Throwing a bridal shower for a good friend or family member is an exciting opportunity, but can also lead to incredible stress. The first thing you should think about is what kind of bridal shower the bride would enjoy. Traditionally, brides have enjoyed registering for gifts for both the wedding and any showers they will have. However, in this difficult economy some brides may want cash gifts in lieu of gifts for which they register. It is the bride’s responsibility to tell the shower organizer if they prefer cash to gifts. However if you think there is a possibility that the bride will in fact prefer cash but be embarrassed to discuss it, you should bring it up as the party organizer. Once you decide that guests should bring cash instead of gifts you will need to decide how to tactfully inform the guests and set up the party in order to receive gifts of cash in a tasteful manner.
Since most people expect to bring gifts to bridal showers instead of cash, it is best if you inform guests of the decision for a cash only bridal shower as soon as possible. If you can, write it on the invitation. If the bridal shower is formal, write on the invitation in formal language something along the lines of “in lieu of gifts, please bring a present for the money tree.” If the shower is not as formal, you can write something more casual on the invitation. Try writing something like, “The bride doesn’t need any gifts, but would love some money to go out with her girlfriends after she’s married!” If invitations have already been sent or you are not sending invitations, try and call each guest individually to explain the situation. Most importantly, make sure you keep the tone of the invitation as casual or as formal as the bride wants and expects it to be.
When you set up the shower you will again need to focus on the tone the bride wants to convey. Try and find a way to make the place to deposit cards flow with the decor so it doesn’t detract from the shower. A recent trend has been to have a “money-tree” where people can clip their money onto the tree. If that doesn’t sound appealing, try putting a table near the entrance with a pretty tablecloth on top. Finally, if the bride wants to open something at the shower, try to get all the guests together and come up with something free or inexpensive that the bride can open. Perhaps a photo album or funny cards.