Category Archives: Favors and Gifts

Around the Clock Shower Gift Guide

Around the Clock Shower Gift Guide: Ideas for every hour

If you’ve happened upon this post, you’ve probably already been invited to an Around the Clock Shower. For this popular shower theme, each guest is assigned a time of day and asked to bring a gift that can be used at that time. Though the concept is cute, it often leads to scratching of heads when guests are assigned a time that doesn’t immediately correspond to an activity. Common outcry of “but you’ll just be sleeping between 1 and 5am” or “what exactly does one do at 3 in the afternoon?” can be heard from party guests around the globe. Though it can take a bit of creative thinking, you can find a present for any time of day. Here, I’ve given you a bit of help. Remember to consider both weekday and weekend activities when brainstorming. Don’t like my suggestions for your exact hour? Look at the ones right before or after—I bet you they’d work for your time too.

Also, make sure to affix a tag with your time of day to the outside of your present (some hosts may provide this with your invitation). Often the gifts are opened in chronological order. Feel free to include a little note on why you chose the gift for that hour, or just share with the group as the bride is opening.

6am: Rise and shine! Does the bride like to work out in the morning? Gift her a new yoga mat, your personal favorite workout clothes, or passes to a new class she might enjoy (barre, body pump, spinning, whatever the cool kids are doing now). Is she more likely to hit the snooze button than the gym? Go for a fancy coffee maker, your favorite brand of fair-trade brew, or a cute coffee mug like this one. Andrew and I have a tradition of gifting each other mugs each Christmas printed with the funniest pictures we’ve taken of each other that year. Feel free to start that tradition for the bride.

7am: Getting ready. Gift her with your favorite beauty products or a subscription to Birchbox so she can try new products each month. She’ll need a beautiful mirror in the hallway to check her hair, right? Or how about a handy coat rack, mail holder or jewelry box—she’ll have to make a stop there before she heads out the door.

8am: Time to head to work. A nice leather tote that can fit all her work essentials would be a stellar gift. Help her hide Monday morning hangovers with a pair of sunglasses. Does she take public transportation? A monogrammed Kindle case or some of your favorite recent reads make a nice gift. Drive to work? Would she like Sirius radio or a Garmin GPS?

9am: Breakfast is served! If it’s a lazy weekend, she’s going to need a great pair of slippers and a fuzzy robe to match. Stock her kitchen with everything she’ll need for a gourmet breakfast: silver grapefruit spoons, a crepe pan, muffin tins, a juicer, whatever. Personalize a kitchen gift with your favorite breakfast recipe handwritten on a recipe card.

10am: 10am is like the perfect time to catch a flight, right? (Sure it is. Just go with it.) A set of luggage is a generous and long-lasting gift (I’m still using a set that was gifted to me over a decade ago—god, now I feel old) or opt for smaller travel accessories, like a monogrammed passport carrier, leather luggage tags, makeup pouches (great for stashing all kinds of little things) or packing bags like these to separate your dirty clothes from the clean while on the trip—so clever!

11am: Weekend brunch begins. And brunch makes me think of two things: Eggs Benedict and mimosas. Provide the gear necessary for these classic brunch staples, or present the couple with a gift certificate to a fancy local spot. You could also stock their pantry with fancy jams, designer pancake mixes and Bloody Mary mix.

12pm: Create a whimsical lunchtime picnic in the park with a picnic set and blanket. Want to get away from kitchen/food gifts? Decorate her home so that she has something to gaze at while she enjoys a sandwich at the kitchen table or on the couch. Artfully Walls and Minted both have very affordable prints in all different styles and allow you to create groupings for instant gallery walls.

1pm: A Saturday afternoon is the perfect time for an outing. Get the couple a membership to a local museum or zoo, or buy them tickets to a nearby attraction, like a theme park. Sessions at a rock climbing gym, a cooking class, a deep-sea fishing excursion or kayak trip could be the perfect thing to help the couple de-stress or connect over sharing a new activity.

