What to Wear to a Bridal Shower as a Guest

bride with bridesmaids

 Photo by Ross Harvey

Bridal showers may not garner as much attention as the actual wedding, but this intimate gathering leading up to the big day is among the most sentimental. For many brides, their shower is an occasion that calls for the most important people in their life—of all ages—to come together and celebrate their decision to tie the knot. In other words, it’s the kind of event where childhood memories are retold, advice is passed on from older generations, and plenty of tears and laughter is shared.

If you’ve been invited to a bridal shower, your presence is truly important and as such, putting thought and effort into your outfit is something that you won’t want to leave to the last minute. Ahead, we consulted with style experts Sarah Abbasi and Jonathan Vorasane to ensure you’re well prepared.

Meet the Expert

  • Sarah Abbasi is the founder of Sahroo, an environmentally-conscientious bridal brand that offers hand-crafted, bejeweled heirloom pieces. She launched the collection in New York City in 2018 and has quickly garnered attention for her assortment of unique, exquisitely-made garments.
  • Jonathan Vorasane is the director of e-commerce at Fame and Partners, a contemporary collection of made-to-order essentials designed with an (almost) zero-waste sustainable manufacturing platform.

Basic Dress Code Etiquette for a Bridal Shower

When choosing your outfit for attending a bridal shower, the easiest approach is to follow common sense. “Nothing too risqué, nothing to overshadow the bride in any way, nothing too formal,” says Abbasi. “Go with fun, comfortable, and whatever makes you feel your best self.”

Another thing to keep in mind is the color of your outfit. “[I] would not recommend wearing white to a bridal shower as traditionally it is called for the bride to wear white (unless otherwise stated in the invite),” Vorasane says. “Same goes for the color black, it is a bit bold. All colors in between are fair game.” If the bridal shower has a theme, it can impact your outfit slightly but you don’t have to go overboard. A small nod to the party’s aesthetic can go a long way.

What to Wear to a Shower Based on Dress Code

“If there is no dress code indicated, it would be safe to align your outfit with that of something you would wear to an elevated weekend brunch,” Vorasane suggests. “Keep in mind that you want to wear something not as revealing as you would to the bachelorette party, but something that is not as formal as the actual wedding day outfit—an outfit that makes you feel confident and excited.”

You can also take into consideration the bride and their preferences. “Gauge whether they lean more toward serious or casual with their events,” Abbasi says. "One person’s ‘casual' might be another person’s ‘slightly dressy’ and it should be fairly obvious given your previous experience of the bride’s tastes. But, if in doubt, text someone else who’s going and compare notes.”

If there is a dress code indicated on the invitation then be sure to stick to it as best as possible as a show of respect. “In my opinion, it’s always better to risk being slightly overdressed than at all underdressed,” Abbasi cautions. For a casual dress code, she suggests a sundress, matching set, or a blouse worn with a skirt or trousers.

If it’s a more formal dress code, both Vorasane and Abbasi agree this is where to bring in the accessories. “If it is a fancier occasion, you can wear the exact outfit you would plan on for a more casual shower, but elevate the look through accessories, hairstyle, and shoe choice,” Vorasane suggests.

What to Wear to a Shower Based on Location

It’s smart to take the shower’s destination into consideration when planning your outfit. “No matter the location, a safe bet would be to make sure your outfit is aligned with the location’s general dress code,” Vorasane explains. “Would you wear stilettos to a backyard filled with grass? Does the restaurant call for a lot of sitting? How big is the country club venue and how much walking will I do?”

Footwear, specifically, seems to be the primary factor to consider when looking at the shower’s location. “The ranking of how formal the venue is, for me personally, goes like this: backyard, country club, restaurant,” Abbasi notes. “If it’s a backyard, or if it’ll be outside at the country club, always go for flat shoes. Nothing is worse than the sinking feeling of your heels digging into the grass.” Alternatively, you could also slip into a pair of wedges or chunkier heels to avoid sinking into the lawn while still getting a slight lift.

What to Wear to a Shower Based on the Season

Vorasane notes that the time of year the shower is hosted during can affect your outfit. “In the winter, you can lean into long dresses, jumpsuits, and nice pants. In the summer, it is safe to lean into shorter midi skirts and dresses,” she notes. Another seasonal style direction to consider is palette; Abbasi mentions anything in a “strikingly springy or autumnal hue” might be best left to its corresponding season. “As far as footwear is concerned: anything goes for indoor, and wedges or something flatter for outdoors, just to save yourself from taking a tumble,” Abbasi advises.

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