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How to plan a home wedding shower

© / Bob Thomas © / Bob Thomas

Michelle Ullman

The wedding shower is an occasion for fun and the enjoyment of friends and family, along with the practical nature of “showering” the couple with household items to get their lives together off to a great start. An at-home wedding shower is a great way to keep costs down, create an intimate setting and tailor the event into a celebration everyone will enjoy.

A wedding shower is usually held between two months to two weeks before the wedding, and invitations should be sent out at least two weeks before the shower, so you need to plan well in advance. Showers are most often afternoon events, with brunch or lunch being especially popular.

At-Home Wedding Shower Menu Ideas

If you are hosting a brunch or lunch shower, stick with tried-and-true, delicious brunch favorites, like:

Vegetable frittata
French toast
Chinese chicken salad
Potatoes O'Brien
Finger sandwiches
Deviled eggs
Fruit salad
Pasta salad
Stuffed mushrooms
Cheese with crackers
Iced Tea
Mimosa cocktails

If you want a themed shower, get input from the bride, and be sure to indicate the theme on the invitations. A well-chosen theme can take your shower from ho-hum to a great party, and makes it easier to plan. Decorate to correspond with your theme, and work the concept into any shower games or activities. Some themes are essentially gift-giving ideas; some are activities for the partygoers to enjoy.

Home Wedding Shower Activities, Themes & Gift Ideas

Floral Arrangements: For a fun, creative and unusual wedding shower activity, hire a floral designer from a local florist shop or nearby vocational school that offers floral design, and have them present a hands-on course in floral arranging at your shower. Have guests bring a vase to the party, and they will each go home with their floral arrangement.

Around the Clock: In this classic wedding shower theme, you assign each guest a time of day that they use to pick a shower gift that would be used by the bride at that time of day. For example, a guest assigned “8 a.m.” might give a toaster. A guest assigned “9 p.m.” might give a gift of sheets or a comforter. Give the guests their assignments well ahead of time, and be sure they are clear on the concept. To make it easier, you can assign blocks of time, instead of specific hours, with labels such as “late morning,” “weekend,” “nighttime” and “lunchtime.”

Henna Tattoo: Elaborately designed henna tattoos on hands and feet have been traditional for Indian brides for centuries, and your guests can enjoy this tradition too. You can likely find a henna artist in your area by calling local beauty supply shops, tattoo parlors or looking online. It takes a week or more for henna to fade away, so if you want the designs gone before the wedding, this shower needs to be at least two weeks before the big day.

Photo Booth: With family and friends gathered in one location and already in a playful mood, a photo booth is a great chance for wonderful snapshots. You can rent a photo booth and photographer for the event, or set up a backdrop of your own, provide a selection of props such as hats, scarves, silly dress-up items, costume jewelry and faux facial hair, and position your camera on a tripod to avoid blurred pictures. Take group shots, individual pictures, and shots of the bride with her family and friends. A mixture of serious and silly shots will be the most fun, and everyone will treasure photos of the day.

Entertaining: If the engaged couple loves to entertain, showering them with gifts to establish their home bar will be much appreciated. Gifts of wine, glassware, a blender, a bartender's guide, bar accessories such as corkscrews, wine aerators, bottle openers or wine charms, and bottles of fine spirits will help get the soon-to-be-married couple ready for their first cocktail party as husband and wife. The theme can also recreate a girls' night out with cocktail glasses, sparkles and restaurant style appetizers.

Bed and Bath: A young couple just starting out will benefit from a bed and bath theme. Guests will shower them with everything they need for a well-stocked kitchen and linen closet. Kitchen appliances, dishware, silverware, glassware, serveware, towels, bed linens, bathroom accessories and bathrobes are all good gift ideas for this theme.

Cupcakes: You might think of cupcakes as a child's party theme, but don't underestimate the appeal of these tasty cakes. Have a cupcake-decorating theme, and watch your guests laugh and have fun. Bring out trays of baked, unfrosted cupcakes in a variety of flavors, and provide several types of frosting, sprinkles, small candy toppings, chopped fruit and nuts. Have plenty of table space and trays so the guests have room to spread out and decorate their cupcakes.

Honeymoon Travel: If the engaged couple have a big honeymoon planned, gifts can be themed to their travel needs. Luggage, travel pillows, passport holders, electronic adapters, maps and books about their destination, picture frames and photo albums, and special lingerie are just a few ideas. Decorate with the trip in mind including maps and accessories themed around the area (the tropics, Europe, the mountains, etc.), and be sure to work the honeymoon destination into the menu.

A home wedding shower is small enough to be intimate, but large enough to have a lot of fun. Your main goal is to make the bride-to-be feel special, and with advance planning and some imagination, you can easily achieve that, along with a great time for all the guests.

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