What’s The Difference Between an Engagement Party and A Bridal Shower?

Once you or your partner pops up the question and the answer is a yes, the celebrations begin as you prepare for your big day.

There are many parties in between that allow you to see your loved ones and toast with friends.

Learn the differences between a bridal shower and an engagement party.

So, What’s the Difference Between an Engagement Party and a Bridal Shower?

The main difference is that an engagement party celebrates the couple, while a bridal shower is for the soon-to-be bride. Some people decide to have both events, while others will favor one over the other. But in both celebrations, families, and friends are present.

What’s an Engagement Party?

It is a celebration that involves both the bride and the groom. It is the first event in the line of parties the couple will have. Both friends and family participate in this celebration.

Let us look at it in depth:

The Timing

There isn’t a standard time to which the engagement party must take place.

Most people throw it some months after the wedding planning commences for various reasons.

One is to allow the excitement from the engagement to be torn down a bit before planning any celebration. That allows couples to have deep conversations that they haven’t had before.

Also, an engagement party is considered a kickoff event for the celebrations to follow.

See Also: How Late Is Too Late to Have an Engagement Party?

It gives way to discussions about wedding planning with those involved.

Plus, it is a chance for families to get to know each other before they start planning the wedding.

An engagement party allows your loved ones to meet and interact casually before the wedding. So, it should be the very first event.

The Invites

The guest list for this party has changed over the years.

Previously, almost everyone was invited to weddings, and used to be an order of events.

But these have changed these days. So some people can be invited to a wedding, and some won’t make it to the invitation list.

The same happens to engagement parties.

Traditionally, those invited to the engagement party were also invited to the wedding automatically.

But nowadays, you may be invited to the wedding, not the engagement party. So, a couple can invite 150 guests to the wedding and only 50 to their engagement party.

See Also: What’s the Difference Between a Bridal Shower and a Bachelorette Party?

What is a Bridal Shower?

This is a party that specifically honors the soon-to-be bride. It’s a time for her and her girls to get together and bond as they celebrate with drinks and fun games.

But with the changing norms, some people decide to include the couple and not just the bride in this ceremony. Let’s talk about bridal showers more.

The Timing

It comes between the engagement party and the wedding.

There isn’t a particular time that bridal showers should happen, but the event takes place later.

It could be three weeks or three months before the wedding. Note that it is one of the last events before the wedding.

The Invites

A bridal shower is usually a female party, meaning only girls are invited to it.

But if it is done to honor the couple, the guest list will include men too.

Guests are usually close friends and family. In-laws, cousins, and other relatives may also be invited if the bride wants a large party.

Three Differences Between an Engagement Party and a Bridal Shower

There are a lot of differences separating these celebrations.

An engagement party is usually a social event where the in-laws and close friends meet to get to know each other before the wedding. In most cases, it does not include gifts.

But, a bridal shower celebrates the couple that plans to start their lives together. Mostly, guests will send gifts to the couple’s home, either those they have thought of by themselves or those on the registry.

1. Timing

Another distinction is the timing. An engagement party happens within the first few months after the engagement, whereas a bridal shower is among the last events of the wedding.

2. Guest List

Also, the guest list for these ceremonies is different.

Bridal showers are usually more intimate events than engagement parties.

Therefore, they are attended by their closest family and friends. An engagement party may include more people that won’t be present at your bridal shower.

3. Hosts

Another difference is the host.

Although the bride-to-be may throw her bridal shower, it is usually done by the maid of honor or bridesmaids.

These will plan the entire event from the venue, dress code, catering, games to play, and even the guest list. They can work with the bride’s mother or another person close to the bride.

And during the ceremony, they each have a role to play. For instance, they can be icebreakers, masters of ceremonies, game facilitators, etc.

Engagement parties are organized and hosted by the engaged couple’s parents. Each side is given a task, and they both agree on where to host the party.

HOWEVER – Anyone can host the bridal shower or the engagement party. 

What Are the Similarities Between an Engagement Party and a Bridal Shower?

While the parties have distinct differences, they also share some similarities.

For instance, both include a small and intimate guest list. Invites are usually from the couple’s inner circle, like close friends, relatives, and other special people.

A small intimate guest list saves time, energy, and resources during planning and execution.

It’s also worth noting that people invited to these events should also be invited to the wedding.

But there may be some exceptions like:

1. You’re Planning To Elope Or Have A Micro Wedding

Such ceremonies have limited guests, and you can’t invite many people. In such situations, the pre-wedding parties will have more people than the actual ceremony.

2. Some Guests Can’t Make It To The Wedding

They may have an appointment that they can’t reschedule. For instance, they plan to start working or living abroad before your wedding. These should be invited to pre-wedding parties instead.

3. Gifts

Another similarity is that gifts aren’t mandatory for both parties. We know we said that guests bring gifts to bridal showers.

However, that is not a requirement, and it is in poor taste to pressure your guests to bring you a present. Doing that can strain your relationship.

4. Itinerary

Lastly, the itinerary is the same for both parties. For instance, foods and drinks are a must. Then, the events are more of socializing, and people can give toasts and speeches.


Pre-wedding parties are excellent opportunities to get people to prepare for your wedding.

They bring you and your partner’s worlds together.

Now that you know the differences, you can decide which events will suit you best.