Bride Danielle is a wedding planner by trade, but she was completely surprised by this greenhouse bridal shower, planned by her mother, bridesmaids and mother-in-law. Her creative and talented friends crafted almost every detail by hand, from the carnation garland behind the dessert table to the custom coasters to the cake pops and cupcakes dotting the dessert table! The light and bright conservatory of the Madison Hotel made for a perfect setting, with sparkling crystal chandeliers and hanging greenery creating a secret garden vibe. We love the wine bottle wishing well, where guests brought a bottle of wine for the couple, as well as the honeymoon gift board sharing adventures awaiting the couple, like a two-day elephant trek!
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.