When I got engaged about a week ago, the questions, inevitably, came pouring in: What’s the date? Where are you registered? Are you planning a shower? My answers were: No idea, I’m not, I’d rather be attacked by a hive of angry bees with no EpiPen nearby. People were aghast. No shower?! Why wouldn’t you want a shower? It’s a party in your honor! Espresso machines as gifts! Enough wine glasses to last through forty years of snapped stems! Expensive-ish linens!
So, I surveyed a group of friends about the shower phenomenon—some of them had been through their own showers, others who had been forced to buck up and attend about 84908923290123 of them like me. Here’s what I thought (and they agreed) would make a bridal shower vaguely tolerable, brides listen up!
- Co-ed Party: Guests arrive, throw gifts in the corner and act like it’s just another cocktail party. This was something 99 percent of my (very scientific) survey respondents got behind. Share the pain between the bride and the groom. The booze helps, too.
- Think Outside The Box For A Theme: One friend said, “Sadly, showers these days have taken a turn for the worse for us guests. I went to a linen shower. What is that you ask? We all sat around and watched the bride unwrap napkins and sheets FOR THREE HOURS.” For your guests sake, skip the “around the house” or “time of day” themes. Instead, throw a wine tasting (with cheese). Guests are learning about and consuming vino, not watching you open your Wedgewood plates.
- And Speaking Of The Opening Of Gifts: Another way of doing it is ask guests to wrap presents in clear cellophane, so the bride can look at the gifts rather than have to spend 800 hours opening everything while friends and family hold back yawns.
- Only Invite People Who Will Be Invited To The Wedding: There is nothing more awkward for a bride than people talking about how great the ceremony will be when half weren’t invited: “Thank you for your gift! Yes, the wedding will be beautiful!” But — cough, cough — I can’t afford a guest list of 400-plus.
- Put An End Time On The Invite: My biggest fear going into showers is that I never know when they end, but I do know I will spend my entire afternoon there. Set a cap, say, two hours, and print that on the invite. When guests know the shower isn’t going to be a daylong affair, they don’t mind coming as much.
- Book Some Live Music: There’s something about a few peeps playing instruments that loosens up people.
- If You’re Having A XX-Only Shower, Don’t Force The Husband-To-Be To Show Up At The End: (Even if it’s to “carry the gifts to the car.”) He won’t find entering a room filled with lady-folk two glasses of wine deep at all fun.
- Just Say No To The “How Well Do You Know Each Other” Trivia Game: Lobbing questions about the groom at the bride (no matter how benign) in front of his mother is never a good idea.
- Make It About The Honeymoon: Instead of giving presents, guests can sign up to pay part of the honeymoon. Nothing to open there! Serve drinks out of coconuts, make people wear grass skirts over their clothes, everyone gets lei’d!
- Think College: Now, the real adults in the room may not appreciate this idea, but what about putting together a funny music mix with songs that all include the word “shower,” and drinking when you hear the word? Too tack-town? Whatever, I’d do it.