While you’re in the middle of wedding planning and asking loved ones to be in your wedding party, the chances are that at least some of them are thinking about how to celebrate you, which often includes a wedding shower. Once thought of as a daytime, female-only event planned by a friend of the bride, today’s couples — which may or may not involve a female partner — choose to have more flexible wedding showers.
These modern showers take different forms, allowing couples to celebrate with friends and family before the big day. So often, couples are preoccupied at their wedding doing things from taking photos to focusing on their love for each other, and a wedding shower gives each partner a chance to connect with folks in a more intimate setting.
So, whether you’re helping plan your wedding shower or need to pass a few ideas along to a trusted friend, feel free to get creative. The shower is a way to branch off from the structure of the wedding itself and have an event that is authentic to your love story. Therefore, get inspired, break away from tradition, and let those closest to you shower you with gifts, love, and attention before saying, “I do.” Here are ideas for alternative wedding showers to get you started thinking about your own personalized event.
For the Classic Couple
How’s It Different: As a traditional bridal shower, the wedding shower takes cues from the classic showers without duplicating past events. For example, consider hosting a shower over a casual evening BBQ or a post-dinner cocktail hour instead of a daytime event. Also, be sure that both partners feel welcomed and consider inviting folks of all ages and stages of life, from your single groomsmen to your grandmother. A classic shower includes everyone while putting a fun twist on the traditional element of giving gifts.
Where to Host: Since the guest count could go a bit high, consider hosting this event at a close friend or family member’s home. A patio filled with blooming spring flowers or a living room with a view of the changing autumn landscape provides the perfect backdrop.
Who to Invite: You may want to skip out on inviting the littles if you’re hosting a late evening event, but otherwise, let families come as a group and allow your attendants to bring a plus one if they choose.
What to Wear: Since this event offers flexibility, let the time of day dictate the formality. Keep it casual and wear what you’d wear to brunch for a daytime event, or dress it up just a tad for a cocktail-centric shower.
What to Do: Opening gifts is crucial to a traditional wedding shower, so make time for presents. Since everyone in attendance should know the couple reasonably well, host a personalized trivia contest complete with a prize for who knows the most about the nearly-weds.
Top Themes for This Type of Shower: Time for Tea, Garden Party, Through the Decades (featuring photos of the couple from infancy through today)
For the Couple Who Loves to Get Active
How’s It Different: An action-adventure shower focuses on getting everyone up and moving. Whether you host a yoga class at a nearby park, head to your local zip line, or take a trip hiking in South America, it’s all about movement — both in location and activity. This type of shower is perfect for couples who enjoy experiencing new things, traveling, or staying fit before the big day.
Where to Host: The hosting location depends on the activity you want to do. Most will require heading to a different place, such as driving to your local roller skating rink or rock climbing studio. Another option would be to host a class, such as pilates or salsa dancing, at a recreation center or your home if space allows. Heading overseas is also an option if you want to spend a few days in an alternate location.
Who to Invite: This is definitely not your grandmother’s shower unless she’s especially fit. When curating your guest list, be sure that you invite those who would genuinely enjoy the planned activity. If you want to ask folks who may not be physically able to participate, see if the instructor can make modifications so that people of all abilities can attend.
What to Wear: Comfortable clothing appropriate to the activity is best. Be sure to consult with the location or instructor first so you can communicate the proper attire — including footwear — to your guests.
What to Do: Gifts don’t have to be part of this type of shower, mainly because those attending will be paying to participate. Do the planned activity and make time to enjoy a post-workout meal or snack together.
Top Themes for This Type of Shower: 80s Activewear, 70s Yoga, Retro Vibes
For the Couple Looking to Go Out With a Bang
How’s It Different: A showerette is simply a combination between a wedding shower and a bachelorette — or bachelor — party. Perfect for the long-distance couple or the one who has a short engagement, doing two events simultaneously is fabulous for maximizing time while minimizing the number of obligations. In addition, blending these two events allows for more fun, even bordering on the tastefully risque.
Where to Host: Since the showerette is doing double-duty, have it someplace filled with positive vibes. A local, vibrant restaurant or a posh bar space is ideal, especially if there is a private room. Planning a weekend full of fun in a sunny location allows enough time for everyone to let loose and then get themselves back together before heading home.
Who to Invite: The invitation list for this event should include guests who are incredibly close to one or both partners. So only invite those in your inner circle who allow you to let your hair down and be yourself.
What to Wear: With the bachelor/bachelorette party in mind, select something you’d wear on a night out with your closest friends. Also, don’t be afraid to show a little skin.
What to Do: Although everyone should party responsibility, a showerette is a chance to kick back, have a few cocktails, and dance the night away. Include gifts, but center them around a theme, such as craft beer or lingerie
Top Themes for This Type of Shower: Cocktail Tasting, 90s Dance Party, Night in Vegas
For the Couple Who Loves to Collect
How’s It Different: If you combine households or already have everything you need, there is probably no need for traditional wedding gifts, so consider stocking for your hobby instead. Whether you’re a newly obsessed plant parent or an avid movie memorabilia collector, having more of what you already love is always a good thing. Another option for a stock-the-something party is to ask folks to fill your bookshelves or bar with interesting and useful finds.
Where to Host: A stocking shower is ideal to host in the place that’s being filled. For a stock-the-bar event, spruce up your bar cart, and add items as you open them. For a collectibles party, clear your bookshelves, and let your guests place their items once you open them. Don’t worry — you can always shift things around after the wedding shower.
Who to Invite: A stock-the-shelves-style shower is one where you can invite your friends and family, depending on the theme. For example, if you collect Harry Potter items, kids could get in on the fun. However, you may want to make it adults only when asking for barware and craft spirits.
What to Wear: Unless the occasion or type of stocking calls for dressing up, let folks come comfy and casual. Think nice jeans and a pullover or an unstructured, floral dress.
What to Do: The main event here is opening gifts. However, the addition of letting folks place their items personalizes the event, and incorporating a trivia element adds a creative twist.
Top Themes for This Type of Shower: Barware, Library, Bookshelves, Outdoors
For the Dramatic, Playful Couple
How’s It Different: Who doesn’t love a good play on a theme? From the invitation to the wedding shower favors, select a motif and go all out by incorporating it into every element. Have folks dress up, play theme-centric games, and coordinate your food and drinks. A completely themed shower from start to finish is perfect for couples who love to have fun, dress up, and get creative.
Where to Host: Start by thinking of all the places you could hold your event that coordinate with your theme. Host a 50s party at a diner, or have a literary event at a local bookstore or library.
Who to Invite: Again, tailor your guest list to the theme of your event. For example, if your focus is outdoor games, it’s perfectly appropriate to invite family and friends of all ages. Alternatively, if you mimic the Roaring Twenties, you may only want to keep it to adults.
What to Wear: Of course, guests and the happy couple should dress according to the theme and go all out while doing so.
What to Do: A themed wedding shower lends itself to trivia games and costume contests, so do some research and come up with questions and prizes for both. Gifts can either coordinate with the motif or come off the couple’s registry.
Top Themes for This Type of Shower: Movie Buff, Black and White, Luau
Now that you have an idea of what to do for your wedding shower, it’s time to start planning: And Zola has all you need. From basic shower information to how to host a wedding shower at home, Zola has expert advice to guide you each step of the way.