by Robbin Montero

            The only bridal event where the bride can expect gifts from her guests is when they are “showered” on her at a bridal shower. If you are hosting a bridal shower, schedule it to take place one to three months prior to the wedding. Any earlier and the bride may not yet be registered. Any closer to the big day, and you will heap additional stress on a bride dealing with last-minute wedding details.


            Close friends, bridesmaids, friends of the mother, co-workers, or relatives are appropriate hostesses of bridal showers. Sisters can co-host the occasion if they are members of the wedding party. Mothers and grandmothers are never shower hostesses.


            Most brides are delighted that more than one shower is acceptable, but only guests who are invited to the wedding should be invited to a shower. The exception to this rule is the bride’s co-workers, who often throw a party for the bride whether or not they are invited to the wedding.


            Though mothers, maids (or matrons) of honor can be included in all bridal showers, the rest of the guest list should be different for each shower to avoid pressing individuals for multiple gifts. Avoid the perception of soliciting gifts by not inviting out-of-towners you know will be unable to attend.


            Wedding showers can be dinners at a hotel, luncheons at a country club, an afternoon event with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, or a simple punch and cake affair. To reduce the financial burden, co-hosting showers is completely acceptable.


            The shower invitations include the date, time and location of the shower, as well as the RSVP date, telephone number(s) of the shower host(s), and registry information. Bridal registries stores typically provide cards to include in the invitations, so shower guests are aware of her registries. Please do not use these registry cards at any other time or include them with your formal wedding invitations.


            I like that more couples enjoy common interests and sharing pre-wedding events, such as “his- and-hers” showers. One might forward to receiving high-tech kitchen appliances and the other may enjoy tools or yard gadgets, so guests have a wider array of gift options the couple will surely appreciate. Hosts of this type of shower can also arrange for men bring items for the groom and the women bring items for the bride.


            Every party needs an interesting theme. “Round the Clock” is one for which it is recommended that guests bring gifts that are typically used at a particular time of the day. For example, one guest might be requested to bring a gift typically used at 6:00 a.m. That guest might bring a juice pitcher and glasses set, a coffee maker or toaster, for example. The guest who receives a request to bring a gift for 5:00 p.m. might bring bar ware, while a guest whose “hour” is 7:00 p.m. might bring a table cloth. Asking guests to present their gifts for opening in the order used (waking to sleeping) plays out the theme.


            A lingerie shower is entertaining for a small, intimate gathering or luncheon. In addition to lingerie, guests can be asked to each bring a pair of panties to hang on a panty tree. They can be beautiful or wild, but there’s something fun about underwear that will keep the group animated and the bride will have lovely under things for a long time to come.


            Guests can also bring cards containing a favorite recipe to the shower. The hostess then presents a recipe file to the bride with a collection of treasured recipes to get her started.


            Remember to capture special moments at the shower in photographs you can share with the guests and bride-to-be. The warmth and attention you shower on the bride will be a permanent part of her wedding memories.


“Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero
This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero's expressed written permission.