The showers you’ll never forget will not be the ones where you got a lot of gifts but the ones where something personal and emotional took place.
I’m going to share with you three ideas that made memorable showers—two that were given for me and one that I gave for a friend.
The Scripture Shower
There is a married couple I’ve known for fifteen years who are the essence of blissful marital happiness. They finish each other’s sentences, they call each other “pal,” and they have finally started to look like each other.
They have the incredible gift of still being able to amuse and fascinate each other after nearly two decades of marriage, two children, and many ups and downs in their careers. They surely must have disagreements, but they are obviously soul mates.
And they are the ones who knew instinctively that, more than material gifts, Jon and I needed wisdom and good advice from friends who “have been there.”
This creative couple hosted a shower for us where all the guests were married couples. At first, it did seem like a typical shower because the guests had bought and wrapped kitchen gadgets and utensils to give to us.
But the secret ingredient in each package was a slip of paper upon which the couple had written a favorite quotation from the Bible.
Everyone took turns sharing the personal story behind each scripture and how it had helped, encouraged, or guided them in their marriage. It was terribly moving to have such an honest exchange and to receive gifts that would truly last a lifetime.
As a result of that evening, Jon and I started our marriage with a personal collection of verses from God’s Word from people who had succeeded in their own marriages. Not only were they mounted in a beautiful book for us, but many of the scriptures from the shower became part of our wedding ceremony.
One is inscribed on the inside of Jon’s wedding ring: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
On this occasion, the hostess asked each guest to bring a well-loved book and a bottle of wine. Some books were new, some rare and used, some came straight from a friend’s own bookshelf.
As I unwrapped each book, the friend who gave it presented an informal “book report” to the rest of us, explaining why it meant so much to her and why she wanted me to have it.
There was a first edition of a work by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Another was an out-of-print book one friend decided to part with so I could have it. There was a beloved children’s book, a brand-new best-seller, a tiny book of prayers.
I now have a library of special books that I will cherish forever, each with a tender inscription from a dear friend.
As for the wine, we shared some of it while toasts were made during that festive get-together. The rest of the vintages went home with me to age and be opened on anniversaries to come, when Jon and I would make some toasts of our own.
I gave this shower for my friend Robin and her husband, John. I got the idea from the recently popular custom of asking party guests to bring a note or card to be included in a scrapbook.
It occurred to me that it would be a lot more fun and more meaningful to have the creative stuff go on during the shower rather than before. I bought a big scrapbook, plus all sorts of decorative potpourri such as stickers and ribbon, glue, glitter, felt-tip markers, magazines to cut up, etc. I also had cameras, film, and a printer.
Everyone at the party just sat around and talked about memories and wrote them down. We snapped pictures of each other, and people got creative in making their pages look special.
It was a warm and happy evening for all of us, and a marvelous icebreaker as people got to know each other while sharing the scissors! And now Robin and John have a one-of-a-kind memento.
Ideas to Ponder
When friends offer to give you a shower, you may want to suggest that they share the responsibility with other friends who are also hoping to host showers for you. This can help financially as well.
My friends did this, and as a result, I had three large, very different showers. They were divided into three categories: friends from work, old friends, and new friends. It worked beautifully. Each one had a very unique tone, and no one felt obligated to attend more than one.
I kept the ribbons from my showers and made them into a bouquet. I carried it, with all its memories of my beloved friends and their best wishes, down the aisle at the dress rehearsal. It has survived much better than my actual wedding-day bouquet, and I still treasure it.
Whenever I have hosted a shower, I have always asked the guests to go around in a circle, introduce themselves, and tell the rest of the group how they know the bride.
It has invariably become a deeply emotional part of the shower. At my own, I recall great laughter and many happy tears as my girlfriends reminded me of all we had shared over the years.
If you don’t have a Scripture Shower, you may still want to create a book of marriage-related scriptures to include in your ceremony or simply to consult over the years. Here are a few from our own book:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5,6)
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (Philippians 4:8)
…Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. (Ruth 1:16,17)
May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other. And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5,6)
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you. The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. (Deuteronomy 28:1-9)
And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11)
I thank God for every remembrance of you. (Philippians 1:3)
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Write It Out
Preparing yourself for your wedding and your marriage is not just about the future, but about making sure you don’t lose the friendships you’ve developed in the past. Showers are one way of connecting with the important people in your life. They can be occasions when you remember good times as well as the troubled moments when you were there for each other.
But in this mobile society, not all of your friends can gather in a room to spend an evening with you. Why not reach out to all those who are close in spirit but far away in miles? Send an e-mail, send a fax, or send a letter. You can even have a shower “online” or a conference-call shower.
Remember, it’s not about unwrapping gifts, it’s about reaffirming friendships. It’s an important rite of passage on your way to your wedding. Make a list of people who may not be able to attend a shower but with whom you want to connect before the wedding.
Say It Out Loud
Thank You so much for my friends, for the memories we have made, for the tears we have shared, and for their support as I prepare to marry. Bless the times we will share in the coming weeks. Remind us that every good friendship is a miracle and that miracles come from You. Thank You.