How to plan a couple's shower your friends will love
Skip the games that no one really wants to play anyway, and instead, use our tips for planning a pre-wedding his and hers party you and your friends will never forget.
Why have a joint shower?
Why they did it: "Honestly, we were really short on time. We were going to have a few separate events, but the time caught up to us and we realized we were cutting it close. So rather than skip a shower and bachelor party and all that, we decided to have a his and hers event. My mom wasn't sold on the idea but it turned out to be a great way to get everyone together and we ended up having so much fun!" Catherine and Tim, Toronto, Canada
Compared to weddings past, grooms today are more involved in the wedding process, which means wedding showers aren't just for brides anymore. “Gifts typically given at a shower are for the home and life that the couple will share, so why not have the groom in attendance so he can enjoy the experience as well,” says Galley.
Another good reason to turn the traditional bridal shower into a social mixer (rather than just having a bride-only event) is to give guests from both sides the opportunity to know one another better before the wedding.
Fun themes to try
What they did: "My husband and I decided to have a joint shower because we wanted our friends to get to know each other before the wedding. We dated long distance for a while, so there wasn't a lot of mixing before we got engaged. We decided on a theme of “high school dance” and had everyone wear name tags. We pulled names out of a hat to pair up dance partners and everyone ended up having a blast." Steph and Luke, San Diego, California
Having a theme is a great way to ensure everyone has a good time and feels part of the event. Galley suggests a few that would add a fun twist to your shower.
Mr. & Mrs.: “Referencing the childhood favorite Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head and their ever-changing looks, have dress up times available for guests to throw on fake mustaches, glasses, hats, wigs, gloves, etc.,” she says. “A photo booth or a photographer can provide photos that capture the day's multitude of Mr. & Mrs. looks, bound into a memorable album.”
Famous romantic couples: Have your guests come as some famous couples from either the silver screen, much-loved books or history, like Liz and Dick, Romeo and Juliet — you get the idea.
Duality: Galley also suggests a theme where you play with the ideas of duality and unity. Think day and night, black and white, sun and moon and yin and yang.
What to serve
The idea of a joint shower is to celebrate the perfect pair, so with that in mind, Galley suggests serving foods and cocktails that pair well together. We also love her idea of a “pear”-themed signature cocktail. “Call it the perfect pear with an image of two pears together.” She shares some specific pairings to try if you need some ideas.
- To eat: Baked Brie topped with dried apricots or cranberries with toasted almonds, served with crisp green apples and gourmet crackers.
- To drink: Light Champagne or a Manhattan.
- To eat: Seared steak lettuce cups with cucumber, scallion, peanuts, ginger, lime juice and chili powder served in a leaf of butter lettuce, endive or romaine.
- To drink: Green tea sake mosc-jito (Find the recipe at Sakeone.com).
- To eat: Lobster Mac & Cheese served in a shot glass and topped with toasted breadcrumbs.
- To drink: A buttery chardonnay.
Go-to games and entertainment
Like themes, games are a great way to break the ice and get everyone mingling and having a good time. Galley shares a few ideas you can try.
What they did: "I've been to bridal showers that are really boring. I feel kind of bad saying that, but it's true, so I wanted to avoid making people sit through hours of opening gifts. Instead we decided to set up game stations and offer prizes to get people involved and having a good time. Once everyone got warmed up, we had to drag them away from the games tables!" Cindy and Ryan, Brooklyn, New York
Game shows: Have your own version of the newlywed game or Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
Q & A: There are many written games from questioning both the bride and groom to see who knows who better, e.g. middle names, what school they went to, who kissed who first, etc.
Bingo: Create your own bingo sheet by putting what gifts you think you might receive (iron, china, sheets, etc.). As you open your gifts, guests can mark off items that get opened. The first person to get bingo wins a prize.
Making it fun
Let's face it — we've all been to showers that could have used a little shaking up. “Showers at times can be a bit slow moving and cookie-cutter,” affirms Galley. “Take advantage of an abundance of guests and male influence and keep the food, entertainment and cocktails coming,” she suggests. The key is to keep your guests intrigued — have a unique seating arrangement such as a Moroccan theme with pillows on the floor and low tables and then have a surprise belly dancer to entertain. The possibilities are endless when you start getting creative.
Tips for guests
Going to a his and hers shower? There are a few things to consider. First up, don't buy off-registry. “A wedding shower is to 'shower' the couple with gifts to set up their new household. If the couple has a gift registry, stick to it,” says Galley. “The couple has chosen what they like — making the guest's search to find the perfect gift — simplified.”
The shower is also a party, so it's important to be friendly, mingle with guests you might not know — you never know who you will meet.