A Traditional Wedding Shower

Usher in a summer bride with a classic wedding shower sure to fulfill her dreams.

By Kathy Oberman


Showers are designed to help the bride-to-be prepare for her life as a young wife. Traditionally, the bride is "showered" with gifts and good wishes, although today's young woman very likely already manages her own household.

Despite modern realities, most brides love the idea of a shower. Here's how to give her one she will treasure forever.

A traditional wedding shower is given two months before the wedding, usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Typically, it's a surprise party, scheduled early enough in the afternoon for a light lunch.

All female wedding guests should be sent an invitation to the shower. In most instances, the maid of honor hosts the shower and is responsible for sending the invitations four weeks before the party. She does not have to give the shower in her home - it can be held at any close relative's or friend's house or at a club or restaurant.

The invitations should include information such as the bride's registry list; her wedding colors; what to bring for a wishing well gift; and directions to the shower.

Guests should be requested to RSVP at least a week before the shower. This will allow the hostess to prepare for the actual number of guests.

Decorating is one of the most pleasurable aspects of throwing a shower. They should be tasteful and in the colors the bride has selected for the wedding. Table linens, flowers, candles, balloons--even streamers!--should be coordinated in the right colors.

If the wedding has a theme, pick up on that and incorporate it into the decorating scheme. For instance, the bride might be planning an old-fashioned garden wedding, a sleek city wedding, or a casual affair at the beach. Let the shower reflect the mood of the wedding.

Be sure to have enough seating for the guests. Position a chair to be the brides' throne, where she will sit to open her gifts.

A simple, light menu is best for a shower. Make sure the food is delicious and beautifully presented.

Consider, for instance, serving quiches, a platter of cold asparagus dressed with lemony vinaigrette, a tossed green salad, and finger sandwiches. End the meal with a pretty bowl of fresh berries accompanied by petit fours or fancy cookies.

Don't neglect hot tea and coffee, iced tea, juices, soda, and water. Offer chilled white wine and, for a special touch, Champagne punch.

Very few homes can accommodate more than a dozen guests for a sit-down meal. Therefore, serve the food as a buffet, arranging it so that the guests can help themselves effortlessly.

Two Shower Traditions
At a traditional bridal shower, the wishing well and the bride's bonnet are time-honored traditions.

The wishing well is for small kitchen or household gifts under five or ten dollars.

The wishing well can be made from a large cardboard box covered with white wrapping paper. Attach a lace umbrella to the side of the box, or make a roof from another box. Guests put their wishing well gifts in the "well" when they arrive.

Be sure to announce the wishing well on the shower invitation and indicate if they are the only gifts. For many showers, they are in addition to more significant gifts.

The maid-of-honor should be prepared with a paper plate, scissors, and tape to make the wedding shower bonnet from the ribbons and other decorations from the discarded wrappings. When the hat is done, the bride is supposed to wear it for fun.

Finally, the maid of honor is responsible for recording each gift so that the bride will know to whom to send thank you notes.

Shower Favors
The maid of honor presents each guest with a party favor at the end of a traditional shower. This is meant as a small thank you and keepsake of the day.

Ideas for favors include candles tied in ribbon, prettily wrapped small chocolates or cookies, fragrant soaps, or small potted plants.

When the last guest has left, only the bride, her wedding party, close friends, and mother will be left to savor the lovely afternoon - and look forward to the big day a few months off!