Other considerations

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Rachel: So Hank, I heard you threw a party video without me?

Hank: I did not throw a party video without you. I hosted a party video. Come to think of it, why were you not at my party video?

R: Ahh, don't worry about it. Not everybody can make it to all of the things.

H: No, not everybody can make it to all of the things. And that is a good point to keep in mind this time of year, when it seems like the parties are endless.

R: Ahh, wedding season.

H: Wedding season.

R: It's upon us.

H: It's a happy time, and a stressful time. Congratulations to everybody getting married soon or recently, but the traditions and the etiquette that go along with weddings can get confusing. Like what's the difference between a bachelor and a bachelorette party versus a shower?

R: Yeah, that's actually what I want to talk about today is the expectations about parties before a wedding.

H: So I was actually reading about the history of bridal showers, and they are thought to have started in Holland or Brussels, and they are pretty romantic, actually. The story goes that they were started in the time of dowries, when brides relied on the dowries their fathers would give to them to start their lives with their new husband, but one woman fell in love with someone her father didn't approve of, and he refused to give her her dowry unless she married someone he approved of. Her friends wanted her to be able to marry the person she loved, so they got together and showered her with gifts.

R: Well luckily we don't have dowries anymore.

H: Yeah, I'd feel very strange if I got paid for marrying my wife by my father-in-law.

R: Yeah.

H: Also, especially if I was paid in, like, sheep.

R: [chuckling] You're totally right about the idea behind why a shower is called a shower. It's a gift-giving party. It's usually a daytime celebration with food and sometimes games, with the main event being the opening of gifts.

H: And there are bridal showers, couple showers, and even groom showers, and they take place usually a couple of months before the wedding, but not every wedding has all of these parties or even any of these parties.

R: That's right. The two people getting married have a wedding, but it's usually their friends or family who plan and host showers for the honoree, and because of that, sometimes there can be several showers leading up to one wedding because different groups of friends or sides of the family will host showers.

H: So let's break it down. Who goes to the showers, what's expected of them, and what kind of gift do you need to bring, and how do you afford to go to all of these parties for your friends before they get married?

R: So all pre-wedding parties are invite-only, just like a wedding, except you don't bring a plus-one to a shower or bachelorette or bachelor party, so if you're invited, you can go.  

H: And only people who are invited to the wedding are invited to the pre-parties, right?

R: Yes. Keep in mind, if you're hosting a party for your friend, be sure to check with them on the guest list and only invite people who are also invited to the wedding.

H: That would be weird.

R: Yeah. [2:57]