Q: Are themed showers required? What is a "wishing well"?

A: Themes make the opening of gifts fun, as guests have to get creative with their choice of presents. For example, at a "room of the house" shower guests are assigned a room on their invitation and have to find a gift to match it. Other popular themes are hours of the day, months of the year, and letters of the alphabet. It's true that some guests feel pressure to be creative with themes, so you don't have to have one if it's not your thing.

A wishing well is a very old tradition, with many variations. Essentially, it's a box or bin for shower presents that can be decked out in fabrics, lace, ribbons, or flowers. Often it's for gifts of small household items, given in addition to a shower gift. It is also sometimes used for monetary gifts. One of the sweetest variations has guests leave written good wishes for the couple in the well. As traditions vary widely, check with your host to see if there will be one, and what the local customs for it are. —Anna Post, The Emily Post Institute

See all questions about engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelor(ette) parties etiquette

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