2pm: Commence weekend lounging hour. Get her ready for an afternoon by the pool or at the shore with a cute beach tote, pretty patterned beach towels, a flirty coverup or useful sun hat. Add high-quality sun protection for her skin and hair or a ridiculously awesome pool float.

3pm: She works hard for the money…especially at 3pm when she’ll start to glance at the clock, waiting for quitting time. Poppin carries basic office supplies in very non-basic colors, or check out Knock Knock for clever, cheeky paper products. A cheerful terrarium would certainly brighten up her space. Or how about a snappy little business card holder to step up her business-lady game?

4pm: Sun’s out, grill’s on, time to head to the backyard for a BBQ. Does she need some lawn games like corn hole or croquet? How about a fun hammock, pretty planters or twinkly outdoor lighting? Find her the perfect crystal pitcher for lemonade (or sangria). Plus, cute serving platters and bowls will be appreciated for entertaining. Girl’s gotta have something to serve guac in!

5pm: As the saying goes, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. Stock her bar for the quintessential happiest of hours with glassware and cocktail accessories, like a shaker or muddler. Splurge on top-shelf liquor or mixers she might not normally pick up—here’s a great guide to stocking her bar cart.

6pm: The couple who cooks together stays together. There’s a whole range of special and long-lasting gifts you can pick out for the kitchen. A Dutch oven, grill pan, immersion blender, high-quality sheet pans and baking dishes will all last and get lots of use over the years. A word on gifting knives: I recently found out there is a superstition that giving people knives is bad luck, but I got a set of chef’s knives for my high school graduation and they are to this day one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten.

7pm: Dinner is served. Time to break out those cute novelty plates, wine glasses, and other much-needed serving ware. Provide dinner inspiration with your favorite cookbooks as well, or a copy of your go-to simple dinner party menu.

8pm: Board games for two are great. I mean, party games are great too, but games for two are better because she has a built-in opponent now, so she’ll be able to play them more often. Some of our favorites are Carcassone, Forbidden Island, Ticket to Ride, and this version of Trivial Pursuit (which adds a betting element that’s fun and includes fairly modern categories to pick from). Classics like Scrabble, Monopoly and Clue also work for two people.

9pm: Send the couple out for a night on the town with tickets to a Broadway show, a concert they’ll love or a local comedy club. What about a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant? Slip the tickets into a cute clutch or wallet that she can carry on her hot date.

10pm: Movie night in. If she does not have a Roku, may I suggest one? I love ours to bits. A popcorn maker really does make superior popcorn to the microwave kind and she’ll need a warm throw to snuggle up with her hubby on the couch.

11pm: Bedtime. Perfect for sheets, pillows, comforters and other items to make up a comfy cozy bed for her to rest her head. Let me tell you, sheets may sound like a boring present, but nice sheets are expensive. As I’ve gotten older, they have become like the king of gifts. That and socks. I’m not kidding. Sheets and socks, for the prematurely elderly woman in us all.

12am: Cheers! While most days she’ll be sleeping by 12am, there’s at least one night a year she’ll be awake—New Year’s! Celebrate with champagne flutes, a fancy silver ice bucket and a nice bottle to toast their first year of marriage.

1am: Sexy time. Judge your audience on this one. You can be subtle with massage oils and scented candles or go wild with sex toys and skimpy lingerie.

2am: She’s fast asleep, but gift her something that can be working for her while she’s catching some zzz’s. A slow cooker, a bread maker, a sous vide machine or an ice cream maker can all can be turned on overnight and provide a welcome surprise in the morning.

3am: Can’t sleep? Maybe she needs some soothing decaffeinated teas and a fancy teapot. Or a gift certificate to a local spa so that she can relax and ultimately rest better at night.

4am: Does anyone else always wake up at 4am after a night of drinking with a terrible hangover? I can’t be the only one. Stock her medicine cabinet for this and all other ailments. And while you’re at it, maybe she needs a cute soap dispenser and toothbrush holder, plus a cleansing face wash to help her feel refreshed.

5am: For the super early riser, create the perfect bath or shower. Opt for fancy shampoos and soaps, a high-power shower head (seems silly, but it’s such a luxury!), a new patterned shower curtain or soft fluffy towels.

