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Wedding showers aren't just for brides anymore
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In 2009, the era of extravagant wedding showers -- lunch at expensive restaurants or spa days with manicures, massages and facials for all -- has been put on hold.

"You'll be seeing more showers at home instead," said Jennifer Adams, author of Wedding Showers (Gibbs Smith, $10). "And people will give more practical presents, too."

But remember this: The recession doesn't have to keep you from having a good time.

"You can make it feel like a party without spending a ton of money," Adams said.

The key is to have a theme. It helps you decide whom to invite and what to serve. A lingerie shower works better for a small group of friends, but a backyard barbecue accommodates couples, Adams said in her book. Having showers with different themes also prevents the couple from getting multiple toasters and slow cookers.

Gone are the days when only the girls got to party. These days, the guys like to be included, according to editors of theknot.com.

"Some couples like to do everything together and the shower is no different," according to the online wedding site. "The party still revolves around gifts, but they are presented to both the bride and the groom and generally they are a mix of home goods and guy-friendly gadgets."

These mixed-gender showers are more casual and should have a theme that relates to an interest the couple shares, whether it's a love of movies or fine wine.

One popular couples theme in 2009 is the eco-friendly shower, Adams said. Host it in a backyard garden or park and let nature take care of the décor. Serve locally grown produce from area farmers. Forget about plastic plates and cups. Instead, pull out the nice dishes and china. Ask guests to carpool.

"You can take it as far as you want," Adams said.

Gift ideas are endless. In the kitchen, organic cookbooks, bamboo cooking utensils and place mats, stainless-steel pots and pans or a gift certificate to a natural-food market fit the theme. For bed and bath, select organic cotton bed sheets or bath towels. For something practical, fill a natural-fiber basket with energy-efficient light bulbs, biodegradable laundry soap and natural cleaning supplies. Organic seed packs or tree saplings make an inexpensive party favor for guests.

Whatever shower theme you choose, remember that food is usually the biggest expense. Consider having the party at a time when you don't need to serve a full meal. Have a cocktail shower and serve appetizers. Have guests arrive in the late morning and serve brunch or plan a midafternoon party and serve dessert. This time of year, a soup buffet also is quick and easy.

Consider a potluck or recipe shower where each guest brings a favorite dish. The host can supply drinks and dessert.

Another way to save is on invitations, which eventually get thrown in the trash. Print simple ones on a computer or send e-vites on the computer.

Don't spend a lot on decorations, either. Uses candles and vases that you already own to make things festive.

kathys@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">kathys@sltrib.com

Southwestern brunch

10 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 (8-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Salsa, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in baking powder, flour and salt. Fold in shredded cheese, cottage cheese and chilies. Stir in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are set.

Remove from oven and cool 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Servings » 12 to 15

Source » Trish Kapos

Tomato and artichoke soup

1 large onion

4 tablespoons butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, undrained and chopped

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoons pepper, or to taste

Sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, sauté onion in butter until soft. Add garlic and sauté another 3 to 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream or Parmesan cheese.

Servings » 8

Source » Wedding Showers by Jennifer Adams

Hello Dolly cookies

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup coconut

1 (16-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, butter and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before serving.

Servings » 2 dozen

Source » Wedding Showers by Jennifer Adams

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