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surviving the bridal shower
by Karri Peifer
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continued from page 1

I'm a host, you're a host
The planning and execution of the bridal shower generally falls to us under-appreciated recruits, the bridesmaids. There is the rare occasion when a fortuitous bridesmaid finds that some distant relation or family friend of the bride wants to undertake the mission of the bridal shower. In that case, you're off the hook. You can get by with some meek protests and the obligatory offer of your constant service to the charitable individual (i.e. you can show up and mutter to anyone willing to listen that you wanted to help). Unfortunately, however, the shower is, traditionally, the bridesmaid's duty and the vast majority of time, we get stuck with the stress of planning it all. 

Now, chances are good you're sharing the responsibilities with several other women. And for the first-time bridesmaid, you're probably thinking it would be polite to offer to host the party in your own home. In my experience, however, the bridesmaid with the largest and most adult home is generally the person who ought to "host" the shower. It is not a good idea to crowd twenty of the bride's attendees into a studio apartment.

Curiously, bridesmaiding is a competitive sport, and frequently several bridesmaids will offer to open up their homes to an odd collection of the bride's family and coworkers. Count yourself lucky if the shower is held elsewhere; you'll save on clean up and potential random hazards (like someone's Aunt Becky eating her way through what you thought was your well hidden Haagen-Daz). Still, even if the actual party's taking place outside of your own humble abode, as a co-organizer of the event, you should consider yourself one of the hosts. And as a good host, each bridesmaid is responsible for helping to pay for the bridal shower. So reconcile yourself to the fact that as a bridesmaid your expense account needs to be expanded to include a party (sadly it also means that you have to help with set-up and clean up of the shower). Time now to get down to details.

the lines of communication
The execution of this day of gifts and food will go a lot smoother once the lines of communication amongst the bridesmaids are open. Email, in general, is the best way to communicate. In most cases, the maid-of-honor assumes the role of commander-in-chief, and assembles a handy bridal party address list. The leader, however, doesn't have to be the maid of honor, and in some cases -- when the maid of honor lives far away from everyone else, for instance -- it may even make more sense for someone else to take charge. Basically, any aggressive personality turned doting bridesmaid can commence the planning. 

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