On May's Show: Throwing a Fabulous Bridal Shower!

Most women will, at some point in their lives, be involved with a bridal shower! Whether giving one or receiving one, the bridal shower is a traditional right of passage for many women. The good news is that throwing a bridal shower for someone special in your life can be lots of fun and a wonderful memory for both you and the bride. If you couple the "basics" with a little creatitvity, you'll have an event you can be proud of!

Here are some tips:
Consult with the bride. This is no time for surprises. Letting the bride know of your intentions to throw her a shower will help to avoid conflicts with other showers she may be having and guest list duplication.
Choose a theme. Kitchen, Lingerie, Tool & Garden, the options are limitless.
Determine your "guest group". Family, Friends, Work colleagues, etc. Knowing what type of group to expect will help you determine which "themes" are appropriate. (i.e. Great-Grandma Betty may or may not feel comfortable at a lingerie shower!)
Get Organized. Keep a notebook for tracking all your important information such as the guest list, addresses, the menu, decorating ideas and to-do list. (Use this notebook to record the gifts given by each guest at the shower. You can later tear out those pages to leave them with the bride to help her complete her thank-you notes).
Make it a Team Effort. Making the shower a group effort is a fantastic idea. Delegate various cooking and decorating tasks to others so all of the burden will not fall on you. If one friend has a flair for flower arranging, then put her in charge of the floral decorations. Another friend could do the invitations, while another loans her fine china and silver for the event. Four, five, or six heads really are better than one!
Avoid corny bridal shower games. Not all games are created equal. While most bridal shower guests may balk at some traditional bridal shower games ("Guess how many beans are in the jar" or "Memory Game"), there are some engaging and meaningful games that can add fun to your shower. If your shower is taking place outdoors, how about a game of crochet or bocci? (These games can be played even if your guests are wearing skirts.) What about a trivia game based on fun & interesting facts about the bride and groom? (You may have to interview close friends and family to get your trivia facts). This can be hilarious!
Fresh Flowers, Music, and Lighting. These 3 factors will do the most to create a beautiful party atmosphere. Pull out some Christmas lights and use them indoors or out. It's amazing how those twinkling lights can create a festive mood!

Four Bridal Shower Theme Ideas:

1. Classic Shower Brunch for Family and Friends
This is the time to pull out the fine china, silver and crystal - or borrow it from a friend! Don't forget the fresh flowers! A delicious quiche, hashbrown casserole, fresh fruit, bluberry muffins and orange juice spritzer makes a fabulous brunch. Try setting the table with baby pictures of the bride and groom - what a conversation starter!

2. Ladies' Picnic in the Park
Imagine a beautiful day at the local park - or your own backyard! Quilts on the ground, scattered with large throw pillows set the scene for a fabulous and unique bridal shower. Lunches can be packed individually in delightful small baskets (which can serve as party favors). Some menu ideas include chicken salad on croissants, fruit kebobs, sweet potato chips, and cupcakes (no untensils needed!) Here's a great idea for serving the sweet iced tea: Pour the tea into individual mason jars, close tightly with the lids and add to the baskets. The ice can be added later. (Be sure to bring extra tea for refills).

3. Girlfriend's Spa and Slumber Shower
It's a Girls' Night!! Have your guests arrive in their favorite pajamas and enjoy an evening designed especially for the girls! The bride-to-be will ecstatic to have special time with her best girlfriends. An excellent party favor would be some flip-flop slippers. Be sure to have plenty of chocolate on hand, as well as a great chick-flick! Manicures, pedicures - even mud masks - will make the evening one to remember!

4. Couples' Home and Garden Backyard Cookout
Include the guys in this shower! Now that many of the home improvement stores offer wedding registries, many grooms are not balking at the idea of attending a wedding shower - especially if it is a cook out with some hearty food involved! Fire up the grill and serve up some hefty hamburgers. Some good ol' potato salad and fresh veggies will keep everyone happy. And don't forget dessert!
A homemade cherry or apple cobbler with ice cream will round out your delicious meal. Try a game of trivia based on "fun facts" about the bride and groom (the families of the wedding couple can be a great source of information for your trivia - just make sure it's not too embarassing!)