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Hosting Showers: How to Host a Perfect Wedding Shower or Bridal Shower

Updated on May 4, 2015

Someone that you care about is about to make the plunge. You want to throw a shower for them but you're unsure of where or how to begin. Should you throw a bridal shower, that focuses directly on the bride-to-be, or should you host a wedding shower, where the bride and groom-to-be both attend and everyone is invited?

The Bridal Shower

A bridal shower focuses more on the bride-to-be, and usually a group of ladies attend to celebrate the upcoming marriage with gifts that are personal and/or practical.

The bridal shower is different than that of a personal shower or bachlorette party. Although personal items may be given, this is not the time to bring the lingerie or other things of that nature. Bring things that will be useful to her for her wedding or her new home.

The Wedding Shower

A wedding shower is in many ways like a reception. Both the bride and groom-to-be attend and family and friends are invited. The upcoming marriage is celebrated with or without games, may be formal or informal, and gifts are given that will be useful to the new couple once they're married.

What steps should be taken to make the perfect shower? By implementing certain tips, you can make sure it is a time of pleasant memory and useful gifting.

Perfect Planning

It is a good idea to plan everything out well ahead of time. Make several lists of the various steps in planning.

Of course the time and date will be the first thing to select. Make certain that it will be a convenient time for both bride and guests.

After the time and date are selected, make a list of everyone that you'd like to invite along with addresses and/or phone numbers and email. (Although a mailed invitation would be the nice way to go, it's okay to call or e-mail someone in a pinch).

Make lists of ideas of themes, decorations, and games and carefully choose the best.

Finally, go shopping and put your creative ideas in motion.


The theme of the shower will be the first thing to consider. Do you want a humorous shower with light-hearted fun? Do you wish to make an elegant choice and make everything pretty and dainty? When choosing the theme, keep in mind the personality of the bride and what you think she'd enjoy. And of course, your own personality. You'll be the hostess, so in order for your creativity to flow, you must choose something that suits you.

Here are a few ideas for some great themes.

  • The Traditional Theme In a traditional theme, you will basically have traditional-style decorations, foods, and games. It will much like a mini reception except for more focused attention and games. Hearts, love birds, a little two-tiered mini wedding cake are some examples of a traditional shower.
  • A Tropical Theme In a tropical theme, you would have decorations related to the tropics such as hibiscus arrangements, crepe or real pineapples, and faux palm trees. Serve lots of fresh fruit and fruit dip instead of cake or fruit with a chocolate fondue fountain.
  • Dinner Show Go to a restaurant or fix a grand meal. Recruit some actors and throw one or two comical skits on the life of a housewife or the newlywed couple.
  • Cooking Party This is great for the bridal shower. Get the seasoned wives together and let them teach the new bride a few tricks of the trade. Tell everyone to wear an apron and bring the ingredients to their favorite dish. Have each one buy new utensils, and dishes in which the food will be cooked, and write out the recipe on a card. Then, each person will show the bride how to make each dish. When the meal is cooked, then enjoy eating the meal together. After the meal is over, wash up the new dishes and utensils and present them to the bride as a gift along with a recipe box full of the recipes.

Decorations For The Shower

Decorations are an important part of a the shower. Choose decorations related to your theme and be creative. You should take extra care and preparation in this area since this often sets the mood for the entire atmosphere. Decorations can be found at party stores and hobby stores or you can even make your own.

  • Balloons These are a very common decorating choice. They are both fun and festive and come in about every color imaginable. If using balloons, try to think of new ways to use them other than sticking them around here and there. Try making bouquets, or large designs, such as columns or a giant heart. (See video below). Try mixing different sized balloons together, add some tulle or Christmas lights in with your design for a dramatic effect. You can make these yourself or you can order them custom made through a party supply store.
  • Florals Flowers are an elegant choice, and you may choose real flowers, or to save money, make silk flower arrangements. Sticking to a floral theme will make a better look. For instance, all rose buds for a dainty elegant look, a spring mix for a soft romantic scene or tropical flowers for a tropical theme.
  • A Photo Collage of The Couple Set up a collage of pictures of the couple with pictures ranging from birth to the present. This will be fun for everyone to view and reminisce. Also, a slide-show of photos is another option. This can be set to music and be showing on the wall during the whole shower. If the couple has their engagement photos back, set them around in pretty frames.
  • Lighting and Music These are a plus for certain themes. Soft candlelight, string lights (Christmas lights), or outdoor lamps for an evening outdoor shower are some considerations. Soft music playing low is also nice at times depending on which theme is chosen.
  • Store Bought Decorations Many hobby and party stores carry theme related decorations ready for purchase. Huge cardboard cut outs, table accessories, colorful plates and napkins, and helium tanks for balloons may be some of the things that you'll find at one of these stores.

