Explore the Outdoors: A twosome who appreciates roughing it will love a gathering with a casual camping motif. Serve simple snacks in a natural setting, such as a park, campground, or your own backyard. Have guests bring gifts the couple can enjoy on future outings (and use gifts as extra party decorations). Plan the menu around classic camping foods, such as trail mix, hot dogs and hamburgers cooked over an open flame, and s' mores for dessert.
2 of 6Photo: Tina Corbett; Styling: Buffy Hargett, Lisa Powell
Alphabet Soup Assign each guest a letter, and ask him or her to bring a gift that begins with that letter. Anything goes when it comes to an ABC shower, as long as it begins with the assigned letter. "A" is for art book, "B" is for blender, "C" is for cheese tray, "D" is for Dutch oven, "E" for electric can opener...you get the idea.
For a clever dessert, purchase alphabet cookie cutters and bake cookies in these shapes. Top cookies with icing that coordinates with the shower's color scheme.
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Cha-Cha the Night Away
Cha-Cha the Night Away Sometimes the most enjoyable showers don't involve gifts at all. A dance-theme party gives family and friends an opportunity to work off some prewedding stress with the bride and groom before the big event. For a little Latin flair, design a menu that incorporates traditional Central and South American foods, such as churrasco, tamales, and tres leches cake.
4 of 6Photo: Tina Corbett; Styling: Buffy Hargett, Lisa Powell
Watching the Clock
Watching the Clock Slip a card that assigns each guest a time of day into a colorful invitation. Guests should purchase a gift that the couple would use during the specified hour. Avoid assigning hours that might be difficult to find a gift for, such as 3 a.m.; instead, double up on the dinnertime or bedtime hour.
Get creative with the party food and drinks by serving hors d'oeuvres that represent different times of the day, such as mimosas, breakfast casserole, bruschetta, wine, and a hearty main dish.
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Entertainment Shower Instead of showering the couple with items for their home, supply them with a year's worth of entertainment. Ask guests to bring tickets to concerts, plays, and sporting events; restaurant gift certificates; or coupons for fun activities.
At the party, show a movie and provide concession-style treats, such as popcorn, pretzels, and candy. Other easy-to-make foods include chocolate chips stirred into prepared brownie mix or frozen pizza sprinkled with vegetables, herbs, and cheese.
6 of 6Photo: Tina Corbett; Styling: Buffy Hargett, Lisa Powell
Tickets-to-Paradise Party For this tropical celebration, have guests pitch in to help purchase airline or cruise tickets for the honeymoon. They will probably appreciate a specified amount to donate (such as $20). The main gift will be the donation to the honeymoon fund, but you can also pack a beach bag with towels, flip-flops, sunglasses, and hats.
Serve fruity drinks in coconut cups complete with tiny tropical umbrellas and your choice of tropical menu favorites. Of course, if the couple is venturing a little farther north of the equator, you can vary the food and decorations to celebrate colder climates.
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