Showers have come a long way since the old days of making sure the poor "lovebirds" started out with all the necessities they needed in their home. I've started out below with traditional ideas then went into some more modern shower alternatives.
TRADITIONAL WEDDING SHOWER
A traditional shower is female only with just close friends and relatives in attendance. The party generally takes place at a relative’s home, whoever has the largest living room or garden. A party room may be rented if a larger area is needed. Tea time or lunch gatherings are common, with finger foods and light appetizers being served. Games are pretty standard with rowdy stories, strong cocktails, and naughty games being left out. Think tea, cake and grandmother friendly festivities.
Who is invited?
Mother of the bride and groom
Grandmothers of the bride and groom
Sisters of the bride and groom
Close aunts, cousins, and nieces
All female attendants
Close female friends of the bride
Close female friends of the groom
The bride and groom’s father might be invited depending on the bride’s preference. Traditional bridal showers often extended invitations to fathers so they didn’t feel left out and they would usually make a brief appearance then gracefully bow out early.
This is the “naughty” version of the traditional female only shower. Guests are asked to bring gifts of lingerie and accessories (think massage oils) that the bride can wear or use on her wedding night and honeymoon. This version is sometimes called a fantasia or fantasy party and is almost always much more comfortable if the “boys” are excluded!
The lingerie theme usually carries over to creatively shaped cakes, eye popping decorations, crude jokes and a lot of laughs shared amongst friends. And don’t think the older crowd can’t have fun too – they have years of experience to draw from!
These showers focus more on hands-on fun rather then a mountain of gifts. Below are some popular outing for the girls. Since activity showers are so expensive the host typically requests in the invitation that each guest pay for their own participation plus a little extra to cover the bride and a gift. Any food or drinks are generally covered by the bridal party or whoever is hosting the shower.
Some ideas for this type of shower:
*Dance Lessons: Hire a coach to teach a few moves in salsa, jazz, tap, ballroom or belly dancing. Pole dancing has also become huge lately for female get togethers as well as working out. An added bonus in this is watching everyone break out into their new moves during the wedding reception! Excluding the pole dancing we hope!
*Cooking Lessons: Hire a local chef to teach everyone how to make a tasty dish, or visit a local culinary school and take a group lesson. Afterwards everyone can site down and enjoy the food they've prepared! I have a friend who did this, she found a local chef to come to her home and we really had a blast. Go to Hire a Chef to find a local one.
*Bartending School: hire a professional bartender to teach guests how to mix signature cocktails. Of course everyone gets to try them and who knows - you may invent a signature drink for the wedding since signature drinks are definitely IN !!
*Spa Outing: Gather all the girls for an afternoon of pampering at the local spa. To keep costs reasonable book smaller treatments such as manicures and pedicures. The extra money collected is usually used to cover the cost for the bride and the leftover is used to purchase a gift certificate for a couples visit after the wedding - typically a massage.
*Psychic Readings: Another one I've done personally and highly recommend. It is very entertaining at the least and makes for great conversation afterwards! The reader can predict what sort of love-filled adventures is in store for all the guests or any other options your own reader comes up with.
**Wine Tasting: hire a local sommelier (wine connoisseur) and have each guest bring a regional wine as their shower gift. Provide cheese, crackers, grapes and strawberries and then crack open the bottles and try each vintage!
Locate a professional by calling local wine bars and asking for recommendations.
Or, contact a sommelier from a favorite restaurant whose advice you trust.
If your first choice isn't available, they likely know someone who might be right for the job.
COUPLE’S WEDDING SHOWER
Couple’s showers are a great option and more common now. Co-ed showers, often called “Jack and Jill” parties, give the groom a chance to receive male friendly gifts. He’s getting married too after all!
A coed shower is often more relaxed than a traditional one and often take the form of a backyard barbecue or a happy hour gathering with cocktails. The main purpose of the party is to shower the couple with gifts, but the focus is on the couple instead of just the bride.
Jack and Jill’s are commonly held at a friend’s home, a bar, a trendy club or restaurant. They offer a great chance for everyone to socialize and get to know each other before the wedding. The games played are generally very interactive and tend to pit the girls against the guys. It is best to keep the sexual overtones to a minimum at this type of gathering.
Avoid surprising people that are expecting a more traditional shower by indicating on the invitation that this is a co-ed shower. When they come prepared it will make for a more relaxed and fun atmosphere.
The guest list is exactly the same as the traditional shower except add male friends and relatives as well. A co-ed shower ends up larger than a traditional shower so the cost is usually shared amongst all wedding party members.