Some brides-to-be have both a bachelorette party and a bachelorette shower before their wedding day, and this can cause some confusion. The common understanding is that the terms are interchangeable, but in fact they do refer to different events.
A bachelorette shower is a small party, usually held at a private home, intended to prepare the bride for marriage. Much like a baby shower, guests give small gifts that will help the bride in her new role. A shower doesn't tend to turn into a wild night, as a bachelorette party does, instead tending to be a quiet time to catch up with friends before the big day.
It is possible to have both, although if both events are formally and lavishly organized it might be frowned upon. Holding a bachelorette shower is a good way to involve all guests in a bachelorette event, avoiding offence when less lively guests aren't invited to the bachelorette girls' night out.
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