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Bridal Showers

The wedding ceremony is a symbol and celebration of commitment. The reception is a big party to celebrate the marriage. But there are other events before the wedding that are as lively as any of these. Bridal showers may involve fewer people, but they concentrate a lot of fun in one event.

Bridal showers are usually planned and hosted by the maid of honor. Since she is involved only rarely in wedding planning, a little guidance is called for.

Most will want to select an overall theme for the party. It doesn't have to be as elaborate or all encompassing as a reception or wedding theme. But decorations, gifts and more will go better when there is some integrating theme.

Gifts will cover a wide range. But giving the invited guests some idea of what the bride wants can hold off any embarrassing moments. The gift registry is one way to find out. One friend telling another always works.

Decorations need not be very extensive. But it is a party. A good host will want to give the location a festive air. Have some flowers around. Put out those aromatic candles. Leave enough space for everyone to move around without knocking anything over. That's especially true when you plan to have a dozen chairs in the living room or other spot.

If you plan to have some entertainment, book well in advance. Most professionals are very busy these days. At least 2 months notice is usually required, and often more.

Have a backup plan, too. Accidents happen. People get ill. Make sure the company can handle that contingency. Make sure you have the phone numbers and some recommendations of more than one company. Word gets around, so most companies will do their best not to disappoint customers. It's rare, but it does happen. Being prepared means less stress when something goes wrong.

Prepare the music and games or other activities. Sitting around staring at one another can lead to a very embarrassing situation. No need to rigidly control events moment by moment. But having an outline of how the event is supposed to go can up the odds of a successful party.

When you map those out, know your 'audience'.

Don't plan classical music for guests who only listen to heavy metal and vice versa. Since everyone has different tastes, even among the best of friends, some compromise is inevitable. In any case don't overpower them with the music. It should be background. The prospective bride should be in the foreground.

Ditto on the games. Don't force everyone (or anyone) to play a game they find stupid, boring or offensive. It's a party. Let people enjoy themselves. To avoid that possibility, be creative. Find or dream up some that will hook anyone. Or, you can have none at all. They're not required. They do help break the ice, though, if there are guests who don't know one another.

One popular game can easily get everyone involved and makes the prospective bride the center of the party as she should be: Do You Know Your Groom?

Arrange beforehand to find out about the groom, what he likes, his funny habits, even where he grew up or early childhood events. Get at least two questions per guest (for a party of about 10-20). Make up some flash cards with the questions and answers and grill the bride. Her answers, right or wrong, can produce a lot of laughter when the game is carried out in the spirit of good fun.

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