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Bachelorette Survival Kits

Bachelorette survival kits can be created by the hostess of the bachelorette party as a party favor or can be put together by the bride as a thank-you to her friends for organizing a fantastic weekend. Try to fill the bag with a mix of little things the guests will find useful, but that are also cute and thoughtful. Band-Aids might be useful in a crisis, but she’ll probably appreciate a nice shade of nail polish or a cute hair band more. Treat the term “survival” loosely. Every survival kit starts with the perfect (and hopefully reusable) bag though, so here are some of my favorite finds. Want even more inspiration? Check out our Bridesmaid Survival Kit Pinterest board.
Bachelorette Survival Kits

Finch and Fox creates personalized hangover kit bags that are absolutely adorable. Bags can be designed to reflect the city or state where the event will be held or the theme of the weekend, like a fiesta or wine tasting, for a truly personal keepsake.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

For my ladies across the pond, I adore this neon hen tote. If you don’t mind the 2014 in the corner, you can get this bag at a deep discount right now (only 9.62!) and you could probably cover the date up with a custom sticker or patch. Otherwise, a 2015 version should appear soon!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Ok, these aren’t bags, but they’re too adorable and perfect not to mention! These personalized hair band favors from Flhair Accessories can be customized to fit your colors and theme for the weekend. I am such a huge fan of the modern typography and stylish color combinations Emma puts together!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Words to live by, girls. Words to live by. Fill these canvas pouches with a few (inexpensive) beauty products, like your favorite shade of essie nail polish, a Stila lipgloss and Burt’s Bees hand salve. Browse the checkout area at Sephora for lots of travel- or sample-size products to add in.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

This “Plan to get a tan” tote is perfect for a beach weekend. Fill with sunscreen, a brightly colored pair of sunglasses, the latest celebrity gossip mag and a bottle of hydrating coconut water. Ready for fun in the sun!

Bachelorette Survival KitsI love the bold typography on these kraft paper bags, which can be stamped with the date and location of your party, or even a personal party slogan you dream up. At about 5×7″, they can hold more than you’d think too. Try a mini bottle of their favorite liquor, a few Tattly removable tattoos, and directions to where you’ll all share a much-needed Bloody Mary the morning after.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Not really the DIY type? I got you covered. Check out Minimergency Kits by Pinch Provisions. These little pouches come in a huge array of colors and patterns, like these metallic striped ones, and are prefilled with lots of handy little items, like double-sided tape, dental floss and even a tampon. For a quick-fix personalization, just add each guest’s name to a tag and tie to the zipper with a gold ribbon.

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Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower (Other Than Victoria’s Secret)

So, the title of this post might make you think I have something against Victoria’s Secret, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I buy their underwear and love it! I’m wearing a pair now (TMI?). But that’s just the point—Victoria’s Secret is so ubiquitous and is the go-to for so many women that when it comes time to buy something for a lingerie shower, it just doesn’t feel that special. The bride could easily buy these pieces for herself. She might already have one or two! She’s certainly seen it in the store before. And, especially if you are purchasing from VS’s bridal line, there’s a good chance you’ll end up buying something that another guest has purchased too.

In that spirit, I wanted to introduce you to a few brands outside the norm, beyond the pink stripes. This will give you a chance to shop around and to gift her with something completely unique and unexpected. Who knows, you might even decide to mix up your own lingerie routine!


Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Journelle

Want a one-stop shop to rival Victoria’s Secret? Journelle is it. This retailer carries many of the brands mentioned here—like Eberjey, Princesse Tam Tam, Myla and more—as well as their own line of intimates and sleepwear. Founder Claire Chambers found lingerie options to be lacking in the United States after living a few years abroad and founded the company to make designer brands accessible to all. You can visit one of their four locations in NYC or cyber shop to your heart’s content on the website. Not sure of the bride’s intimate style and want to send her a gift card instead? This is a great option.

