A bridal shower is an event that takes place before a couple’s wedding and is intended to "shower" them with gifts. It is the modern day replacement of the bridal dowry given by the bride’s family in the past. Traditionally, the shower is attended by the bride’s female friends and family, but =a mixed "Jack and Jill" party is also common. Food and drinks are served, and there are usually party games and prizes as well.
The bride’s chosen bridesmaids, also called the bridal party, traditionally plan and host the shower. Their job is to organize every detail, including the design of the invitations, location, decorations, food, games and party favors. In many cases, the party is meant to be a surprise for the bride, although most are usually aware of the party that is being planned in their honor.
The gifts given to the bride are usually new household items that the newlyweds will need to begin their life together. Fine china, teapots, silverware, toasters, linens, picture frames, vases and wine glasses are some of the traditional gifts presented to the bride at her shower. Many brides and grooms register at their favorite store before the party, taking the guesswork out of finding the perfect gift for them.
Some bridesmaids include a wishing well at the bridal shower. It resembles an old fashioned well but is constructed out of cardboard and decorated in a bridal theme. The guests are asked to bring small, inexpensive items along with their main gift and place them inside the well. Wishing well gifts are often things like can openers, a bottle of wine, or salt and pepper shakers.
A bridal shower can be held at any location. Some take place in a person’s home, while others are given at a restaurant. Depending on the number of guests, some bridesmaids chip in to reserve a private room in a restaurant or club.
Some of the most entertaining aspects of a shower are the games. There are hundreds of different games that can be played, ranging from tame to racy. Some are tongue in cheek, meant to tease the bride, and others are great ice breakers.
One popular game involves giving all the guests a clothespin when they arrive and telling them that no one is allowed to say a certain word, such as "bride." If one guest hears another say the forbidden word, then he or she may take the clothespin. Whichever guest has the most clothespins at the end of the shower wins the game and a special prize.