How to Throw a StressFree Shower

I wish I could say that I'm perfect., I don't! I'm kinda proud that I've learned some things the hard way. But it doesn't mean that everyone else has to. The to-do list can get totally out-of-control when you're throwing a bridal or baby shower.

It is nearly impossible not to have something slip through the cracks even for an old pro. But, it's OK because.nobody will know! Luckily, each guest hasn't been issued a comprehensive list of every tiny detail you hoped would be picture perfect. And, chances are, they'll all be having so much fun, that no one will care. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? I'm going to share a few of my "oops" moments so you'll have that much less to worry about.

"Do I Cook for 10 or 40?" Always put RSVP instructions on the invitations. Unfortunately, if you don't insist on a response, you can't count on folks to track you down. Even when you do put it on all invitations, plan on hearing from less than ½ of the invitees. It's not a terribly accurate headcount, but you'll at least have something to go on. You'll also want to keep in close contact with the honoree to see if she's had any "word-of-mouth" RSVPs. Surely she's been talking with some of her friends & family & the shower has come up in conversation.

Ask her for occasional updates on who can & can't make it. It will help narrow down the guesswork. "What? The fork?" I forgot to specify whether or not each hostess needed to bring a serving dish & serving utensil with their food item. The last place you need to be 5 minutes before the guests arrive is shoulder-deep in a sea of cardboard boxes in the attic desperately trying to locate that serving tray you got at your own wedding shower 27 years ago. Either have more than enough vessels & serving utensils or be sure to remind each contributing hostess to bring her own.

A Very Expensive Donation to the Local Soup Kitchen At the beginning of my shower-throwing learning curve, I served way too many different food items to keep track of. But don't panic & cut out too much. We want to find a happy medium here. To avoid making a very wasteful & costly mistake, I recommend planning a couple of different "tiers" of food & making varying amounts of each tier. The logic behind these categories will save you money, waste less food & ensure your guests don't leave hungry.

For example, you might have your "elite" foods on Tier 1 that could include crab cakes, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, cheese straws & an assortment of tea sandwiches. These are your more expensive & more perishable (read: less re-usable during next week) foods. Have enough of these for each guest to have 1 piece each. Tier 2 would be your staples like a fruit tray & a crudite' tray with dips (or chips & salsa for the Fiesta Shower).

Put these out as well, but also have extra of these on-hand. When items on your first tier run out, replace them with the extra stockpile of items from Tier 2. Don't worry if that item is already on the buffet because everyone has probably already made their first round at this point.

It will keep the table looking full, no one will leave hungry & if you do have leftovers, they'll be something your family just might eat over the next week. I used to find myself stuck trying to convince my husband that he wanted pink baby bootie petit fours for dessert the following week, but I've found it is much easier to toss leftover raw veggies into the kids' lunchboxes instead. I hope this glimpse into my shower-throwing past has helped. I have put plenty of blood, sweat & tears into showers & most of it could have easily been avoided. The most important thing I've learned over the years is to relax & enjoy the shower.

After all, when everyone is talking about the shower after it's over, you want to be able to look back on that day & smile. Have fun!.

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