Available at


Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Eberjey

Eberjey has a relaxed, sexy vibe that makes these the perfect romantic yet comfy undies to lounge in all day—hopefully in some exotic locale. The color palette is soft and feminine and the styles incorporate intricate yet modern cuts. Their bridal collection includes fluttery chemises for only $49 or gorgeous statement bras for up to $65. Want something with a little more edge? The black scalloped Carmen underwire bra ($65) does sexy-chic right.

Available at, Anthropologie, Journelle, and other retailers

CLO Intimo

Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: CLO Intimo

Inspired by her South American roots, CLO Intimo founder and Colombia native Claudia Ochoa creates striking modern lingerie in earthy colors that accentuate the natural curves of the female body. Choose from the lacy Fortuna collection (bras $52, thong $24) or the more sporty colorblocked Kali collection (bra $49, thong $22).

Available at,, and Journelle


Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Myla

This high-end British brand makes statement lingerie incorporating Leaver’s lace and hand-done details. The quality and construction of the pieces make them practically keepsakes—and they do have a price tag to match. The Eustacia bridal line is crafted from Swiss tulle and French eyelash lace and the bra alone is $280. But one of my personal favorite collections, the more modern Arietta line, has a slightly lower price point at $150 for the lacy black and royal blue contoured bra and $100 for the matching thong. This is a gorgeous and timelessly sexy option, perhaps to go in together with another guest at the shower for a joint gift.

Available at, in select stores, and at 

Hanky Panky

Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Hanky Panky

This made-in-the-USA brand specializes in underwear that is a little bit cheeky and totally colorful, all at a modest price point. Their signature look is lacy and bright, using a custom stretch fabric that doesn’t sacrifice comfort. They also have a good selection of plus size and maternity styles, celebrating that every body is beautiful. (And for the Lily Pulitzer-obsessed, check out their collaboration that incorporates some of the brand’s bold prints!)

Available at,, Nordstrom’s and these other national retailers

Princesse Tamtam

Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Princesse Tam Tam

This French label does peekaboo pretty with sophisticated flair. Their lacy underpinnings incorporate sheer patterned panels that can show just a little (like the Maryline lace bra, $72) or a lot (the Amber underwire bra, $83, perhaps).

Available at, Madewell, Journelle, and 


Where to Shop for a Lingerie Shower: Naja

Naja’s bold patterns and saturated colors make this perfect honeymoon lingerie. I’m like a little bit obsessed with their Talavera Blue collection because it just screams “honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast” to me. If you’re looking for more of a Mexican holiday vibe, try the Andalusia collection’s lacy neon yellow pieces. The price point is great as well, with a high-waisted brief for $32 or a lacy bralette for $42. Special and affordable.

Available at 

Bridesmaid Bouquet Frames

When I was a flower girl at the age of three, I was presented with a basket of baby blue fabric petals and instructed to drop them as I processed down the aisle. I innocently inquired what would happen to the petals after I dropped them. “Someone will throw them away, honey,” some unsuspecting bridesmaid replied. Oh heck no!, I thought. Why would anyone take beautiful flower petals and throw them away? My three-year-old mind balked. I would not throw the petals! To this day I still have that basket of soft blue petals, not a one dropped! So I can totally understand my cousin Dawn’s impulse to save her bridesmaid bouquets. Here, a tutorial for preserving those gorgeous petals in a keepsake for yourself and the bride.
Use the petals from your bridesmaid bouquet to create this picture frame

Bouquet Frames
a project by Dawn Jason

Bouquets are one of my favorite aspects of a wedding. From the choice of flowers to the style of ribbon wrapping the stems, every bouquet has its own flare and reflects the bride’s personality. Some beautiful bouquets are even created without real flowers—I have carried artificial flowers and bead bouquets and seen girls toting pinwheels, fans, clutches and brooch bouquets (which I have always admired). 

Being sentimental, I have saved the bouquets from each wedding I have been in, hanging fresh flowers to dry. This means I have a nice, dust-attracting collection of six bouquets (seven counting the bridal bouquet I caught at one wedding).

A dust-colleting collection of bouquets

Wanting to clear up the clutter and give my allergies a break, I decided to find a better way to preserve these memories. This simple project had been on my to-do list for months, but I don’t know why I waited so long—each frame took less than 30 minutes to complete.

