As this year’s brides eagerly anticipate upcoming nuptials, ‘tis the season to shower them with festive attention. If it’s your turn to host a bridal shower, make a streamlined plan so you can join in the fun.

Casual gatherings are more popular today than over-orchestrated events, so keep your shower plans focused on celebrating the bride and giving her a fun time to treasure. Serve some lemon desserts or beverages, which are refreshing, not-too-sweet and highlight a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the sweet ‘n’ sour mix of married life.

Make it delicious, memorable and fun!

Sweet, stress-free tips for a fun shower:

• Determine your menu and ask a couple guests’ help with making punch or treats.
• Invite guests that know each other or that know at least a few people at the party.
• Have a few close friends arrive early to help with last minute details and to bring the party to life.
• Designate an area for the bride to sit to open her gifts. Stock the area with scissors, trash containers and a notepad and pen to record who gave what gift.
• Provide a disposable camera or two to record the fun for the bride’s scrapbook.
• Designate who will be the bride’s note taker and photographer before the event starts.
• Recipe sharing: include recipe cards for dishes served at the shower, for guests to take home; ask guests to fill out “Happy Marriage Recipe” cards for the bride.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

(Makes 2 dozen bars)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) NESTLÉ CARNATION Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
5 to 6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
1 cup sour cream

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flour and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up sides of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

BAKE for 25 minutes.

PLACE cream cheese, eggs, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon peel and food coloring in blender container; cover. Blend until smooth. Pour into partially baked crust. BAKE for additional 15 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Spread sour cream over top; refrigerate. Cut into bars. Garnish as desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 200 calories; 120 calories from fat; 14 g total fat; 9 g saturated fat; 55 mg cholesterol; 100 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 7 g sugars; 3 g protein, 4% Calcium

Jenny Harper is Senior Culinary Specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and