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A Bridal shower is typically a time the female (not always just female) friends of the bride to get together and celebrate with the bride. Most of the time the bridal shower is organized by the maid of honor (often the sister of the bride). This is the tradition, but often bridal showers can be organized by families or other friends of the bride. If you are the maid of honor, you will definately want to ask other friends and family for help in the planning process. In terms of deciding who to invite to the bridal shower, you should definately invite female friends of the bride. In addition, family members or relatives should be invited as well. In terms of the timing of the bridal shower, the bridal shower can be anywhere from a couple of months before the wedding to a couple of days before. It really depends on which time is best for all of the interested people. It is also possible to invite mail friends. However, be aware if you do decide to make it a coed shower, it will probably be more like a party or barbeque rather than a traditional shower. This decision should generally be made with the knowledge of the bride and what here preferences would be in mind.

Bridal showers, unlike bachelor parties, are often a lot more formal and can require a little bit of planning. It is popular to have the shower on a weeknight, but this is not a requirement. One difference between a bridal shower and a bachelor party, is that invitations are usually sent out. These invitations should be sent out about 1 to 2 months before the event to ensure that all prospective guests have an opportunity to receive them and reply. Each invitation should have the name of the bride (guest of honor), the location (address) of the shower, the day and time, the name of the hostess, and the date and instructions to RSVP. In addition, the if there is a particular theme, you should include it in the invitations so that the guests will be prepared. Moreover, if the couple has selcted colors that they will use to decorate their home, you should include these to assist gusts in picking out a gift. It is customary for guests to bring a gift for the bride. Sometimes this gift will depend on the theme, other times it will depend on the colors or both. A "suprise" shower will can require more planning. This will often involve assistance from friends or family members.

The typical events that occurr during the shower are:
  1. Guests arrive: you may want to sever snacks or light appetizers, depending on the time of the day.

  2. Introduction: the guests should introduce themselves to each other and tell people their relationship to the bride. Obviously this order will be different for a surprise shower.

  3. Icebreakers / Games: usually the next item on the agenda is games or icebreakers. These will typically be interactive games that encourage participation from all guests.

  4. Meal: If the shower is at lunch or dinner time, there is often a meal servers. Buffet Style is the most popular way to serve meals.

  5. Gifts: The bride will now typically open up her gifts. Depending on the # of guests, this process can take a while. It is wise to have a system and a person that writes down who the gifts are from.

  6. Hang out time: Be sure to allow some social time for people to chat.

  7. Say goodbye: Say farewell to guests and distribute party favors (if applicable)
The next key to planning a good bridal shower deals with bridal shower themes. A bridal shower doesn't have to have a theme, but most do. The following chart provides an overview of some themes and provides a brief description for each theme:
  • Alphabets: Each guest will receive a letter in their invitation and needs to bring a gift starting with that letter of the alphbet. This process provides additional excitement when opening wedding gifts.

  • Cooking: Each guest should bring one or more recipes along with a kitchen item for a gift that would be used to make that particular recipe. Each recipe can be added to a box and then given to the bride as a group gift.

  • Kitchen: each guest would bring an item that would be used in the kitchen.

  • Barbeque: Everyone brings a gift related to a barbeque. This theme would be appropriate if the grill was being used to cook food for guests and the bride and groom enjoy grilling.

  • Rooms: every guest will be assigned one of 5 rooms in a house. Each guest will need to bring a gift related to the room that they have been assigned.

  • Entertainment: Guests will bring a gift like sports tickets, theater, or hobbies.

  • Sports: Guests will bring gifts related to sports and fitness.

  • Office: Every aspect of the shower will have an office theme. Gifts would be items that would include office supplies, desks, lamps, etc.

  • Around the World: Provide gifts, food and activites from different countries around the world.

  • Love / Romance: This theme is a common one and gifts would include heart items, chocolates, and other items associated with love.

  • Memories: Everyone would bring a gift along with a photo or story from the bride's past. This can be an effective way of planning the bridal shower.

  • Upper Crust: This would include gifts and activities related to luxury (body lotion, jewelry, etc).
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