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The Bridal Shower . . . an age-old tradition

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The rush and whirlwind of pre-nuptial parties are the events which usher the bride and groom into their world of wedded bliss. Long before the bride and groom get ready to walk down the aisle, the excitement of parties begins. Here are some ideas, both new and traditional and some rules, both standard and innovative that will help to get you, the bride and groom through this wonderful phase of your lives without losing friendships and making enemies.

What is the Origin of the Bridal Shower?
The bridal shower has its roots in the traditional bridal dowry. In some countries, the bridal dowry still exists and is a necessary prerequisite for any young lady to becoming married. In years gone by, if a young woman found herself without an adequate dowry and the basic necessities to start her own home, her sympathetic friends would "shower" her with enough gifts to enable her to set up housekeeping.

Who Throws the Bridal Shower?
Bridal showers were traditionally thrown by the close friends of the bride, rather than by family member, so no one would think, heaven forbid, that the family was "begging" gifts for the prospective bride. Immediate members of the family, bride's or groom's, should not give the shower. This includes mothers, grandmothers, sisters. Aunts, cousins, members of the bridal party, coworkers and friends are appropriate hostesses.

Are Showers for Women Only?
Today, the traditional, all-female wedding shower is being stretched to include the guys as well, perhaps because men are taking more and more interest in the home and in setting up housekeeping. For information about Coed Showers Click Here. There is also nothing wrong, for example, of the ushers or a close friend cannot give a shower for the groom. A bar, workshop, or sports shower would be a most appreciated gesture.

How Many Showers are Appropriate and What Size Should They Be?
Most rules of etiquette suggest that the number of showers be limited to two. This avoids overloading the potential gift-givers with obligations that become just too expensive. A new custom of making a huge shower and inviting all or most of the wedding guests is in really poor taste. Members of both families (including the moms on both sides) may attend, as well as the attendants, including junior bridesmaids and the closest friends. The number of showers and the size of the showers should be limited to spare the bride's friends' pocketbooks. A shower is supposed to be an intimate affair for close friends and family. Anything else really does ruin the charm.

When Should a Shower Be Scheduled?
Showers should be schedules at least two weeks before the wedding date and as far in advance as the party-giver wishes.

Should the Shower Be a Surprise?
Traditionally bridal showers were supposed to be a surprise, but more often than not, they weren't. In truth, the party probably will be much more organized and much more fun if the hostess can discuss the guest list with the bride. In this way, if there is more than one shower, the bride can divide the guests into good mixes of people and avoid the need to "over-give."

What Are the Different Kinds of Wedding Showers?
The kinds of wedding showers today vary from the traditional ones of years ago. Today, pretty much anything goes . . . Sunday afternoon picnics, pool parties, brunches and barbeques are all acceptable. The favorite of brides still seems to be the weekend brunch. The only thing to remember is that the shower should be kept informal and that the gifts are appropriate to the crowd. No lingerie please at his and hers showers. Coed showers change the gift parameters a bit and allow both male and female-oriented items.

There are as many shower themes are as there are creative party planners. Kitchen showers are probably the most popular, especially for a couple just starting out together. For couples who have already set up a home or apartment, a "service shower" with gifts of redeemable coupons (an afternoon of yard work, staining the deck, refinishing "grandma's" rocker, etc.) is an excellent idea. Of course, the more traditional Tuperware, pantry or recipe showers are equally as delightful. In some parts of the country, pottery studios are popping up. These allow shower guests to make a set (or a part of a set) of dishes or mugs or platters, with the bride present to choose the pattern and style. Add snack or lunch and this is a wonderful way to spend a pleasant afternoon together.

Just keep in mind that the shower should try to reflect the personalities of the couple. If, for example, the bride and groom are outdoor enthusiasts, sporting goods night might be the most appropriate theme. For the couple who likes to entertain, gourmet foods and wine would be most welcome. If it's your luck to be able to plan a shower, feel free to be as creative and innovative as you would like.
As with every one of the events and factors that become part of the wonderful "We're Getting Married" puzzle, it's important always to keep in mind the objective. In the case of the many options for pre-wedding parties, the idea is to have fun and celebrate the happy occasion with friends and family. Formality may be pushed aside, but proper rules of conduct to ensure that nobody's feelings are hurt, always hold true.
Have Fun and Happy Partying!

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