16 Aug 2016
Traditionally, bridal showers are given by the maid/matron of honor, or close friend of the bride. It is not proper for an immediate family member of the couple to host the shower . To do so, would appear they were asking for gifts and is not in good taste. The party itself may be scheduled at any time convenient for the bride and her hostess, although the last week before the wedding is considered poor planning. There are so many last minute details, that a bridal shower would likely be more stressful than joyful.
Showers are known as parties with a purpose. The purpose of a shower is to assist the couple in equipping their new home or for the bride to assemble a trousseau. Bridal Showers today, often surround a particular party theme. Recipe showers, kitchen showers, bath showers, lingerie, linen and garden or camping showers…the possibilities are endless. As might well be expected, kitchen showers have long been the most popular shower theme, because of the endless range of paraphernalia every newlywed couple needs to set up housekeeping. Novice cooks, especially those who have never kept house before, need everything from pots and pans to mops and brooms. One variation of the kitchen theme has each guest including their favorite recipe, along with an item needed to prepare that recipe. As an example, a flour sifter or hand mixer with a cake recipe. Muffin tins alongside a recipe for pop overs. Rock salt, when giving an ice cream maker. Use your imagination. When requesting favorite recipes as part of the shower planning, it is a good idea for the hostess to send uniform, ready to use, recipe cards in the invitation. A recipe box is then given to the bride during the bridal shower, to begin assembling her favorite recipes.
Lingerie showers are a favorite of the bride, especially when she is honored with more than one party. Long, frilly, sexy nighties, baby doll pajamas, lacy bra’s and panties, one piece body huggers, are all terrific ideas for gift giving. Sewing accessories, closet or drawer organizers, certificates for special services, such as beauty treatments, hair care products or nail enhancement are also perfect gifts given at a lingerie shower.
It is the job of the hostess to plan a party that compliments both the theme and her guests. Be sure when several showers are planned, the guest list is different for each one so no one ends up feeling obligated to attend and buy several bridal shower gifts, as well as a wedding gift. When the bride lives in a small town or community it is considerate to suggest people join together to host one shower, rather than several small ones.
Bridal showers are almost always informal gatherings with a simple menu and often only include cake, mints and punch. The hostess issues invitations by telephone, mail, or in person. It is considered in poor taste to invite people who do not personally know the bride, although, they may be friends of her family or fiancé. However, etiquette for the 90’s allows exceptions to every rule. A shower may be the time, chosen by the mother of the groom, for instance, to bring family and close friends to meet her prospective daughter-in-law. Showers are not times to call in social obligations.
During the shower, games are played for fun and entertainment. You can find notebook style, pads of games to play at your local card shop or dream up your own. Ideas include, a small basket of kitchen utensils with 15 to 20 items, shown to the guests for 30 seconds, then removing the basket and asking them to write down everything they remember seeing. Writing the full, soon to be married name of the bride, across the top of a page, and seeing how many words can be made from the name in four or five minutes is another popular choice. Of course, in both instances, the person with the highest number wins the prize. Be sure to have a couple extra gifts on hand for those times when two or more are the winners. It is also fun to give each guest a clothes pin, to clip on their lapel, with instructions they are not to cross their legs during the party. If caught crossing their legs, the person catching them, gets their clothes pin. The one left holding the most pins at the end of the party, wins a prize.
One further point needs to be made concerning the guest list for a bridal shower invitation. The thoughtful bride, who has planned a formal wedding, also sees to it, if possible, that people not invited to the wedding, are not put in the position of being invited to a shower. Every guest will bring a gift. It would be in very poor taste to ask someone to bring a gift for a bride who has not chosen to invite that individual to her wedding.
Traditionally, bridal shower gifts are smaller and rather less expensive than wedding gifts. As a courtesy to family and friends, it is a good idea for the couple to register their preferences in the gift registry department of their favorite store. If you have ever tried to decide on just the perfect gift for someone, and didn’t have a clue as to their likes and dislike, you will understand the thoughtfulness of a gift registry. Be sure to include small, inexpensive items, such as kitchen towels, wooden spoons, or hot pads, as well as larger items, such as blenders, toasters, bread makers, and coffee machines. Elderly guests may be on a fixed income, and a very limited budget, but also appreciate knowing the gift they buy is something truly desired and appreciated. Thus, the purpose of registering small, inexpensive items.
And last, but hardly least, a mention of sending thank you cards, (also see “How to Write a Thank You Card”) must be included in our discussion of bridal showers. At one time, notes were not considered necessary when you thanked someone in person. Today, with showers being larger and guests busier, a personal note is the only way to make sure sincere appreciation is expressed. A unique idea for sending thank you cards begins as the guests arrive and register for a door prize by filling out her name and mailing address on “thank you” envelopes. The door prize winner is drawn at the end of the shower from the envelopes which are then given to the bride. This enables the bride to more quickly send out her thank you cards, and eliminates returns due to incorrect addresses.