A bridal shower is a bride-to-be's entrée into the world of wedded life.
But it need not be all about frying pans, multi-tasking and wifely duties.
Bridal showers are intended to celebrate the bride's life, both past and future.
And, a bridal shower will help prepare her for probably the most important roles in her life - wife and mother.
Organization and Bridal Etiquette:
The maiden or matron of honor is primarily responsible for hosting the gathering but with many women in the work force or at home with small children, the bridal shower can become a group-organized event.
Both maiden/matron of honor and one or two bridesmaids or a bride's close relative such as an aunt may throw the get-together. And depending on the size of the shower it may take more than one person to put together the festivities.
The home of the matron or maiden of honor is usually the primary location for most bridal showers, but a restaurant or a private club is also an appropriate location.
A shower should take place any where from a month to two months prior to the wedding date. Those invited to the shower do not necessarily need to be invited to the wedding itself. That may create some discomfort for some guests, or be a relief in that only one gift may be required of them.
Work colleagues, girlfriends, neighbors, relatives, female friends and relatives of the groom and mutual friends of both the bride and groom should be included on the shower invitation list.
Showers are primarily held during weekend days, but an early evening event may be acceptable for a working crowd. Plan for a two-hour event, but expect guests to leave once the cake is served.
While gift-giving is the primary attraction of the bridal shower, a variety of games may inspire guests to get involved.
Two truths and a lie:
When introducing each guest, ask them each to tell two truths and a lie after they have said their name. This is a very simple game that can get tongues rolling. For instance, Sally Jones, a neighbor of the bride, may say something as simple as "I live across the street. I have three cockatiels. I have one lizard and three snakes including a cobra." Then it's up to the remaining guests to decide which of these three items may be a lie. Even the most shy guest may feel comfortable. The truth is often funnier than a lie so be prepared for lots of hilarity.
Attach a long piece of paper to a clipboard. Ask the first guest to write a sentence about the bride and groom (ie. Mike and Nina passed by each other in the office.) Then the next guest writes a line of her own invention, such as (She looked like a mermaid, and Mike like a bear.) Then fold over the piece of paper so that only the previously-written line shows. Then pass it on to the next guest and ask them to write a line of their referring only to the line they see above for guidance. When the task is complete each guest should written one line and the piece of paper should be folded nearly accordian-style. Then open the piece of paper and read the haphazard poem line for line.
The price range of gifts may range from £10 to £40 to £50 depending on the guest who is doing the giving.
Guests who are invited to both the wedding and the bridal shower are not expected to give generously on both ends. The wedding gift should receive more attention than the bridal shower gift.
But even with a very small budget, a variety of gifts can be part of the fun. Gifts may range from feminine packages from a spa shop to household gifts or home furnishings gifts.
For spa-related gifts intended for the bride's relaxation, the Body Shoppe or even a cosmetics store such as Sephora may carry pre-packaged gift sets with luxurious lotions, scrubs and loofahs for a few minutes of indulging. With a little imagination and a colourful basket tied in pretty cellophane wrapping, the local drug store can be a source for your very favorite over-the-counter spa products such as Sarah Michaels products that include a heavenly milk and body cream with elements of cocoa butter and honey.
For household products, great source are party supplies shops and people who specialise in hen nights and In-home parties. A small appliance such as a Braun single-beater with a plug-in cord and removable beater is phenomenal £10 gift your bride will use over and over. A festive package of brightly-coloured kitchen towels and pot holders is still an appropriate gift and will be used by either the bride or groom, whomever cooks. Check with a close relative or the matron/maiden of honor to be sure the choice of colours coordinate with the couple's home.
For a small budget each can bring their own little themed gifts. Often, brides have already pre-registered at these retail stores, so you can pick from a list of items she and her groom have pre-selected. Target is also a great source for bridal shower gifts and offers a registry as well.
If the bride has a particular hobby, such as rock climbing, kayaking, golf or tennis, the choice of gifts widens.
Opening gifts should be the next to last event during the shower.
While the bride opens her gifts, it's appropriate for the matron/maiden of honor to take notes regarding the gift-giver's name and the gift given so that the bride may refer to it later when sending out thank you notes.
Gifts may either be passed among guests or set on a table for the guests to admire later.
Cake may be the most popular food choice, but should the timing of the event be closer to lunch, a morning brunch with muffins, baked goods and fresh fruit may also be appropriate. If the event takes place at a restaurant, the event may be catered as a buffet luncheon with a variety of salads and small sandwiches.