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Co-ed showers are growing in popularity, and can ease the tension as the bridal party not only carries out their duties as attendants, but also has to get to know the people they are spending the day with. Break the ice early with a picnic, barbecue, ski weekend, beach party, or even a scavenger hunt. The better your bridal party knows each other, the more fun they'll have on your wedding day.

Send your bridal party to school - dancing school that is. If your reception has a country theme, have everyone meet for a night of country dance lessons. The traditional dances are always appropriate, and are so much more fun if you know what you're doing. Things won't be so tense for the bridesmaids and groomsmen if they learn how to dance with each other on a more informal basis before being put in the spotlight of the bridal dances.

Whether co-ed or traditional women only, the bridal shower can be more fun with a theme. Make it a casino night, a pool party, or a beauty make-over. Gift themes are also fun and can be personalized for the bride. Have a "Gardening Party" for the bride with a green thumb, or a "Library Luau" for the bookworm.

Often the shower is a time when friends from all stages of the bride's life meet for the first time. Make it a sharing time when each of her friends can share their fondest memories of the friendship they've shared. Have each shower guest bring a favorite photo of a time or event they shared with the bride, and compile them in a special scrapbook as a heartfelt gift for her.