I must confess, most of my friends are past the wedding stage–although a handful are in the second marriage stage–but planning a wedding shower is one the most amazing things you can do for a friend and today there are so many more options for revelry than when I first got married. The list below includes some I have personally tried, but first a few questions to ask yourself:
– How adventurous is your friend?
– How many other showers will there be?
– What special interests or hobbies does the couple (or just your friend) partake in?
– Are you inviting family? How open-minded are they?
– Are you trying to make this a surprise?
This concept is right for the friend who is an extrovert, loves to belt one out, and has friends and family who will be good sports. The great thing about karaoke is that most places have private rooms that you can decorate and have some privacy so guests can feel comfortable letting loose. You can even set a theme for the songs you sing–80s love songs, songs from the year the couple was born–or just go with the flow. For party favors, earbuds or mini speakers are a cute idea. Party Favors for Everyone has these music themed selections and more at a variety of price points depending on quantity.
Don’t do this if your friend is easily embarrassed or hates to sing.
Lingerie Themed Shower
A boudoir theme can work for almost anyone–someone is getting married so lingerie will be useful–use the invite to temper how risqué the tone will be to your friends’ taste and the guest list. Depending on how daring you get, party favors can go demure and sensual (a scented candle) or exotic (edible undies, or not). Getting the gifting theme across to your guests won’t be not hard however you will probably want to include sizes on the invite, or if that would be embarrassing or sensitive for the honoree, just know them if people ask.
Don’t do this if you want to surprise. Asking for sizes is a dead giveaway. Also, don’t if there are any religious or moral beliefs that would make lingerie a no-no. But you already know that.
Cocktail Hour Shower
Do this for the spirit loving couple. Set the tone by offering a version of the guest of honors’ favorite concoction as a signature cocktail — even better come up with a fun name (mostly) everyone will get: Peg’s Fashionista Punch. Monogrammed cocktail napkins and votives can look chic and lend a sophisticated tone. For party favors, bottle stoppers, shot glasses or even a wine glass could be a nice remembrance. A variation on this is to go with a wine-only theme. When you send out invites, include a groovy blank mixology card for guests to fill out with their favorite drink recipe and have guests bring stemware or some accessory to accompany their card. At the party, make sure to stock a bar in case the guests of honor wants to test drive a recipe.
Don’t do this for non-drinkers or for a couple with many non-drinking friends and family. They won’t get into it.
Foodie Shower (aka Kiss The Cook Shower)
An epicurean enthusiast is sure to enjoy this kind of event. Similar to the Cocktail Hour Shower, your invite should include some instructions on what to do along with a blank recipe card. Gifts would match the recipe so a trifle recipe would have a trifle bowl, as an example. For favors, I love cookie cutters with a recipe, but if you wanted to be super Type-A, you could collect guest recipes in advance and compile a printed booklet for everyone to take home.
Don’t do for a couple more inclined to make reservations.
Jack & Jill Shower (or Jill & Jill or Jack & Jack)
While this kind of shower is best known as a Jack & Jill Shower, for me, the definition has broadened to mean any shower where both members of a couple are included since a couple is not just comprised of male and female counterparts. Make sure both individuals taste and styles are represented. This can be hard when one side’s family and friends are planning, and oversights are almost always unintentional. All it takes is simply asking. When it comes to gifts, in these instances when you are including two individuals as honorees, I think it’s often best to go with the registry unless there is an interest that is equally significant to both, like travel, golf or cooking.
Don’t do this if either individual does not want to participate. Nothing is worse than a bickering couple at their own shower. It’s also very hard to surprise one person let alone two, so I would stay away from the surprise dual shower. If you pull it off, I bow to you.
Honeymoon Themed Shower
Do this for a couple who has a honeymoon BOOKED and planned, and it’s NOT an all-inclusive. Let the destination set the tone. If its a cruise, get out the navy stripes. If they are going to Italy, serve bruschetta and antipasti. Hawaiian paradise bound, luau theme it is (sorry). For a fun favor idea look into luggage tags and make your invites look like passports. Gifts can either be so simple it’s embarrassing or really hard. If you are lucky the travel agent or property they booked will keep track of everything so just find out who the contact should be and put this information on the invite and guests can take it from there. I did this last year for friends who were got married and the property had a whole menu of options (everything from dinner to a day of pampering) that could be purchased in advance and it was amazing. Also, I would encourage group gifts–not on an invite, but you know how to work a party line. If this isn’t an option, go with their registry or other trip-themed gifts. You don’t want to play coordinator… Or just pick another theme.
Don’t do this as a total surprise. Travel takes some coordination, either with one of the mothers of the couple or by telling your bud. You need to know the travel point of contact, now is not the time to guess. Also, as mentioned, if they have booked an all-inclusive this won’t work.
Movie Moments Shower
The bestie who is a cinephile will appreciate this concept. Do it up with popcorn, a “red carpet” and show an indie “feature film” that’s either a video or video slide show of moments from the honoree’s life or tells the story of how the happy couple met. Get a list of guest of honors’ favorite movies (same number as you have attendees) and give each guest a movie that they have to come with a quote and find a piece of memorabilia from. At the party each guest will have to show their item and share their quote while everyone tries to guess what movie they got. As party favors, give DVDs of the honorees favorite movies.
Don’t try this with a uncooperative group, there is some level of “homework” invoked, which some will find fun, others may not.
What other themes have you tried or what to try?