Nowadays, the happy couple often is a little older and a lot more independent than in the past, so a Jack and Jill wedding shower is the way to go.
If you have been asked to be the maid of honor or the best man, it's your job to throw the party. Congratulations, this is an exciting time for you and your friends - but get your wallet out!
The Guest List and Invitations
Sit down with the bride and groom and make up a guest list (unless this is a surprise shower). Decide on the number of guests and where you will host the party. While you don't need to invite the entire wedding guest list, you must only invite people on that list.
Send invitations several weeks in advance of the party. These can be printed or handmade or sent via the Internet. The invitation should reflect the style of the party: casual, intimate, formal, huge.
Make sure the invitations explain who the party is for and what it is. Include the time, place, attire, gift ideas, and RSVP information.
For a large party, you might want to say "regrets only" so that you don't end up playing endless phone tag. If it fits your lifestyle, include an RSVP e-mail address as well as telephone number(s).
For Jack and Jill showers, the more traditional shower gifts may not be appropriate.
The couple may already share a home, or independently may have established well-stocked households. This means the usual linens, kitchen gadgets, and dish- and glassware may not be as welcome.
Find out where the couple registered for wedding gifts. Ask them to put a few less expensive shower gifts on the books. Or, get their permission to add a few ideas yourself.
Consider a themed shower. Your friends may enjoy a wine shower (good bottles of wine, wine glasses, wine racks, wine books), a garden shower (outdoor tools, shrubbery, lawn-mowing service), or a patio-deck shower (grilling tools, festive outdoor plates and cutlery, grilling cookbooks).
Menus and Decorations
You can save money by asking friends to help with the food. Even if you hire a caterer or local gourmet shop to supply the food, it does not need to be fussy. On the other hand, the event can be very fancy and lavish.
Whatever your plan, it's usually a good idea to have room-temperature food that is easy to serve buffet-style. You might want a hot passed hors d'oeuvre or one hot main dish.
If you're throwing a theme shower, go with it for decorating ideas. If not, fresh flowers and colorful plates and napkins make any room fun and inviting. If the bride has already selected the colors for the wedding, consider those off bounds.
Party favors are traditional, but not necessary. If you want to give them, keep them small and inexpensive. Think about pretty wrapped cookies or chocolates, scented candles, or corkscrews with the bride's and groom's names on the handle.
Keep this event light-hearted and fun. The couple will appreciate your efforts for a lifetime to come!