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It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Well, friends, it’s that time: time to get learned about throwing an end-all shower, one that gets enjoyed, then talked about, then reattempted-but-never-quite-recreated.  What kind of shower, you ask?  As a wise lyricist once said, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”  And who are we to argue, really?  Let’s start with wedding-related showers and follow in Part 2 with baby showers.  On your marks, get set, celebrate!

Types of Wedding Showers and Parties

Weddings and the parties that proceed them are complicated affairs, no matter how “different” and “more laid back” the bride-to-be wants them to be.  Just consider the types and terms that describe a bunch of womenfolk getting together to get excited: you’ve got your wedding shower, your bridal shower, and your bachelorette party – three different names for three different fetes.  To clarify in simple terms, a wedding shower is about spatulas, and a bridal shower (a.k.a. personal shower or lingerie shower) is about sex.  A bachelorette party is about indulgence and varies in content depending on the bride’s idea of what indulgence is (food, drink, pampering, frivolity, what have you); it almost always takes place outside the house.  For our purposes here, we’ll focus on the showers.  And now that we’ve got that out of the way…

General Tips and Tricks for Wedding Showers and Parties

1. Make it ladylike.  What kind of lady is strictly up to you, but your shower or party should be saturated with girl power of some kind, be it contemporary, classic, rocker chick, vintage, urban, global, retro, or any other version that suits your bride.

2. Feel free to stray from the usual color palette.  Don’t get us wrong, we love us some pink, but Tiffany blue, white and gold, yellow, or a combination of brights work equally well.  Heck, pretty much any color works, as long as you use it in a girly way (brown ruffles, navy silk, red flowers).

3. Create a nice invite, preferably out of paper, that reflects the type and mood of the shower/party you’ll be throwing.  Here’s some wording we cooked up for a combination bridal shower and bachelorette party that goes a long way toward setting a clear mood, relaying useful information, and creating anticipation:

the bridesmaids present
A sassy lingerie shower and bachelorette rave for the bride-to-be
Act I……A private suite, a few questionable games, and oodles of naughty knickers
Act II….Painting the town rouge - dress to impress
Act III…Salon therapy in the wilds of downtown
WHEN: Wednesday, August 20th at 6 p.m., sharp
WHERE: the Marquette Hotel and surrounds
*juicy, personal details upon rsvp*

One last thing: just because you’re not a wordsmith, a graphic designer, or an independently wealthy heiress doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.  At bare minimum, pick a cute design from Paper Source or even Target; evites don’t cut it for a once-in-a-lifetime event.

4. Memorize and share this simple formula: good intentions + ambiguity = awkwardness.  The more bases you try to cover at a shower or party the fewer you will actually hit, so commit to doing one thing well.  Spatulas OR sex.  Family OR friends.

5. As it is commonly accepted that showers are meant specifically as occasions on which to give gifts, never invite guests to a shower or party that are not invited to the wedding, or you will communicate that the bride is hungry for gifts but is not willing to share the joy of her wedding day in return.  Inviting shower guests who are invited but unable to attend the wedding is okay if they are close friends of the bride.

Wedding Showers

As with any party, a shower needs a theme and a few basic elements that help play out that theme: food, decoration, music, and activities.  Since a wedding shower focuses on hearth and home, it’s a great shower to host in the daytime and can easily accommodate varying ages.  Loads of books and articles have been written on how to throw a wedding shower, and we won’t reinvent the wheel too much here, but we will say a few things.

1.  “Wedding shower” is not a theme.  “Paris Bistro” is.  “Roman Baths” is.  “Cocktail Hour” is.  You see how the theme can also narrow down the type of gifts guests bring?  Ah ha!  Find out what your bride wants or needs most, and tailor accordingly.  You can also use the theme to help bring focus to your shower activities and to inspire party prizes/favors – a gourmet food tasting, luxury lotions in trial size, a drink mixing contest.

2. Open the presents at the shower.  We’ve been to a few strange showers where the bride accepts the gifts to open at a later time, thus absolving her of having to be grateful, friendly, or mannered at her shower.  We’re just gonna say it: that’s ungrateful, unfriendly, and ill-mannered.  Gifts are the reason for and the highlight of a shower.  Period.

3. Don’t forget music.  As ever, your music should coordinate with the overall theme.  If you’re short on time or resources, at least make a playlist of girl groups and singers from music you already have, and give it a spin.

4. Throwing a shower is costly, but remember that a wedding shower is a very special occasion and that paying for it should be a group responsibility shared by the hosting party (bridesmaids, aunts, etc.).  The bottom line?  Giving a shower isn’t about the bottom line; it’s an opportunity to express love.  Aw.

5. Lots of people whine about games, but we’re thinking they wouldn’t if they knew playing them meant possibly winning a fabulous prize.  Don’t skimp.  And don’t be afraid to bribe your guests by letting them know exactly what’s at stake.

Bridal Showers

We must admit, we’re partial to these.  Whisks and napkin rings have their place, but some good, old-fashioned trousseau-building will win it for us every time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your best-ever bridal shower:

1. As with a wedding shower (or any party), a bridal shower needs a theme that goes beyond describing what type of party it is.  Take cues from the couple’s honeymoon destination, professions, or hobbies.  For example, if the two are heading to a rustic cabin, think “Sexy Seclusion.”  If the bride’s husband-to-be is a film editor,  a night of “Old Hollywood Glamour” may be in order.  A hobby musician might inspire a “Backstage Pass” party.

2. A bridal shower is perfect occasion to turn everything up a few notches and go way over the top with decorations.  Go ahead and hunt down a faux animal skin rug, pass out a few feather boas (easily obtainable at craft stores – look for the thickest ones), and whip up some mock backstage passes on lanyards for all the guests.

3. Remember to get decadent in your food and drink choices but to still carry out your theme.  A rustic cabin means gooey s’mores and Bailey’s-spiked cocoa, while an old Hollywood movie scene is set with champagne and oysters, and a backstage party needs bottles of Grey Goose and plate of gourmet burgers or Hostess cupcakes (late-night cravings!).

4. Check out our picks for sexy songs.

5. Believe it or not, there are a few fun games that work at a bridal shower and aren’t cheesy.  Bridal trivia with a personal twist is a great way to get things going.  Ask the bride (or the groom!) to divulge their celebrity crushes, favorite movie kisses, plans for wedding night attire, etc. and work the answers into a multiple choice questionnaire.  Get saucy with the wording if you’ve got language skills.  If not, there’s always pictures.  After everyone’s warmed up, try a matching game.  Print and cut out pictures of famously handsome eyes (Leonardo DiCaprio?), lips (John Mayer?), or other body parts (you tell us!) and race in teams to identify whose are whose.  If you and your guests are really brave, cap off the party with a lesson in burlesque.  Don’t forget to send home guests with a sassy reminder of all the fun they had.

Of course, the mood of a bridal shower can be anywhere from refined to risque; we favor an event that is sassy but still tasteful, but here’s a (home) safe and helpful site created by Frederick’s of Hollywood that gives more ideas all along the spectrum, as well as corresponding lingerie ideas.

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One Response to “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”

  1. This is such perfect timing – I just found out I’m going to have to think up a shower for a friend who’s getting married in two months! This article totally sparked my imagination.

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