Showers & Parties

Party Themes for Bridal Showers

Find your shower style

When planning a bridal shower, a little creativity goes a long way toward turning this traditional pre-wedding event into a truly unique party. Suggest one of these fresh ideas to your bridesmaids. Then sit back and let the festivities begin.

Garden Party

Mood
Stage the shower in the backyard if you have one, or bring the outdoors in by decorating in a botanical style. Use potted herbs and flowers as centerpieces. Tie the napkins with ribbons and insert sprigs of lavender. For favors, give guests personalized flowerpots and seed packets so they can start their own indoor gardens.

Menu
Choose foods with a fresh-from-the-garden feel, like three-bean salad, seasonal vegetables, and herbed grilled chicken. For dessert, offer berries with whipped cream. And for thirst quenchers: home-brewed mint- or fruit-infused iced teas.

Chocolate-Lovers' Soiree

Mood
Seat guests at small, French café–style tables. Choose a très chic color scheme—chocolate brown and pale blue—for the linens. Give gourmet hot-cocoa mix as favors (wrap packets in pretty brown- and-blue patterned paper and tie with ribbon).

Menu
Serve dark-, white-, and milk-chocolate confections. Pair them with dessert wines and champagne. Provide palate-refreshers like platters of strawberries and other fruits.

Film Festival

Mood
Play soundtracks from your favorite flicks. Write movie trivia questions on index cards; leave them on tables with answer sheets and pens. Ask guests at each table to work together to come up with answers. The table with the most correct answers wins DVDs of wedding-themed movies—like Father of the Bride, Meet the Parents, or Monsoon Wedding.

Menu
Serve fresh popcorn in paper bags, and fill bowls with movie candies like Twizzlers and Junior Mints as snacks. For your feature presentation, offer chicken fingers and fries. Serve drinks in movie theater–style paper cups with lids and straws.

South Pacific Bash

Mood
Create centerpieces of tropical flowers including orchids, birds of paradise, or hibiscus. Deck tables with Hawaiian-print tablecloths and use tabletop tiki torches as accents. Play traditional ukulele music in the background. Offer cute, kitschy favors of novelty hula dolls; attach tags with guests' names (they can also serve as place cards).

Menu
Set out traditional luau fare like huli huli chicken (grilled, Hawaiian-style), sweet potatoes (mashed, with coconut) and haupia (coconut pudding). Whip up mai tais and lava flows (strawberry daiquiri poured over piña colada) for tropical libations.

Jazz Brunch

Mood
Play traditional Mardi Gras music by performers like Dr. John and Professor Longhair. Create centerpieces with Southern flowers like magnolias and camellias and name tables after Big Easy hot spots such as the French Quarter, Bourbon Street and the Garden District. Pack pecan pralines as a sweet treat for guests to bring home.

Menu
Pour good, strong New Orleans coffee, and eye-openers like bourbon lemonades and mint juleps. Cook up crabmeat omelettes, grits and andouille sausage for the main course, followed by Bananas Foster (with or without the flames).

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