Plan A Wedding Shower

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The maid or matron of the bride will often plan the wedding shower.  We do see other co-workers, relatives or close friends plan more than one wedding shower.  So much depends on the distance the bride is from her home town.  

We also see destination wedding groups plan a shower a few days before the wedding & reception as family and friends gather in the destination town.  

The Planning Process

The gathering is planned like many others. You obtain a mailing list from the bride or (if a surprise), from her circle of friends or family.  Invites are selected and mailed out with a request for a RSVP.   

1.  Add the gift registries the bride has signed on to.

2. Make certain you have a RSVP phone and e-mail on the invite.

3. The general theme is announced in the invite.

4. Include a map & directions with the hostesses' phone number in the invitation.

5.  If you want to, ask each guest to bring a favorite recipe on a sheet of paper ... or marriage advice & quotes. 

 If the mother and sisters live in the area of the party, they are usually invited also.  (If a couples shower, they are not necessarily included.)   Mail these a MONTH in advance.

Like any party, expect 20% will not make the date.  People will likely call you and ask what the bride needs.

If you need help financially:  co-host the party and share the cost.  You can ask each of the bridesmaids to assist with one part of the shower or the other.  You could also ask a member of the family, but do not ask the mother of the bride or groom.  Others can help with:  Decorations, Cake, Beverages, Games & Gifts or assist in paying for Restaurant Costs for Lunch, Brunch, etc.

Special TIPS to Make Things Flow Better

If you have children in the house, find a sitter, or take them to friends home.  

If an outdoor party, read our article on outdoor weddings and receptions.  Many of those tips work well for showers.

Many restaurants will give you a banquet room free of charge when you purchase their food.  

Generally, restaurants will allow an outside bakery to provide the cake of your choice, but not specific foods.

Parking can be a concern.  If a neighborhood, ask your neighbors ahead of time to give you some space.

Name tags are fun, but introductions of the mother of the bride and groom to the rest of the group are very important. 

If an apartment complex, mention the parking & include a MAP

to your local garage.  This helps people be on time.

Stop serving alcohol at least one hour prior to people leaving the party.  As a hostess, you are responsible for your guest's welfare.  

During the shower have someone write down who gave the gift and what it is on a sheet of paper. Tape the gift cards to the items.  

One or two games is more than enough prior to opening the gifts and then serving dessert.  If you know the bride hates shower games - don't play them.

The Wine Tasting Shower

You can create a very memorable occasion by combining the shower with a casual wine and cheese theme. Some guests are asked to bring two bottles of their favorite wine, one for tasting at the shower and the other for the bride and groom. Other guests are asked to bring related wine accessories or items relating to cooking and entertaining. 

Invitations can be handcrafted in the shape of a wine bottle with the information (or perhaps a photo of the couple) on the label. Yet another idea is to purchase invitations that have motifs that complement the wine and cheese theme (such as grapes).  Plan a simple menu of assorted meat and cheese trays, crackers, dips, fruit, French bread and appetizers such as; cheese puffs and miniature quiches.

Gift Ideas: Wine goblets, wine rack, book or magazine subscription on wines, "Make-Your-Own" wine kit, A gift certificate to join a mail order wine club, A gift certificate for customized wine labels, Fancy corkscrew, Wine chiller or decanter, Cheese serving tray, Cutting board, Special Linens, Candles and candle holders, Non-perishable gourmet food items, Knife set, A book on entertaining or a Gold Medal Winning Bottle of Wine.  A membership to a popular wine club for a year.

The Lingerie Bridal Shower

Simply combine a "trousseau" or lingerie shower with a bachelorette party and you've got the makings for a real "blushing bride". This type of shower is typically for the young gals and is hosted by the bride's wedding attendants, typically the maid or matron of honor. You can plan on taking the bride "out on the town" after the shower or perhaps you plan a "slumber party" theme or a weekend getaway with the girls! This is a fun time for a Karaoke mike, a fun idea would be to "roast" (instead of "toast") the bride by sharing funny stories and photographs, slides or home movies of her childhood. A visit to your local gag gift store or novelty shop will give you lots of decorating and gift ideas. (Since I'm far too shy to list these naughty gift ideas, you'll just have to use your imagination!!!). The hot new trend…a murder mystery party! 

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Shower Themes & Ideas

"Gift Certificate Shower" (shower the bride and groom with gifts that they can choose themselves or buy specific gift certificates that you know they will enjoy) "Alphabet" shower (guests must buy an item that begins with a certain letter of the alphabet) "Bon Voyage" shower (guests buy items for the honeymoon) "Around The House" shower (guests buy items for a particular room of the house such as kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, bar, etc.) "The Great Outdoors" shower (for couples that like to bike, camp, hike, canoe, etc.) Home decor shower (any item related to decorating the home) Holiday shower (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, etc.). Gift basket shower (could use any theme, such as a kitchen, bath or honeymoon basket).

Special Group Gifts: A getaway at a romantic inn or bed and breakfast or season tickets to their favorite Performing arts theatre or sporting event.