Bouquet frames

What you’ll need:
Bouquet, dried
Picture frame with a wide mat (I choose a 5×7 frame with a 4×6 opening)
Double-stick tape
A picture from your friend’s wedding or of the two of you

Drying the flowers:
There are a variety of ways to dry flowers, including placing them in silicone gel, microwaving them in cat litter (I have not tried this one), pressing them or, my method of choice, hanging them upside down out of direct sunlight and just forgetting about them for a few weeks.

The bouquets I used for this project were between 9 months and 3.5 years old. Although I noticed that the petals from the older bouquets were more fragile, I was still able to make the frames regardless of how long it had been since the wedding.

Once the bouquet has dried, remove the petals from the stems. Be careful not to break the petals, since the largest ones are the easiest to work with. Rose petals are especially nice since they are broad and lie flat. Daisies and other flowers with narrow petals require more work, while denser flowers like orchids should be dried flat or pressed for the best effect.

Dried petals for a bouquet frame

Next, apply double-stick tape to the front of the mat and place petals appropriately. Overlap petals throughout and do not worry about going over the edges, as you can always trim the petals. If you’re using a bouquet with a variety of flowers, plan ahead and try alternating colors to add dimension to your project.

The edges of the petals are bound to stick up where the petals overlap, but don’t worry about trying to press them down because a) double-stick tape does not really work petal to petal and b) the glass in the frame will solve all of your problems. It took me approximately three rose blooms to do one frame.

Create a framed picture using your bridesmaid bouquet

Add your decorated mat and chosen picture to the frame and adjust appropriately, cutting off any excess petals. Since the petals are fragile, the less you have to take the mat in and out of the frame the better, so be sure to clean the glass and affix your photo in the right location before placing the back on the frame.

I was able to make two frames from each bouquet with petals to spare. Making two allowed me to give one to the bride as a gift to memorialize their special day.

Use the petals from your bridesmaid bouquet to create this picture frame

Oh, and it seems my sentimental bouquet streak is genetic; my mother still has petals from her bridal bouquet in a dish on her dresser.

Bridal Shower 101: Hosting, Etiquette, Party Planning, Gifts and More

Bridal Shower 101: Questions answered on hosting, etiquette, party planning, gifts and moreSo who hosts the bridal shower and who is responsible for the cost? Who should be invited and how many bridal showers is too many? How much should you spend on a shower gift—and do you have to send one if you aren’t attending? Should we surprise the bride? Can the groom attend? You’ve got questions about etiquette, themes, games, food, hosting and attending a bridal shower—we’ve got answers.

The Basics

Who hosts the bridal shower?
The bridal shower is traditionally hosted by the maid of honor, the bridesmaids or a family friend or relative of the bride. A lot of factors come into play: where is the ideal location for the shower, when will most people be able to attend, who is financially able to host the party? A good rule to remember: Hosting a shower is a choice, not an obligation. If the maid of honor has offered to host the shower, she may ask the rest of the bridesmaids to cohost—but they do not have to say yes. Other relatives or friends may also offer to throw a bridal shower and the bride may accept or decline. In the past, it was considered a faux pas for a direct member of the bride’s family to host as this was seen as “present grabbing.” But even the maven of manners herself, Ms. Emily Post, now says that it’s perfectly fine for your mother or future mother-in-law to throw the shower.

Who should be invited?
The bride should provide the host with a guest list. Important to note: Only ladies who are invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. Though you may be tempted to invite the friends who didn’t make the wedding list cut to your shower, this is considered rude and puts friends in an awkward position. You’d basically be saying “please get me a present, but sorry, you can’t come to the wedding.” Showers are generally attended by a select group of close friends and relatives, so you should not invite every woman who is attending the wedding.

Who pays for the bridal shower?
The host is responsible for paying for the shower. This goes back to our rule on hosting being a choice, not an obligation. If the bridesmaids have agreed to cohost, they should split the costs of the shower…but they are not hosts by default. This differs from how bachelorette parties are handled—typically each attendee pays her own way at a bachelorette party, chipping in for food, drinks and whatever activities are going down. At a bridal shower, whoever is throwing the party is expected to pick up the bill.

