A bridal shower is a party when a woman who is about to get married is "showered" with gifts and well wishes. A bride-to-be will often register at one or several department stores and create a list of things she would like people to give her as presents. This makes it easy for guests of both the bridal shower and the wedding itself to know what kind of things the bride wants. A registry also makes sure that there are no duplicate presents. A bride may want a blender, but she sure doesn't want to receive three and have to deal with the hassle of returning extras. Most bridal shower gifts are items that a newly married couple needs to start their life together. These gifts include dishes, pots, pans, and even appliances like toasters and microwave ovens. Many brides also look forward to receiving some money. Cash or checks are considered appropriate gifts for a bridal shower. The money comes in handy to help pay for an expensive wedding. Sometimes people bring tasteless gifts like lingerie to bridal showers. Some people think those gifts are good because they help the new couple "spice up" their married life. Others find these types of presents embarrassing.
While many bridal showers are surprises, others are planned with input from the bride-to-be. A bridal shower can be small and intimate and held in someone's home. It can also be a larger affair held at a restaurant or a catering hall. Sometimes snacks and desserts are served or a full meal can be offered. Traditionally bridal showers were women only affairs. However, more and more showers are no co-ed, with men and women. Traditionally men are not invited to bridal showers but now more showers include men and the groom-to-be. Like many parties in the U.S., there would be no dancing at the bridal shower, just eating and people chatting. Some bridal showers even have games.