Let’s be clear. A shower can be fun. It can have good food. But the real purpose is to collect gifts for the bridal couple. But hats off to those who make the effort so the occasion will be fun for the guests.
Keep it short. A daytime shower of two hours is long enough.
Keep it lively. Serve a drink as people arrive. Play a short game immediately so people will relax and get talking to the stranger sitting beside them. Serve food if it is a mealtime shower as soon as possible. Open the gifts. It’s over.
Let’s clear the air about who may host a shower and who should not.
The purpose of a shower is for friends to literally shower the bride or the couple with gifts to help them start their married life. It is a blatant grab for gifts, and that’s fine. That’s the purpose of a shower.
Because it is a gift-grab, the shower should not be hosted by the parents or obviously the couple themselves. The invitation to the wedding invites the giving of a major gift, and it is considered greedy to host a second event, the sole purpose of which is gift-giving.
The best woman, together with the bridesmaids, usually host a shower.
An aunt or friend of the parents sometimes hosts a shower, inviting friends of the parents.
The office or workplace often gives a shower for a fellow employee.
Parents may supply names and addresses of those who are to be invited. And a mother who loves to bake or cook may offer to contribute her kitchen goodies.
Mothers should, however, take a back seat at the shower itself and be a guest.
Some women love great lingerie. If the bride is one of those women, she’ll love a lingerie shower.
It may make sense to collect money ahead of time and have one or two people do the shopping to avoid duplication. Her best woman, being the closest to her, is a good choice for the shopping, because she will know her friend’s taste.
Room Assignment Shower
Assign each guest a room, and each can choose a gift that contributes to the furnishing of that room (ideally making their choice from the couple’s registry).
Have each person attach a poem about why that room is special.
A small appliance for the kitchen, towels for the bathroom, placemats for the dining room, ash tray for the living room (does anyone still smoke?), pillow slips for the bedroom…the list is endless and the poems create a little fun during the gift opening.
A honeymoon stag-and-doe event may hit the nail on the head. If the couple has registered with a travel agent, this will be a gift they will appreciate.
Couples might want to check out a Web site: honeymoonguestbook.ca, where couples can register their honeymoon details and guests may view their page and then purchase pieces of their honeymoon for them.
Throw the stag-and-doe party in the theme of the honeymoon destination, and have guests come dressed for the honeymoon venue
This is a popular choice for a shower because the gift options go on and on, from small appliances to cookware, bowls, tea towels, drinking glasses to kitchen staples to stock a cupboard.
Ask each guest to attach their favourite recipe to their gift.
(There definitely will be someone whose recipe card will give the phone numbers of all the local restaurants!)
Great Food Ideas
A shower for women can serve daintier foods than would be served for a stag and doe.
Most women love an old-fashioned afternoon tea with small, fancy sandwiches, a tray with miniature desserts (such as small fondant cakes and tiny tarts) and a variety of special teas.
Remove crusts on bread. Spread each slice with cream cheese. Lay a cooked asparagus stalk on the bread and then roll it. Put under the broiler for a moment or two before serving to toast the bread.
Spread with cream cheese. Place olives across the bread and roll. Then roll each sandwich in plastic wrap so it will hold its shape and refrigerate. (Make these a day ahead of time.) After removing from the wrap, cut each roll into four individual sandwiches.
Make the same rolled sandwiches as above, but spread with paté and use gherkins.
Cut round bread shapes with a cookie cutter and serve open-faced and heap with shrimp, lobster or crab mixed with celery, green or red pepper, and a light mayonnaise.
Stag & Doe
A stag-and-doe party is usually in the evening and calls for heartier food. A barbecue suits almost everyone. So does a hearty chili or lasagna with garlic bread and a big vegetable salad. See that the beer and wine flows, and that there’s lots of music.