Make A Lovely Balloon Heart


For extra pizazz, you should choose great games for your party. Skits and mini plays are always a fun alternative as well. Although games are a great plus, too many may take away from the purpose of the shower and guests may become bored or distracted. Two or three should be plenty.

Try picking at least one game that will actually be useful for the bride, such as collecting household tips from each guest and having the bride to pick her top two favorites to determine the winners.


Choosing the right refreshments are important when hosting a shower. Usually, this isn't the time to fix a potluck dinner. Easy and tasty appetizers are almost always an excellent choice. Make sure the table is set to fit the theme and is lovely and inviting. Set mints, candies and nuts around in pretty dishes. Make the cake (if there is one), the center piece for your table. Make sure there is plenty of room around the table for guests to walk and to snap pictures. If possible, have the gift table separate from the food.

Too many drink choices can become burdensome, so opt for neutral choices such as non-alcoholic punch and coffee. Serve the punch from a glass punch bowl or another attractive container. If none are available, keep the container out of sight while filling only the glasses. If you serve coffee, find the coffee drinkers and pour it fresh and hot for them.

Gift Ideas

As the hostess, you'll want to give the couple a nice, useful gift. After all, this is what a shower is for, right? If you don't want to give the traditional toaster, crock pot or can opener, then consider one of these gift ideas.

  • Grocery Shower If the wedding is really close, consider throwing a grocery shower. Have each guest to bring a sackful of useful grocery items that the couple will be able to use in their new home. If you don't want to devote the whole shower to a grocery shower but it's still something that you think that you might like to do, then buy a large laundry basket and fill it up with such things as laundry and dish detergent, matches, toothpicks, bath soap, toothpaste, cleaning supplies and anything else that will be useful. This will take a great expense load off of the new couple since these items add up quickly. Also, the bride may not think to shop for some of these items until she realizes she needs them and doesn't have them!
  • Money Tree These are more fun than putting money into a card. Get a small branch and make leaves for your tree by folding bills into fan shapes. Attach the "leaves" to your "tree" with pretty ribbon. Finally, sit the branch into a weighted-down base such as a large coffee cup filled with pennies. You can also throw a "money shower" and have the guests to add their own leaves to the tree!
  • Visa Gift Card These will be handy for the new couple since they can use the funds to purchase their exact needs. You pick the sum of money and the couple can use it for last minute wedding items, decorations for their new home or even their honeymoon!

  • Family Heirloom Give the happy couple something to pass down to the generation that their love will begin. A handmade or professionally made quilt is an excellent choice for a family heirloom.
  • Wedding Scrapbook Supplies Help preserve their special day by giving several wedding scrapbook supplies.
  • Time Capsules Fill a capsule with lots of memorabilia from the year they got married and present it to them to put up or to bury if they wish. They will love to look back on how the times have changed once they become grandparents!


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    • blessedmommy profile imageAUTHOR

      Carisa Gourley 

      10 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      You just advertised it.

    • profile image

      Tammye Jefcoat 

      10 years ago

      How can I get my website service advertised on your blog? Please email me at or call me at 601-383-0833. I have an awesome service for brides and I hope that you will check it out and contact me. Thanks and I hope to hear from you.


      Tammye Jefcoat


    • mandybeau profile image


      11 years ago

      Gee out here we have things called Hens Nights, the bride gets off her face,and her husband to be is usually misbehaving in a seedy nightbar.

      This one is way better than the Banquet



    • blessedmommy profile imageAUTHOR

      Carisa Gourley 

      12 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Congratulations to your niece, G-Ma!  My brother will be getting married in April.   Can't start too early with the preparations! 

      Singingmommy, I agree that marriage should be a one time event.  So why not make it special?

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      12 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Wonderful Hub! Great Ideas! Marriage should be a one time even so I love to see people make it special and memorable:.)

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      12 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      wow my neice is getting married in Sept. and we are all a hub bub with ideas...this came in so handy..Need to go over it again though...more slowly And WRITE DOWN SOME OF THE IDEAS I LIKED...SEEING IF SHE DOES??? Thank You sweetie  G-Ma :O) hugs


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