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How to Plan a Bridal Shower

Creating a Relaxed and Memorable Shower for the Bride

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A bridal shower is one of those parties that are fun and practical at the same time. The obvious reason for a shower is to give things to the future married couple that will help them establish a home together. But the underlying reason for a bridal shower is that it's a nice occasion for the close family and friends of the bride to spend relaxed time with her before the big wedding day. It's a time for sharing funny stories, for relatives to give advice to the bride, and for friends to show their support. The bride is the princess of the day, so be sure that in your planning you don't do anything that will make her feel uncomfortable.

A bridal shower is commonly hosted by the maid-of-honor and bridesmaids. Although it was once considered poor etiquette for family members of the bride to host the shower, it is now acceptable. Here are some other considerations as you plan a shower:

  • The event is usually held within two months of the wedding, up to two weeks before the big day.
  • Don't invite guests to the shower who have not been invited to the wedding.
  • These days you'll need to decide whether this will be a traditional 'girls only' event or a couples party, often referred to as a "Jack and Jill" shower.
  • Any time of day is acceptable, but most often showers are afternoon events.
  • Make your guests feel comfortable and have fun with bridal shower games. Planning a few of these games is a particularly good idea if a large number of the guests don't already know one another.
  • Encourage the bride to register for gifts. With so many couples living on their own before getting married, it's difficult for guests to guess which things they still need.
  • Remind the bride to include a reasonable number of inexpensive items on her registry for guests with limited budgets.
  • Decide whether the party will be held at a home or in a restaurant or other locale. These days many shower planners now choose activities instead of the traditional finger food/gift opening shower. For example, many bridal parties take the bride out for a day at the spa instead of a shower. Or for an active Jack and Jill shower, the party could be a beach barbecue complete with volleyball, Frisbee, music and dancing.
  • Unless you feel it's mandatory to surprise the bride, involve her in the planning. Ask her if there's a particular theme she'd like for her shower. Some popular themes include lingerie showers, kitchen item showers, around-the-clock showers (where everyone is assigned a time of day for which to select a gift) and travel gift showers.
  • Don't forget to give party favors to all guests. These can be traditional favors such as small boxes of candy. Or they can be something that relates to the theme of the shower, e.g. drawer sachets at a lingerie shower.

If you'd like to find more of Donna Pilato's advice on hosting parties and entertaining friends and family you can visit her at The Delicious Dozen.

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