According to popular belief, the tradition of the bridal shower began when a disapproving father wouldn't provide a dowry for his daughter's marriage with a fellow he didn't care for. The friends and family of the bride then decided to chip in and give her all the housewares that she would need to start a home, from the kitchen to the bedroom. Now, it's not uncommon for the bride-to-be to receive gifts of all kinds from lingerie to bath and body products and gardening tools to a day at the spa. Most often, the gifts are chosen from the couple's gift registry, however, theme showers give guests the option of buying her things she wouldn't traditionally expect or ask for. Gifts aside, showers give the bride a chance to spend quality time with her family, and friends
Traditionally, showers were hosted by non-relatives, since it was considered tacky to ask for gifts for your own daughter or sister. Nowadays, however, showers are usually hosted by the maid of honor or the bride's family, especially since the bridal party may be spread out across the country.
If you are the maid of honor and/or are planning the shower for the bride, keep in mind that it is wise to discuss your plans with the bride prior to setting anything in stone. Consult with her about what you had in mind, including the date, time, location, theme, and guest list. This is important for various reasons. First, the bride may already have plans for other showers or wedding-related events. She may also need to make sure certain people are invited and that those people can attend. You cannot hold a shower on a date that her mother, sister, or grandmother cannot make. However, having these family members in attendance may exclude the option of a lingerie party. It all depends on her personality and tastes. Lastly, it's best to have a pre-shower planning chat so that if there are to be two showers, each one can be different.
The Where and When
* As far as the date goes, showers usually take place between two to six weeks prior to the wedding. They can occur the same week as the wedding if need be (a possibility when important guests have to come in from out of town) or as far in advance as six months.
* The shower may occur at any time of day as long as it is convenient for the bride, though morning brunches, afternoon teas and luncheons, or late afternoon parties are most common. Make sure that the time of day suits the shower style and those attending. Don't schedule a late-night bar crawl shower if grandma is expected to attend.
* Where the shower takes place is again up to the bride and whomever is hosting. An inexpensive option is to host in someone'sspellerr home. However, that entails decorating, cooking, and cleaning up. You could eliminate the need to cook and have the food catered. If that's within your budget and you're able to spend more, you may want to consider having the shower in a restaurant. You'll surely pay extra but you'll also cut out the cooking, clean up, and decorating.
Gifts and Guests
Each guest should bring something that either: fits the shower theme, is chosen from the gift registry, or is something that the guest knows the bride would like. If the bride is being given two showers, those guests invited to both are not expected to give more than one gift unless she chooses to.
When it comes to the guest list, usually everyone invited to the shower must also be invited to the wedding. Therefore, verify that the list includes all female members of the wedding party (bridesmaids, flower girls), close friends, and family members of the bride.
Make sure to send invitations to the guests well in advance. You may also choose to call or email guests. All those invited should reply by no later than a week prior to the shower. Regardless of how guests are invited, be certain to include the following information: date, location, theme (if applicable), RSVP deadline, and the host's contact information. An enclosed map with directions is often recommended as well.
As a thank you for attending, guests usually receive bridal shower favors. Some great finds below.
For more favor ideas, check out the wedding favors guide.
There are a variety of fun themes to use for a bridal shower. Some include:
* '''Room of the House''' -- You choose a room of the house, such as the bathroom, and guests only buy gifts for or related to that room.
* '''Around the Clock''' -- Each gift is meant to reflect a certain time of day. Note that these must be assigned to people beforehand. For example, someone starts with 7am and offers a coffee maker and the last person is 10pm and gives pajamas.
* '''Lingerie Party''' -- Everyone buys the bride lingerie.
* '''Garden Party''' -- So the bride has a green thumb or aspires to? Supply her with all the gardening tools she'll need to make her garden grow.
* '''Stock the Kitchen''' -- Each guest gives the maid of honor a favorite recipe and she compiles the recipes into a folder or book. Then each guest brings a basket full of the ingredients needed for her recipe.
* '''Christmas Shower '''-- Perfect for winter weddings. Everyone brings a Christmas ornament.