What is my role as a bridesmaid in terms of the shower?
You may choose to cohost a shower…or not. If the bride has multiple showers, you will probably be invited to all and if it is possible for you to attend them, you should. (See below on gifting for multiple showers.) If you don’t live geographically near the bride, you should only attend one shower…if that. I personally make it a rule to only buy two plane tickets per wedding—one for the wedding itself and one for a bachelorette and/or bridal shower. Air travel is expensive and friends get that. If the bachelorette is not being held the same weekend as the bridal shower and you are financially unable to or uncomfortable with attending both, talk to the bride and pick one. All of my friends have 100 percent understood this and have wanted me there for their bachelorette weekends—and we usually choose to throw a small shower during the bachelorette weekend anyway, even if the bride has had other showers with family or local friends.

When and where should the shower be held?
The bridal shower is usually held three months or less before the wedding. Consult with the bride and bridal party to pick a convenient date. I recommend that the bridal shower be no less than one month before the wedding. The bride is going to have a lot of details to attend to in the last month before the wedding and will appreciate having her weekends free. As to location, showers are most often held at the home of the host, but can also be held at a restaurant or winery, in a park, at a hotel, or really anywhere you like. Just keep in mind that no matter where you hold the shower, the host still must pick up the bill. You can’t ask guests to pay for an activity at the shower.

What should you do at a bridal shower?
Many people choose to host a shower at home, serve food and drinks and play a game or two. You can also plan an activity, such as a cooking class or crafting session, or have the shower at a special location, like a winery or day spa. Plan a party that appeals to the bride’s tastes and interests. Don’t just go through the motions of “bridal shower traditions”—make it special and personal to her. Throw the kind of party you want to attend!

Can you have more than one shower?
Yes, you can—on one condition. With the exceptions of your bridesmaids and direct relatives (mother, mother-in-law, sisters, grandma), the guest lists should not overlap. If multiple people offer to host showers, you are welcome to accept, but they should be from different spheres of your life and plan to invite different groups. Perhaps your aunt wants to throw a shower for your extended family and invite your mother’s close friends, but your bridesmaids want to throw a shower for your college girlfriends to attend. If two people who would invite the same guests offer to host the shower, politely decline one offer (“Oh, that’s so wonderful of you to offer, but my MOH has started to plan already. I can’t wait to see you there!”) or see if the two would like to host together.

What about a work shower?
Work showers are the exception to the “must be invited to the wedding” rule. Generous coworkers may offer to throw a shower for you, either during work or after hours. In this case, it is understood that you won’t be inviting all the shower guests to the wedding. Work showers are often much more casual than a regular shower—gifts may be much smaller or everyone may go in on a gift card for the bride.

Should the shower be a surprise?
My feeling on this is no, the bridal shower should not be a surprise. Brides want to look beautiful at their showers. They want to pick out a pretty dress and maybe even get their hair done. They do not want to be coming home from the grocery store in their sweats to find 30 people in their house. If you really want to surprise the bride, tell her the date and time of the shower and keep the details a secret. That way she can relax knowing she’ll look good. Even if you go this route, I think you should consult her on guest list. She may be disappointed that you didn’t include certain friends or you may inadvertently offend someone by overlooking a touchy relative. Keeping the theme, location and events a secret will be enough of a surprise.

Can I throw a co-ed shower?
Of course! Choosing to throw a co-ed shower is a personal decision for the bride and groom. One of my favorite co-ed shower ideas is a field day competition—heck, I’d do this with just girls too! But pitting the bridesmaids against the groomsmen in sack races and capture the flag? Yes, please!

Can the groom come to the shower if it’s not co-ed?
It’s my feeling that the groom should not come to the shower if it’s not co-ed. I think people look forward to getting to spend time with just the bride—and part of the fun of getting her away from her fiance is being able to dish about him when he’s not around. That said, it has become a bit of a modern tradition for the groom to make an appearance at the end of the shower and bring the bride flowers. If you do this, be sure to say hello to all the guests—don’t just show up, wave and then bolt. This can be a good opportunity for guests who have never met the groom to get to know him a bit before the wedding day.

