Description: The bride works hard for her favorite charity, so support her giving spirit and deepest values by theming the shower around her cause.For some charitable showers, hosts and guests skip the party and plan instead for everyone on the guest list to participate in a charity race (either as a walker/runner/biker or volunteer along the way) or spend a weekend working with Habitat for Humanity.
Decor: Choose a decor theme that works with the charity in question, such as big red hearts for her work with The Heart Foundation or her favorite panda motif for her work with wildlife charities. How does the theme support a charity? You’re not collecting donations from guests. That would be tacky. You’re supporting the charity by buying items from their web site for decor, favors, game supplies and prizes, and gifts for the bride.
Menu: Standard party fare, with those theme-appropriate icons worked into the food, desserts and presentation of all courses. For instance, cut mini sandwiches into heart shapes with a cookie cutter or make heart-shaped petit fours. Pipe monkey faces onto cupcakes for the wildlife charity shower or puppy faces on cupcakes for a shower that benefits a local animal shelter. The cake doesn’t have to be themed in flavor, although some party hosts order or make a red velvet cake (or cupcakes) to carry over the red theme.
Drinks: Choose from wines, punches and cocktails, giving each libation a theme-appropriate name, such as "Panda Punch" or "Save the Baby Seals Chardonnay" for the World Wildlife Fund lover. Print out signs on pretty card stock or print out a bar card menu list so that guests can really appreciate your creativity! The theme color can carry into your drinks as well, with the hue of a punch or sangria or even martinis, frozen daiquiris or margaritas.
Games: It’s never appropriate to ask guests for money, so don’t even think about playing games for cash and then donating to the cause, or holding an auction at a shower.
Instead place a sealed box containing a chocolate heart in front of each place setting, and ask guests to open them at a designated time. The guest who gets the chocolate wrapped in red or pink foil (or any other special wrapping designation) wins the prize.
Favors: Items bought from the charity’s web site, such as printed notecards, magnets and mugs, pink ribbon pins from a breast cancer site, and so on.
A Little Something Extra: On your own, you and the other hosts can announce that you’ve made a sizeable donation to the bride’s favorite charity in her name. Or, for example, obtain a thank you note from a woman the bride has helped at the battered women’s shelter or retirement home. (Request this from the shelter or home’s coordinator to afford the recipient her anonymity.) Reading it at the shower will bring tears to the bride’s eyes.
Photo courtesy of World Wildlife Fund