The bridal shower was once the exclusive province of the bride, surrounded by her female friends, relatives and soon-to-be in-laws. These days, the groom is often invited as well, along with male friends and fathers and brothers from both sides, so the event is more accurately called a wedding shower.
Whatever type of shower you host, we encourage you to plan a gathering that is fun and memorable for everyone on your guest list. There are two guidelines to keep in mind: A shower is meant to be a more personal, relaxed and intimate affair that should not attempt to rival the wedding celebration, and only guests invited to the wedding should be asked to attend. (There are a couple of exceptions—when a shower is held in a work setting and when the couple is planning a small destination wedding, where not all who attend the shower would expect to be invited to the wedding itself.)
When deciding on a theme for the shower, think about where you will be holding the event and the food you want to serve. To inspire your planning, we've suggested a menu of elegant appetizers and a champagne cocktail. Or look through your favorite cookbooks and create a theme of your own. Make it personal, using the interests of the engaged couple as a starting point. For example, you could base the party on where the couple met or where they are going for their honeymoon. Remember, there really are no rules anymore—except that everyone enjoy themselves.