Can I have a “no kids” rule at my shower?
Of course you can! It’s your shower. If you think kids will be a distraction, know that certain guests do not have well-behaved children or just want some adult fun time, reach out to those with children to let them know the party will be adults only. If you go this route, make sure there are no exceptions—if your friend can’t bring her holy terror of a son, your sister can’t bring your adorable niece.

Themes and Party Planning

Should the bridal shower have a theme?
Themes are an easy way to give you direction when you are planning the shower, but you can also choose a color or pattern as the inspiration for your decor. Just concentrate on creating a party that fits the bride’s personality, whether that means a casual backyard fiesta or a modern sparkly soiree.

What are some good shower themes?
When it’s time to choose a bridal shower theme, think about your friend’s interests and passions and see if one would translate into a great bridal shower theme. Don’t throw a tea party just because it’s the first idea that pops into your head—go for the tea party theme if your friend can’t get enough of all things British, brews her own loose tea or collects vintage teapots. Need some inspiration? We’ve got 21 spectacular bridal shower themes for you right here or check out some of the real bridal showers featured here.

Should I send out printed invitations?
That’s up to you. Most bridal showers I’ve been to have had a printed invite. It’s a nice keepsake and doesn’t have to be too expensive. You can find beautiful shower invitations on Wedding Paper Divas or through some amazing Etsy vendors. If you don’t choose to use printed invites, I love Paperless Post for chic digital invitations. Whether you go digital or physical, invitations should be sent out about one month before the shower.


What is traditionally given as a bridal shower gift?
Many bridal showers have a present theme, such as lingerie, cooking, home goods, bar supplies or items for the honeymoon. Group gifts are also popular at bridal showers. You can go in with the other bridesmaids to schedule a year of date nights or put together a wine basket with poems attached for notable events in the couple’s first year of marriage. If there’s no shower theme, you can always choose something from the bride’s wedding registry.

How much should I spend on a shower gift?
This is a personal decision, but my recommendation is to shoot for the $30 to $50 range. Another lovely (and inexpensive) shower gift is to create a friendship scrapbook for the bride. Before the shower, each guest decorates a scrapbook page with their favorite pictures and memories of their friendship with the bride. On shower day, the pages can be slid into an album to create a wonderful keepsake for the bride.

As a bridesmaid, I’m attending multiple showers. Do I need to bring a gift to all of them?
No, you do not (and should not). Bring a gift to the first shower you attend. After that, your presence is all that’s required. If you feel weird showing up empty-handed, bring a card to the other showers with a funny or sweet note to the bride.

Does the bride have to open all the gifts at the shower?
I had so much to say about this that I wrote a whole post about it. Short answer: Yes, you need to open the presents while the guests are there so that you can thank them, but you don’t have to make it boring. No one likes watching people open presents for two hours. It is the worst part of bridal showers. So here are some ideas for making the present unwrapping portion of your party less painful for your guests.

If I’m not able to attend the shower, should I still send a gift?
If you can’t attend the shower, you are not obligated to send a gift. If you do want to send something along, I love this idea for a mail-away shower in which guests who couldn’t attend all sent a book they thought would be useful to the bride, with topics ranging from cookbooks to personal finances.

Should there be party favors for the guests?
A small favor is lovely if possible and it doesn’t have to be expensive. My recommendation for choosing a bridal shower favor? Don’t brand it with the bride’s name or wedding date. I know that a lot of people choose to do this, but I never end up using these gifts because I don’t want to advertise your wedding around my house. That would be kinda weird. Make shower favors something I’ll actually enjoy or use. For a cooking shower, a nice wooden spoon is a perfect and useful gift. At a tea party, send me home with a fragrant bag of Earl Grey leaves. You can always add a tag to the gift with “Trisha’s Bridal Shower” to tie in the shower theme. I’ll snap a pic of your cute wrapping and get to enjoy my gift long after the party.


