One of the biggest wedding trends is personalizing that big day. So why should bridal showers be any different? Here are some themes you may want to consider.
1. Rooms of the House
Designate specific rooms on the invitation and have guests buy gifts for those spaces. Whoever plans the shower (usually the bride’s attendants) should make sure they’ve got the entire house covered—from living room to laundry room—by inviting a few people to buy for each area. Sheryl Garman, president of Perfect Weddings in Berwyn, loves this theme—even for couples who’ve been living together for some time. “This is the perfect opportunity for them to replace that old toaster in the kitchen or get new china for the dining room,” she says.
2. Raise the Bar
Years ago, brides had “stock the pantry” bridal showers because they literally needed to stock their pantries—as many of them were moving from their parents’ homes to the place they’d share with their new husband. Guests would buy cookware and other kitchen supplies and even provide recipe ideas. These days, a modern twist on this notion is a “stock the bar” theme, perfect for the couple who met over Cosmopolitans and dirty martinis. Be sure to give eclectic barware, high-end liquor and, of course, a copy of each person’s
favorite drink recipe.
3. Heritage on Display
Here the bride’s ethnicity becomes the shower’s centerpiece. Say her mother hails from Hawaii—then her maids could plan a luau complete with pineapples, poi and leis. Another twist on this theme is to showcase the heritage of the honeymoon destination. “If they’re honeymooning in France, the shower will have a French menu; guests will give them travel maps and maybe gift certificates to their destinations, or buy them a guided tour,” says Garman. Or decorate with French flags (even put them on the invitations) and give guests berets to wear home.
4. 24-Hour Party People
Playing off the highly popular TV show 24, where each episode encompasses a 24-hour period, this “around the clock” kind of shower asks guests to buy gifts for different times of the day—whether it’s a waffle iron for breakfast or Egyptian cotton towels for bath time. “It’s something different, and it gives the bride more anticipation when she’s opening the gifts,” says Garman.
5. Home for the Holidays
This is all about getting the happy couple ready for their first Christmas or Hanukkah together. Whether it’s January or June, the shower space should be decked out as if it were December—complete with holly, lights and music. Gifts focus on the holidays, whether they’re ornaments for the tree or soy candles for the menorah. Place personalized Christmas stockings or bags of chocolate at each guest’s seat as a little something for them to take home.
6. Pajama Party
More like a pre-sleepover than a shower, held in the evening at someone’s home. Invitations (perhaps slipper-shaped) ask that guests arrive in their favorite PJs or comfy clothes. The night’s festivities should include all the things girls do when they get together for a sleepover—manicures, pedicures, facials and watching chick flicks. Try a menu of finger sandwiches and fruit, along with standards like popcorn and chips. Garman sees this as the perfect opportunity for giving lingerie and helping the bride build
7. Wine-Tasting Shower
Lots of couples are holding wedding receptions at wineries—and it’s a great location for a shower, too. It might include a tour of the facilities, along with a tasting. On the invite, suggest that guests buy items off the registry that are somehow related to wine appreciation—new stemware, a high-end corkscrew, a platter with a cheese knife.
8. Giving-Back Shower
Bridesmaids plan a charitable event that the wedding party, friends and family can all participate in—like building a home for Habitat for Humanity or working in a soup kitchen. Obviously, it’s more about giving back than getting gifts. Just be sure to finish up the day with a nice meal out for everyone. An excellent choice for the couple who does a lot of volunteering and doesn’t really need any traditional gifts to set up their home. Visit idofoundation.org for ideas on making the shower—or even the wedding—a benefit event.