Often the tone of a shower is set by the bride, who requests a certain type, such as kitchen, linen, honeymoon or lingerie, for which the guests bring appropriate gifts. Other gift-related themes are "round the clock" or "all year round" showers, for which a certain hour of the day or month of the year is written on each guest's invitation, and a suitable gift is brought for that particular hour or month.
Many themes are carried out through the decorations, centerpieces and favors.
To capture a Victorian look, select floral prints in muted shades of champagne and dusty rose accented with satin ribbons, pearls and lace. For the center of the table fill a basket with a bouquet of dried flowers, and give little bags of potpourri for favors.
For a rainbow motif, tie a profusion of rainbow-colored ribbons around the napkins, and for the centerpiece spray-paint or glitter a large Styrofoam rainbow. Insert the ends into floral foam and cover them with wreaths of fresh flowers. Or buy rainbow-decorated coffee mugs and fill them with appropriate colored flowers and balloons.
Candy kisses are an easy theme to carry out by purchasing large and small kisses in silver and gold foil. Strew them around the table with silver and gold confetti, and attach them onto sticks and insert them into a floral centerpiece with silver and gold Mylar balloons and ribbons. For a perfect place card or favor, write each guest's name on a ribbon and tie it around a small jar filled with kisses.
To further enhance a theme, you can make lollipops and candies by melting colorful coating chocolate (also called confectioner's chocolate) and shaping it in plastic molds available from cake decorating stores.
Suggested references for shower theme ideas:
"Bridal Shower Guidebook: How to Host a Successful Bridal Shower," by Myra M. Ishee, J. M. Publications, Brentwood, Tenn., 1985.
"Emily Post's Complete Book of Wedding Etiquette," revised edition by Elizabeth L. Post, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1991.
"The Best Wedding Shower Book: A Complete Guide for Party Planners," by Courtney Cooke, published by Meadowbrook Inc., Deephaven, Minn., distributed by Simon & Schuster, New York, 1987.