Basics and games have already been covered, so let's wrap this up with a little invitation and theme talk.
You should start inviting guests at least a month in advance. This should give everyone plenty of time to clear up their schedules and be able to attend. For one shower that I hosted, I ran into the problem that we didn't have a location set in stone but it was time to send the invites out. I listed the date, time, and town that it was to be held in on the invite and promised the last minute details to those that RSVP'd. (see pic below)
The manner in which you decide to invite people depends on the best way to communicate with your particular group of friends. A simple Facebook event might be the way to reach everyone that you are inviting. This doesn't personally work the best for me because I have found that most of my friends don't notice their event invites. Sometimes I still post the event so that guests can openly discuss the party and ask questions, but I always request that they RSVP to me personally.
Evite.com is a great way to contact everyone both by email and actual (snail) mail. I played around with some designs before writing this, and it was so very quick and simple to use. You pick a theme and fill in the details, then you can email them to your computer savvy friends or have Evite send out actual paper invitations with a link to the RSVP site. (I would suggest telling guests that they can also RSVP by calling or texting your phone number in the "message from host" section.) Evite will notify you when people respond and help you to keep track of it all. It can even give directions to your event and list the bride and groom's gift registries. I am sure lots of other sites also do this today, but this is the one I remember to go to first.
You can always run out and buy invitations, too, but my very favorite thing to do is to make my own. I can never quite find exactly what I am looking for, and if I have the time, I LOVE doing anything crafty!! This option makes it very easy to coordinate the design of everything at the shower, including printed out games and decorations. The invitation above was made in multiple color combinations to match the bright, rainbow colors used in the shower decor. I found the 3-D heart stickers on clearance at a hobby store and their bubbly appearance made me think of raindrops.
Plenty of different things can point you in the direction of a "theme" for your shower. I use the quotation marks because the idea of a theme doesn't have to be big. It can be as simple as the colors you decide to use for decorating or as elaborate as the bride's favorite movie, book, city, etc... She loves Alice in Wonderland? A tea party!! The couple is honeymooning in Mexico? Margarita's & a taco bar!!
Sometimes your theme can emerge from the type of gifts that you are requesting for the bride. A "Round-the-clock Shower" is where each guest is given an hour of the day to purchase a gift for. Noon could be cooking equipment (lunch), an early hour could be something coffee-related, midnight- some type of bedding. Are your bride and groom foodies? Have a "Recipe Shower" and ask all of the guests to bring the instructions for their favorite dish to prepare along with something to help make it. (Cookware, ingredients, novelty apron...)
Hate the thought of having to choose a theme? My suggestion is to find an interesting idea, a cool decoration, or even the look of an invitation that you like and build around it. A "theme" will emerge on it's own before you know it. These colorful flowers inspired all of the other decorations for this shower.
Unless the groom (or bride) is totally and completely against it, how about throwing a shower for the both of them? They are both getting married, and more than likely they both registered for the gifts. Throw away that old idea of a girly afternoon and use this for another excuse to have a party with all of your friends!! In my experience, just about every game can be twisted so that the guys can enjoy it too. Also, a bar close by always seems to intrigue the guys just enough for them to give it a chance. Another option is to have the bulk of the shower for a while and let the fellas join you for the last hour.
I hope that this "April Showers" series gave you at least a little inspiration. Next month I will try to cover "May Flowers" in one of the blogs. Please comment below or reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter with ideas about what you would like for me to blog about next.