Do we have to play games?
No, you don’t. (Everyone’s like, “WHAT?!?”) It’s true that most showers incorporate games, but there’s no shower goddess who’s going to rain fire down on your party if someone doesn’t get wrapped in toilet paper. Think about incorporating an activity, like wine tasting, a spa treatment or pottery painting, instead of the typical shower games. Or just eat, drink and chat it up—what lady wouldn’t be into that!

What are some fun bridal shower games?
A classic and actually truly enjoyable bridal shower game is the Fiance Quiz. I legitimately always enjoy this game because it’s amusing and you learn a lot about the groom. And I have 5 other bridal shower games (that don’t suck) for you as well. Remember that people want to eat, drink, and chat, not have a regimented schedule of enforced games, so just choose a few to sprinkle in. And have prizes! People are more likely to take interest if there’s chocolate involved.

Bridal Shower 101: Everything You Need To Know About Hosting, Etiquette, Party Planning, Gifts and More

What kind of food should be served?
Yum-yum kind! Ok, but serious answer. Bridal showers are usually held in the morning or afternoon, so plan your menu accordingly. Buffet style is common to allow guests to mingle and chat, but a seated meal works for a tea party or showers held at a restaurant. And we are ladies, and ladies like sweets, so please serve us dessert as well.

Is alcohol served at a bridal shower?
It’s perfectly fine to serve alcohol at a bridal shower (but not mandatory…unless it is my bridal shower, in which case break out the champagne!). Mimosas are lovely for brunch and wine or a signature cocktail is delightful for lunch. Serve what feels right for your bride.

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Best of Etsy: Pastel Pretties

Take a look out the window. See snow? Again? Or it’s just really freaking cold? Girl, you are not alone. As a little pick-you-up, here are my fav recent Etsy finds, all in cheerful pastel hues to make you feel like springtime is already here. Whether you’re a bride searching for the perfect gift for your bridesmaids or a party planner on the hunt for bridal shower favors, these pretty accessories and thoughtful pieces are perfect for bringing a little sunshine into the mix.

I’m a little bit obsessed with the blend of delicate pastels and a modern geometric triangle pattern on this cotton pendant necklace from The Fox and Fig.

You can seriously never have too many vases—they’re stylish and useful. I especially love the organic feeling of this teardrop shape from The Object Enthusiast, with the modern pop of metallic dots to add color and shine.

Wouldn’t this be perfect for a “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” gift? The gem-shaped soaps from Vice and Velvet are crafted through a cold-process method the uses at least 50% olive oil, plus organic rice milk, macadamia nut oil and Australian pink clay.  The prism necklace gets a whole new look, cast in concrete that gives an almost industrial vibe and offset with delicate lilac and sunshine yellow. (Similar here.)Artwork is one of my favorite unexpected gifts. For a unique bridesmaid favor, ask Milk Foam to create a perfume watercolor for each of your ladies, showing her signature scent. The resulting piece will be personal and totally one of a kind.

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Foodie

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Foodie

1. Two cookbooks I’m incredibly excited for this year: Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Bountiful. Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a bakery only a hop and a skip from my apartment, which resulted in an appearance by their salted caramel apple pie on my Thanksgiving table. They often put a little twist on a classic, like a chocolate julep (chocolate + mint + bourbon) or a brown butter pumpkin, all with their signature killer pie crust. Bountiful is the first cookbook from power food blog White on Rice Couple and focuses on simple, seasonal foods grown in their garden. I love cookbooks that present recipes that don’t overcomplicate things—I’m much more likely to try them out myself if they don’t intimidate me!

2. Fatty Sunday’s chocolate-covered pretzels make the perfect stocking stuffers!

3. A growler. Growler filling stations are growing in number and help you sample local brews in addition to lowering the number of bottles that end up in your recycling bin.

4. A panini maker. This little device is the savior of my household on days when we are feeling tired and don’t want to put together a big meal. Before we got our panini maker, we were spending way too much money on takeout, but now if we’re feeling lazy, we just slap together a delicious panini in seconds and dinner is served!

5. A silicone spatula. My most-used tool in the kitchen. You can never have enough!

Check out our guides for the men in your life or those hostesses with the mostesses.