The Gourmet Shower

A gourmet shower is a perfect theme for couples that enjoy "heating up the kitchen". Simply ask the guests to bring items that are related to cooking gourmet style! You can make invitations in the shape of a chef's hat or simply purchase invitations with a gourmet food or kitchen theme. Decorate a quaint bistro with red and white checkered tablecloths and a candle and bottle of wine on each table. For a whimsical touch, print out the menu and beverage "specials" with chalk on a blackboard or print menus for each table. For each table, wrap the utensils in napkins and place inside the recyclable cardboard "six pack" containers.

Gift Ideas

Gift certificates for gourmet cooking classes, Fondue pot, Canister set Crock pot, Spice rack, Kitchen utensils and cookware, Gourmet dips, sauces and nonperishable foods, Cookbooks, recipe books/cards, Gourmet food basket filled with a variety of kitchen delights, Candles and candle holders, Cutting board, Self-sharpening knife set, Napkins, placemats, tablecloths, "Italian Night" (pastas, pasta sauces, pasta strainer, spices, pizza pan, pizza cutter, checkered napkins and tablecloth, cheese grater, pasta or pizza cookbook), "Chinese Night" (wok, Chinese cookbook, chopsticks, bamboo vegetable steamer), Group Gifts May Include: A bread maker, cappuccino machine, indoor electric grill, food processor, pressure cooker or waffle iron.

Around-The-Clock Shower

Guests are asked to bring a gift that would be used by the bride and groom during a specific hour of the day. You can send each guest a handcrafted invitation in the shape of a clock with their "specific hour" indicated by the hands drawn on the clock face. Gifts can be organized and presented in order of the time of day: Morning first, then afternoon, followed by evening. As the gifts are opened, you could serve refreshments based on that part of the day. For "the morning", champagne and orange juice with miniature muffins or bagels, then coffee and sandwiches for "the afternoon". For late evening, perhaps popcorn and a light after-dinner liqueur.

Gift Ideas

• "Morning" Gift Ideas: Alarm clock, bath towels, bed linens and pillows, coffee maker, toaster, coffee mugs, gourmet coffees and breakfast mixes, make-up mirror, make-up carrying case, vanity mirror

• "Mid-Morning" Gift Ideas: Cookware suitable for making brunch, muffin tins, waffle iron, bagel mixer, pancake and muffin mixes

• "Mid-Day" Gift Ideas: Picnic basket filled with napkins, utensils, wine etc., appointment book, gift certificates for lunch at the bride-to-be's favorite restaurant, assorted gourmet teas, gift certificate for a facial, manicure or pedicure

• "Evening" Gift Ideas: Wine, Scented candles, a CD of romantic music, bath oil, wine glasses, anything related to cooking a romantic evening dinner, bed linens or comforter

Wedding Keepsake Shower

Guests are asked to purchase "keepsake gifts" or any item related to preserving the photographs and special memories of the bride-to-be's upcoming wedding. It would be helpful to list some gift ideas on the shower invitation. Close relatives could bring a special family heirloom and a wedding photo to display on a decorated table. The invitation could feature childhood photos of the bride and groom and a recent one (perhaps the engagement photo) in the center. Another idea would be a photo album from Creative Memories. Everyone could bring a special photo for the bride and groom.

Gift Ideas: Wedding Time Capsule, Wedding memory albums, and scrapbooking supplies, Bridal keepsake box, Picture frames (could frame a favorite photo of the couple), Photo albums, Wedding guest book and pen, Wedding Time Capsule

Keepsake items the bride or groom collects (i.e. figurines). Any personalized items with the bride and groom's names, wedding date and photo, Disposable cameras for the wedding, "First Christmas Together" ornament, Keepsake shadow box to frame the bride's most treasured keepsakes, Handcrafted keepsakes using the couple's wedding invitation, Group Gifts may include: A hope chest, keepsake coffee table, tickets and tours to a nearby keepsake display or factory for her to pick out her favorite. Are quilters on the guest list? A "memory quilt" using photo transfer paper and family photos make a treasured gift and heirloom.

Patio or Backyard Barbeque Shower:

If the bride and groom love to entertain in "the great outdoors", this shower theme is perfect! You can hold the actual shower on an outdoor patio, deck, gazebo or in the backyard on picnic tables and lawn chairs. You can decorate with a garden theme using props such as trellises, white arbors, and wishing wells accented with fresh or silk greenery and florals. Decorate a special patio chair for the bride-to-be with tulle netting and silk florals. Be sure to have lots of outdoor candles and patio lights for a late afternoon or evening celebration.

Gift Ideas: Barbeque utensils, cookbooks and gourmet sauces, Barbeque style apron, Plastic patio tableware and serving dishes, Tiki torches, Outdoor candles, patio lights and lanterns, Plastic ice bucket, Patio seat cushions and matching umbrella, Protective fly screen food toppers (available at housewares and specialty shops), Outdoor tablecloths, A barbeque gift basket, Coasters, paper napkins, napkin holders, Utensil caddy (for utensils, condiments and napkins), Group Gifts: A barbeque, piece of patio furniture or picnic basket with picnic accessories.

Remember ACE Hardware, Home Depot, Target, and Wa-Mart have Gift Registries.