Be it the upcoming nuptials of a friend or the impending arrival of a little niece or nephew, into every life a few showers must fall. And sometimes the responsibility for planning them falls on your shoulders.
There are parties and then there is a "sense of propriety." Rarely do the two walk hand in hand. But suddenly, when it comes to fêting your bestie's life choices, there is this looming idea that a sense of propriety must be adhered to. For some reason, some women of older generations and culture at large are out to convince us that showers have to be cheesy, monotonous affairs that feel like the worst parts of family holidays except with many strangers. But it doesn't have to be this way! Yes, the shower is really about the preferences of the honoree, but if you're planning a shower, you are obviously close to that person and enjoy spending time with them. So put all your preconceived notions of what a shower "should be like" aside.
The planning of a shower can be a delicate operation. You're often sharing the responsibility with people you or even the honoree don't know very well yet. People have different opinions of what is fun or expected or appropriate, but let the honoree's sensibility guide you. Communicate early and often, and make sure everyone's expectations are in line with one another. It may seem like a hassle you'd rather put off until a few weeks before, but that's when people get in a huff and stress out the honoree, which is a big no no. If you keep in mind you're trying to make a special memory for your friend, it's a lot easier to deal with differences of opinion.
There are four main factors to consider when planning a shower, or any party: location, decor, menu and entertainment. You need to make sure places are available, so choose your location first. We often automatically think of country clubs or other venues with ballrooms, or else someone's home, but these aren't your only options. Why not think outside the box? Setting the shower at an interesting venue can do a lot of your work for you, taking care of things like entertainment. A winery? Wine tasting. Pottery or art studio? Painting. Spa, cooking class, you get the idea. Or, take a small trip to a location that means a lot to your group of friends. Just be aware of older family before deciding on a hike or something similarly physical.
Decorations can be a divisive subject. There is a faction that thinks crepe paper wedding bells and pink or blue gender stereotypes are the only way to go. But, you don't actually have to decorate, especially if you're hosting at an interesting or scenic location. Fresh flowers are always the classiest route, and you know there are interesting and artistic centerpieces on Pinterest.
The menu is the most fun part of planning any party if you ask me! If you and your friend love nibbling tea sandwiches and can debate cupcake merits for hours, by all means have twee adorable foods at the shower. But if what you really love are nachos and mozzarella sticks, break out the bar food, no apologies! Having something a little different, especially an ethnic delicacy from the honoree's heritage, is always a memorable conversation starter.
This leads to the dreaded category of entertainment. Traditional "entertainment" at many showers comes in the form of embarrassing or undignified "shower games." You don't have to have games at a shower, and don't let anyone's great aunt tell you any differently. You will probably know instinctively if your friend is a shower games person or not. If not, don't hesitate to skip this often cringe-worthy rite of passage. Or stick to more mellow and meaningful activities like writing out advice or stories about the couple, or sharing baby pictures of the honorees. And again, many cultures have their own meaningful traditions for celebrating a soon-to-be-married or mothered woman.