Popular shower ideas for all brides and all budgets:

A shower needs no theme other than to have a good time and celebrate the upcoming marriage of a couple. But themes can be a fun way to personalize a shower—in this case, the hostess narrows or custom-designs the focus of a shower (often after discussions with the bride or the bridesmaids regarding the wedding couple’s needs) to a certain theme. Guests are then expected to bring gifts related to that theme, and the hostess may even provide theme-related food and decorations. Ideas for themes are limitless, as this very extensive list demonstrates!

The BIG List of Shower Theme Ideas:

  • Book and music shower: Reading and music make great themes for showers for a couple. A DVD shower might be perfect for movie lovers.
  • Recipe shower: An old custom revived, the presents are favorite recipes, usually written on standard recipe cards and collected in a recipe box or file. Online recipe services such as tastebook.com can create printed, personalized recipe books that can be added to in the future.
  • Lingerie shower: Lingerie, camisoles, nightgowns, pajamas, robes, and slippers for the bride. Her sizes are given to guests who will attend once they have RSVP’d. (This is not a good idea as a co-ed shower.)
  • Pantry shower: For couples who already have well-equipped kitchens, guests bring useful and often exotic pantry supplies—spices, condiments, coffees and teas, paper products, bamboo skewers and the like.
  • Monogram shower: Guests give monogrammed gifts such as sheets, towels, stationery, tote bags, luggage tags, cocktail napkins, beach towels, etc. A good option for encore brides who already have many household items.
  • Stock-the-bar shower: Guests needn’t buy expensive brands to help a couple acquire the basic bar components, including items such as measures, bottle openers, swizzle sticks, cocktail napkins, bottled garnishes, and tins of fancy nuts.
  • Best wishes shower: Instead of things, guests bring sentiments—original writings, favorite quotations, humorous sayings. These expressions can be written on pages supplied by the host before the party, read aloud at the party, and then collected in an attractive notebook for the couple.
  • Kitchen shower: The kitchen is one of the most popular—and expensive—rooms of the house to kit out. Give the couple a hand with serving dishes, bakeware, pots and pans, knives, linens, dishes, stemware, utensils, appliances, and anything else they might use in this room.
  • Spa shower: What couple wouldn’t like a day at the spa? Give massage certificates, aromatherapy oils, candles, robes, towels, scrubs, and lotions.
  • Honeymoon shower: This is great one when the couple already know their destination, so you can pick gifts that suit the locale. In general, go for travel clocks, monogrammed luggage tags and toiletry kits, leather passport covers, travel books, power adapter sets, or gift certificates toward luggage.
  • Leisure time shower: Movie tickets, boards games, videos, CDs, cocktail glasses, napkins
  • Gourmet cook shower: Gourmet foods and wines, utensils, cookbooks
  • Lawn games shower: Badminton set, flower seeds and gardening tools, picnic basket, Japanese lanterns, croquet set
  • Happy holidays shower: Decorations for every holiday of the year
  • Labor of love shower: Promises, not gifts are brought to this shower where friends pledge to paint, wallpaper, garden, or donate their talents in any number of ways.
  • Around the world: For world gourmets or travel enthusiasts. This party lends itself well to a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres from all around the world. Gifts might be international foods or wines, travel accessories, CDs of world music, or beautiful books on travel and other cultures.
  • The great outdoors: This shower supplies the adventurous couple with presents to help keep them moving in the wilderness. The invitation should indicate what activities they like to do but, as always, should not suggest gifts. Depending on what the couple enjoys doing, guests might bring them camping equipment, fleece blankets, matching ski hats, or golf clothes, to name a few.
  • How does your garden grow?: For the gardening couple, this party will nurture their green thumbs. The garden shower theme makes for a nice garden party or tea party. Guests can bring gifts like tin watering cans, garden tools, packets of flower and/or vegetable seeds, bird feeders, or sets of his-and-hers garden gloves.
  • Tools and gadgets: Especially great for coed parties, this shower supplies the couple with fun tools and gadgets for the house. Think Brookstone meets Home Depot: gifts might be a travel alarm clock, a mini blow torch for crème brûlées, or an all-in-one toolkit.
  • Bed and breakfast: Guests are asked to bring gifts for the kitchen or bedroom. This is a great shower to throw as a brunch! Gifts should be for use in the bedroom or kitchen but can go beyond the obvious items if you’re feeling creative, such as a set of books for bedside reading or a poker set for playing a game around the kitchen table. Just be sure your explanation makes sense, so it’s clear you’re still playing along.
  • Lingerie party: Not for the faint of heart! The idea here is to keep the spark alive in the bedroom. A word of warning: Choose your audience carefully with this one. All kinds of lingerie, from negligees and bra and panty sets to chemises and camisoles, slips, garters, and fancy stockings. If you’re not comfortable buying the lacy stuff, cozy pajamas, robes, or slippers are always a welcome alternative.
  • Spa shower: A shower to indulge and pamper the senses. Gifts should pamper the bride and groom, such as bubble bath, scented candles, massage oils, or robes.
  • Entertainment: The idea here is to provide the couple with entertaining things to do. Gifts might be DVDs, CDs, movie tickets, museum passes, restaurant gift certificates, puzzles or games, books, journals, or magazine subscriptions.
  • Wine and … (cheese/beer/music/cigars, etc.): This shower can round out the couple’s collection of wines and whichever add-on they like best. Guests should bring a bottle of wine and/or whatever else is requested – fine cheeses, a case of microbrew beer, a favorite CD, or a box of cigars.
  • Tea party: This shower is great for helping the couple stock up on goodies for their morning coffee, afternoon tea, or evening mug of cocoa. Presents might be nice teas, coffees, mugs, coffeemakers or coffee grinders, packages of fancy cookies, serving trays, teapots, or teacups.
  • Room of the house: Guests are asked to bring a gift for a specific room of the house. Most rooms are fairly self-explanatory, although I did once get stumped by the home office; a nice desk set, a cool paperweight, an assortment of beautiful note cards, or a pair of picture frames could all see you through.
  • Hours of the day: Guests are given an hour of the day for which to buy the couple a present. 8 am guests might give a set of egg cups or a juicer, while 8 pm guests might give a CD of dinner music or a set of beautiful candles for the dinner table.
  • Months of the year: Guests are assigned a month of the year and buy the couple a present appropriate to that month. Guests with January might give cocoas or matching cashmere socks; a guest with July might give a picnic basket or croquet set.
  • Letters of the alphabet: Guests are allotted a letter of the alphabet and buy the couple a present with that letter. Guests given the letter S might bring presents such as a collection of gourmet salsas or a gardening spade and seeds.



Portions of this article were adapted from Emily Post’s Wedding Parties: Smart Ideas for Stylish Parties, from Engagement to Reception and Everything in Between by Anna Post.