Bridal showers have a long tradition. They are parties with a purpose! They are given to help the couple outfit their new home or assemble a trousseau. It is a vestige of the age-old dowry, or wealth which a woman brought to her marriage. It is generally given by women who are good friends of the bride-to-be, sometimes by a relative or most often by the honor attendant or bridesmaids. They may be given by relative of the groom’s family and are a nice way for the bride-to-be to meet members of her new family.
While at one time showers were given to help the new couple furnish necessities, today’s showers are given around a variety of themes.
- Kitchen showers are probably the most popular because of the wide range of items that nearly every couple can use. One variation on the kitchen theme asks each guest to bring a favorite recipe along with one item needed for its preparation (e.g., a flour sifter with a cake recipe). Many hostesses sent out uniform recipe cards in advance so they can be assembled in an easy to use box or notebook.
- For an around-the-clock shower, each guest is assigned an hour of the day and then brings a gift to match along with a note explaining why that gift was chosen. There are many possibilities: an alarm clock, coffee mugs, newspaper or magazine subscriptions, a casserole dish for dinner, a bottle of wine for the cocktail hour, comfy slippers for evening lounging.
- A service shower is perfect for the couple that seems to have everything. Guests pledge a way to help in the future – a catered dinner for two, an offer to paint the living room of the house they’re redecorating, Saturday morning yard work, a weekend at a guest’s lake cabin.
- An office shower could be perfect for the woman with a busy career: a leather-bound weekly planner for the home, engraved stationery, attache’ case, books, gift certificate for a Kindle, a week’s worth of dinners for two prepared, frozen and clearly marked.
- Women only showers are naturals for lingerie, sewing accessories, closet and/or drawer organizers, gift certificates for beauty salon or masseuse services.
- Couples showers suggest his-and-her tools for household maintenance, plants, wines/liquors, sporting goods and games.