Showers used to be all-women tea parties, but
these days just about anything goes. While women-only affairs are still popular,
many grooms are getting their feet wet with a couples shower. Sometimes called a
Jack and Jill, this pre-wedding bash includes male and female guests.
Planning on attending or hosting a couples
shower in the future? Here are the basics explained:
The first bridal shower is said to have taken place in The Netherlands. A young
woman had her heart set on marrying an impoverished miller. Her father
disapproved and attempted to sabotage the marriage by refusing to hand over his
daughter’s dowry. Some villagers and friends took pity on the couple and came
to their rescue by “showering” them with gifts.
The bride’s and groom’s attendants, co-workers and friends all make
excellent hosts for a coed shower. If you’re an etiquette junkie, immediate
family members are frowned upon as host or hostess because it looks as if they
are fishing for presents. Many feel this “rule” is passe. Oftentimes,
relatives get involved in the planning by offering financial aid or their homes
as a shower site.
Here’s the general rule to follow: everybody who’s invited to the shower
should also be invited to the wedding. Because a shower is primarily a
gift-giving occasion, if a shower guest doesn’t get a wedding invite, he or
she may feel snubbed. Not a good idea. Ask the bride and groom to help out with
the shower guest list so no one will be left out. With a couples shower, plan a
coed guest list, making sure to invite both friends of the
bride, the groom and the couple.
The only fixed rule to follow is that a shower should come sometime after the
engagement party but before the wedding day.
Couples showers can be thrown just about anywhere: a favorite restaurant,
outdoors at the park or in the living room in the host or hostesses’ home.
”Stock The Bar Shower”
Everyone is assigned a different kind of liquor, like vodka, brandy or tequila.
As gifts, guests not only bring their assigned liquor, but the appropriate
glasses to serve them in. Guests can also bring bar ware, like corkscrews, funky
coasters and chip ‘n dip servers.
“Spa Pampering Shower”
The couple receives matching robes from the host or hostess and guest bring all
the necessary items for an in-home spa pampering. Think fluffy towel sets, sea
salt, bubble bath, candles, lotion and detachable bathtub jets. The group might
even pitch in to send the couple to a favorite spa for his-and-her massages.
“Bon Voyage Shower”
Guests shower the couple with all the essential items for enjoying their
honeymoon, from disposable cameras to maps to luggage. If the trip’s location
has already been determined, restaurant gift certificates are a fun treat.
Most newlyweds would like to upgrade the TV or stereo equipment that’s gotten
them through their college years. An electronics shower is idea for the
techno-couple that lusts after the latest DVD player or video camera on the
market. Pick one big-ticket item, like a CD player, and
have other guests bring stacks of discs to stock their music library.
It’s a good idea to have the bride and groom register for gifts before shower
season hits. The host or hostess is expected to include the couple’s registry
information in the invitations. If you want guests to bring gifts in keeping
with a theme, make sure there are related items on their registry so that the
couple does not get unwanted gifts.
As the couple opens their gifts, have a designated helper keep record of which
guest gave which present, so thank-you notes won’t be a nightmare.
Eating, chatting, and gift-opening are the primary activities at any shower,
especially a couples one. The host or hostess may want to consider providing
background music (in keeping with the theme, if it lends itself) and some
planned activities, so the party moves along at a nice pace. Games are great for
bringing people together and upping the laugh quotient.