Decorations, table presentation and music
Decorating for the shower should be a fun task. Visit several party stores and use your inner creativity when deciding how to dress-up your shower location. Take advantage of any banners, posters, streamers or stick-up decorations that coincide with the theme. If you are having a hard time finding decorations that match the shower theme, buy some poster board (available at most stores) and draw or trace simple sketches that go with the theme. Color and cut out the sketches, then hang them up on the walls. You could also punch small holes through the tops and string them with ribbon to use as a streamer.
Order several flower arrangements from a local florist, or check out the floral department at the grocery store to save you some money. Fill several vases with the fresh blooms for an instant eye-appealing decoration to any room. Add a small vase of flowers in the bathroom along with some lightly scented soaps and/or lotions to give your guests a pampered feeling. Use balloons to add a festive touch to drab entryways or long hallways. Candles with a subtle scent add a pretty aroma and a beautiful glow to any table or mantle top.
Most of the above ideas could also be used to decorate the food, cake and gift tables. Sprinkle confetti around the food platters and center a beautiful blooming floral arrangement to the main buffet table. For sit-down meals, use shorter floral arrangements or candles to create a cozy atmosphere in the dining area. Your local party store should carry a wide variety of paper products to match your theme; tablecloths, cups, plates, napkins, etc. If you are going the formal route, be sure to polish up your silverware and bring out your china. You can use a nice white tablecloth or any other color that matches the shower's theme.
If you are going to serve the meal buffet-style, be sure to place plates and utensils at the start of the buffet. Baskets can be used as a utensil caddy and can be decorated with ribbons or silk flowers to add an additional decorative touch to the food table. Napkins can also be placed with or near the utensils, which will make it easy for your guests to get everything they need in one spot. A pretty punch bowl (which can also be used for ice) can be set up near the buffet table with any other beverages you may be serving.
Use as many available items you have in or around your home to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. If you have a flower garden, snip a few blooms to put in bud vases (or pretty bottles) and place them in your windowsills. Make use of the serving platters you already own. Cover them with doilies or decorative paper napkins to dress them up instead of buying new ones at the party stores. Little items, or things you may not have considered a big deal, can add up in the long run. Dress-up and use items you already own when possible.
Whether or not you decide to have music playing at the shower is up to you. Soft-playing music in the background is always a nice touch, especially at the beginning of a shower while guests are arriving. The kind of music you play will usually have an affect on your guests as well. Lively music for an outdoor barbeque or luau will keep the upbeat atmosphere of the event. Oldies are good when you have a diverse crowd of all ages, and jazz or classical music might be good if you are throwing a formal sit-down affair. It's up to you to consider what would be appropriate for the kind of shower you are throwing. Also consider the ages of the guests you invited and their musical tastes. A CD with a variety of music is always a good choice as well.