Wedding showers are an attractive mix of practicality and fun. Not only do they get the bride and groom started with the basics they'll need for their home, but they're also a way to celebrate the couple and allow friends and family to meet and mingle before the big day. But for hosts, all the decisions, and the etiquette that surrounds them, can be a bit stressful. Follow these tips on how to throw the perfect wedding shower.
The rules of etiquette still apply, but have been relaxed a bit from the old days. "There was a time when it was considered a breach of etiquette for the bride's family to host her bachelorette party," says Claudia Lutman, event planner and owner of Claudia Lutman Events. The reason:It was considered a faux pas for the family to give the impression of soliciting gifts. "Nowadays," however, "a bachelorette party can be thrown by anyone except the couple," Lutman says.
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"Showers are usually very intimate affairs," says Lutman. Normally, she adds, the guest list includes family, close friends and assistants to the bride; the flower girl and her mother; any sister of the bride or groom; and the grandmothers of the bride and groom. As a general rule, any guests invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. An exception? Office Colleague Showers - Often, it's not possible to invite all of the bride or groom's co-workers.
Jack-and-Jill showers are also becoming more common, says Lutman. "Tradition once held that showering was a women-only affair," she explains. "Now, more brides are choosing to include their boyfriends, their friends and her family." Lutman is a big fan of such gatherings, not only because the groom's circle of friends and family is immersed in the fun, but also because the private showers lend themselves well to creative themes like "stock the bar" or "stock the box." tools".
According to Lutman, showers typically take place two to eight weeks before the wedding. Tradition holds that they take place in the host's home. But it's perfectly acceptable to choose an alternate location, says Lutman, such as a restaurant, country club, church or banquet hall.
A venue that speaks to the couple's shared interests or their history together can also be timely and appropriate. "Unusual sites are a great highlight, like horse racing tracks, bowling alleys, museums or a park," says Lutman. Just make sure these places are comfortable and don't cause undue hardship for guests.
Absolutely, says lutman. A theme gives the party extra focus and can be a fun way to tailor gifts to the specific needs and interests of the couple. "Some popular examples include kitchen, bathroom, housewares or lingerie showers," says Lutman. Honeymoon showers, garden showers, and gourmet food and wine showers can also be a hit. For themed gatherings, Lutman says, the couple can choose to register separately from their master wedding registry.
She cautions that while mentioning the shower theme on the invitation is fine, adding the registration information is not. “Include registration information, as well as color preferences, sizes, [or] a wish list of household tools or bar items in a separate insert sent with the shower invitation, but not in the invitation itself” , she says..
Invitations set the tone for the shower, so they're a host's first chance to set the mood and theme. Try to send them three to four weeks before the shower date. Although electronic invitations are becoming more common, Lutman feels that a mailed invitation is always best. Electronic versions often get caught in spam filters or don't reach recipients at all.
Food and drinks depend on the time of day, says Lutman. However, there's no reason you have to stick to the classic variety of finger sandwiches and petits fours, so feel free to expand. For a morning shower that ends at 11:30 am, Lutman suggests a breakfast menu of English tea with yogurt, granola, bagels, lox, muffins, pastries and mimosas or Bloody Marys plus punch, coffee and tea. For an evening shower, consider a dessert buffet. Mixed showers can include a cookout, clambake, or other casual meal.
Gifts should be opened when dessert is being served, or has been served, toward the end of the shower, says Lutman. The gift opening is the highlight of the event, so he doesn't want guests filling their plates at the food table or the host opening the door to greet guests while it's taking place..