Because when you're preparing to get married, there's a lot of celebrating to be done...
#1 A bridal shower gives everyone the chance to get involved
Whilst your granny might not fancy that weekend away in Barcelona, chances are she'll be a lot more enthusiastic about the prospect of a civilised afternoon tea at a nearby hotel. Similarly, it's a great opportunity to invite those 'extra' people - you know, the ones who you love to bits but might feel uncomfortable inviting to your hen party for whatever reason (for example, that work colleague who you adore but wouldn't expect to fork out three figures for a weekend of debauchery celebration). Plus, you can invite kids too!
#2 A bridal shower is typically a more, um, sophisticated affair
Both the bridal shower and the hen party will be organised by your Maid of Honour and bridesmaids, with the bride giving vague directions as to who, what and where. However, that's where the similarities end.
There are no penis whistles around these parts, thank you very much. A bridal shower is generally a more sedate affair than the hen: over cups of tea and glasses of bubbly, the bride and her guests will enjoy cake, sandwiches and other snack-y food. There will also be lots of games (we've got plenty of ideas for you here and here), and potentially gifts, too. Think baby-shower meets childhood-birthday-party with a sprinkling of heart-shaped confetti for good measure - and save the Tequila shots for the hen!
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Another big difference? The MOH and bridesmaids can get really creative with space at the bridal shower, with the venue typically a family home or rented function room.
#3 A hen party takes place over a longer period of time
Whilst the bridal shower is over in two or three hours, the hen has scope to be a longer affair: whether it's an extended dinner with the girls, a relaxing spa weekend or even a week-long jaunt around Europe. (Yah, we wish - find out which Hollywood star enjoyed that for her hen!)