Try an invitation that takes the form of a recipe. It can read something like: "Recipe for a great bridal shower: Take one couple, mix with lots of friends, generously sprinkle on gifts, and serve on June 12, 1999, at 3 p.m. at Beth's house." If the couple has any special dietary situation - if they're vegetarian or kosher, etc. - be sure to note it on the invitation. Also provide two or three decorative recipe cards in the envelope.
Make a cornucopia centerpiece filled with fruit, gourds, nuts, seeds, and spices. Place cookbooks around the room. If you can get hold of a toy oven, sink, refrigerator, pots and pans, etc., you can set them out and adorn them with flowers and ribbon. Provide a decorative recipe box in which the guests' recipes will go.
Each guest fills out a recipe card and brings the needed utensils for making the recipe. Keep in mind that a garlic press, egg slicer, or lettuce spinner are less common - and no less important - than measuring cups and spoons. The host may want to consider coordinating the gifts at this party so there will be no duplicate gifts.
Games and Activities
The classic mystery spice game is always a hit at this party. Give all the guests some paper and a pencil. Bring out a tray with ten bottles, labeled one through ten, each filled with a different spice. Have the guests pass the bottles around, looking at and smelling the spices. Then have each write down what they think each spice is. The player with the most correct answers takes the bottles home.
This theme can be an automatic pot-luck. Ask each guest to prepare their recipe and bring it to the party. Provide lots of extra recipe cards so guests can copy the recipes of the dishes they like. This is a good icebreaker when people will be meeting at a shower for the first time.
Give each guest a potholder with a decorative name card tied to the loop. This can also serve as a placecard. Or send them home with fun cookie cutters.