wedding giftsA bridal shower is a party to outfit the engaged couples new home, and gives friends and family a chance to spend time with the bride before she starts her married life. Here are the who, whats, and whens . . .

WHO HOSTS? Friends of the bride who are in the wedding party, another couple, or even a male friend. The brides mother, sisters, or close relatives of the grooms usually dont do the hosting, to avoid the appearance of asking for gifts. They may help finance, or help organize however.

WHOS INVITED? Usually, only those who will be invited to the wedding, with the exception of office or club showers. Traditional all-women showers include guests from the brides and grooms families, but coed showers are becoming more popular as well.

WHEN IS IT HELD? At least two weeks before the wedding. Mail invitations or call guests at least two weeks in advance of the shower date. A post-wedding shower may even be more convenient for some, and is also acceptable.

WHAT HAPPENS? Gifts are the primary focus. Be sure to have someone on hand to help record gifts (for thank you notes). Ribbons and bows may be collected for practice bouquets for the rehearsal ceremony. Themes make the party special, and can vary from a honeymoon theme, to gardening, cooking, movies, patio party, picnic, or hobby themes.

Whats New, Whats Fun!

Co-ed showers are growing in popularity, and can ease the tension as the bridal party not only carries out their duties as attendants, but also has to get to know the people they are spending the day with. Break the ice early with a picnic, barbecue, ski weekend, beach party, or even a scavenger hunt. The better your bridal party knows each other, the more fun theyll have on your wedding day.

Whether co-ed or traditional women only, the bridal shower can be more fun with a theme. Make it a casino night, a pool party, or a beauty make-over. Gift themes are also fun and can be personalized for the bride. Have a Gardening Party for the bride with a green thumb, or a Library Luau for the bookworm.

Often the shower is a time when friends from all stages of the brides life meet for the first time. Make it a sharing time when each of her friends can share their fondest memories of the friendship theyve shared. Have each shower guest bring a favorite photo of a time or event they shared with the bride, and compile them in a special scrapbook as a heartfelt gift for her.