The question's been popped, the date is set, and now it's time to shower the people you love with love.

We have sensible advice and simple recipes for a perfectly lovely bridal shower.


Basic Elements

Make a to-do list that includes invitations, menu, setup, cleanup, photos, decorations, ice-runs, etc. Organize list items in a three-ring binder with dividers. Add details as needed, but hang on to your sanity by keeping things simple.

  • The maid or matron of honor usually leads the charge, with work shared by the rest of the bridesmaids. This means the party-givers pay the bills, so it's essential you make and stick to a budget.
  • Schedule the shower six to eight weeks before the wedding. Try for a two-hour block on a weekend afternoon.
  • The bride and groom compile the guest list. When you've gathered addresses, phone numbers, and emails, send out invitations six weeks before the shower or several months ahead if there will be out-of-towners. Include the date, start and end times (two hours should do it), event address, contact information, and gift registry.
  • Let guests know if the party has a theme: kitchen, new home, pamper-the-bride, or other special interests.
  • A big guest list might mean you rent a space; a more intimate gathering could be held at a private home. Either way, plan for enough seating, eating, and mingling. Decorations can be simple or elaborate; classic or themed.
  • If there's room in your budget, hire someone to help set up, serve, and clean up afterwards.

Shower Ideas

  • Showers can be girls-only or coed.
  • You can hit a spa, park, or craft studio. Or break out and take a cooking lesson, go rock-climbing, or bird watching. Just take into account the age, interests, and abilities of all the guests.

Shower Power

  • Like many time-honored customs, the bridal shower is rooted in romantic legend and down-to-earth practicality. Some say it began as a Dutch village's generous response when a farmer refused to let his daughter marry a poor but deserving suitor. Others whisper of a conspiracy by the fondue pot industry. (We kid.)
  • The term "shower" might come from the Victorian custom of hiding presents inside a parasol so the bride would be showered with gifts when she opened it.

Game On

Play together, laugh together, and get the inside scoop from the bride's great aunt--bridal shower activities break the ice and give the party a lighthearted spin.

Veteran shower-goers know that you can have too much of a good thing, so limit the selection to one or two.

  • Whose Bride is This Anyway? How well do the guests know the bride or groom? The person who scores highest wins a prize.
  • Bouquet Bonanza. Guests compete to see who can create the most beautiful/amusing/thematic bridal bouquet using craft store materials supplied by the host: colored tissue paper, chenille sticks, floral tape, ribbons, etc. The event is timed and voting is by applause-o-meter.
  • Thanks for the Memories. Ask guests in advance to decorate a scrapbook page (mail blank pages with the invitations) illustrating a favorite memory of the bride or groom, a special childhood photo, or a recipe for a good marriage. Let each guest make a presentation, then bind the pages into an album. Have extra blanks and art supplies on hand for those who forget to bring a page.

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