March 15th, 2012

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A Bride’s Guide To Wedding Showers

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Photo courtesy iStockphoto

Etiquette expert Karen Cleveland has joined Weddingbells as a guest blogger solving all of your decorum dilemmas. Read on for tips on how to retain poise from the minute he proposes.

At their core, showers are great little celebrations leading up the wedding, which can build excitement for the big day and allow for the people closest to you to get to know each other. These days showers are far from stuffy all-female affairs. Your shower can be held in just about any setting, with men in attendance (or not). It can even incorporate a theme that ties in with your wedding day or revolves around an activity that will help you take care of the tasks on your wedding to-do list.

Who hosts the shower and where?
Showers are not mandatory, although it is quite common for either a close family member or the maid of honour (along with the help of the other bridesmaids to organize one for the bride. The host and venue should come down to common sense logistics like location and space.

Who is invited to showers?
- Those invited to the shower, or any other wedding-related event for that matter,  should also be invited to the wedding.
- There should be no overlap in shower invitation lists. If you are lucky enough to have more than one shower (slippery slope, careful now) no one should be invited to more than one.

Other “good-to-knows”
- A shower is hosted for you, not by you, a crucial demarcation. You are the guest of honour! As such, unless explicitly asked, do not weigh in with preferences (though if you delicately, privately, and ever-so-diplomatically, share a few tidbits with your maid of honour, she will likely be happy to pass the information along to whoever requires it).
- If you are vehemently opposed to having a shower, articulate your wishes to your maid of honour or other trusted confidante. Let them navigate those choppy waters on your behalf.
- Get thank you cards out to the host and attendees as soon as you can!

3 unique shower ideas
The music shower
Even if you’ve hired a DJ trying to devise a rough playlist that will please all of your guests can be a huge undertaking. Your shower is a great opportunity to poll a wide demographic for song suggestions. Whoever is hosting the event could ask guests to each bring a mix of their favourite tunes or a favourite CD to make the task a little easier.

The wine shower
If your pre-wedding celebration is going to be a co-ed event a wine shower can be a nice option. The shower can take the form of a casual wine and cheese party an in lieu of money or housewares your host can request that each guest arrive with a favourite bottle to help you stock your wine cellar.

The crafting shower
A crafting shower is the ideal choice for any DIY bride. This option allows shower guests to actually have a hand in bringing the wedding to life (whether that’s through packaging favours or stringing decorative garlands) and it is a great way to offer a bit of much-needed help to the bride.


Karen Cleveland is a Toronto-based etiquette advisor and writer. For more on her column, Finishing School, find her on Twitter or send her your questions and conundrums here.

Wedding DIY: 10 Fun Projects That Anyone Can Do


Thinking about doing a wedding DIY style? Crafting your celebration is one fun way to show off your creativity and style on your wedding day. Pick a few projects (not too many!), gather the girls and get crafting. Many of these wedding DIY projects are budget-friendly and use materials you may already have around the house. Here are a few of our favourite wedding DIY tutorials to date.

A DIY Barn Wedding in Durham, Ontario

real weddings

Vicky Pratt and Ryan Becker, September 24, 2011, Durham, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Sara Wilde Photography, (

Ceremony location: Knox United Church
Reception location:
Grandpa Keith’s old chicken barn
Dress: Augusta Jones from Kleinfeld Bridal
Groom’s tux: Gorman’s Menswear
Bridal party attire: Dresses made by the mother of the groom
Hair: Kristen Whetham (
Makeup: Jenna Voss
Music: Sensational Sounds
Cake: Cake Creations by Renee van der Heide
Caterer: Green Door Café
Favours: Donations to Canadian Cancer Society
Flowers: Durham Florists
Stationery and Décor: Vicky P Design


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