The bridal shower has its roots in the traditional bridal dowry. In some countries, the bridal dowry still exists and is a necessary prerequisite for any young lady getting married. In years gone by, if a young woman found herself without an adequate dowry and the basic necessities to start her own home, her sympathetic friends would "shower" her with enough gifts to enable her to set up housekeeping.
Traditionally, the bridal shower was a women-only function, but this tradition like so many others is being given a new spin by some bridal couples. Where once the prospective grooms responsibilities regarding his fiancee's shower were to "get her there on time" and "pick her up afterwards," today, many grooms are not relegated to do nothing other than walk around the block waiting for the wedding shower to be over.
Introducing the "couples' bridal shower." Sometimes, very aptly called a Jack and Jill, this pre-wedding party includes the prospective bride and groom and all their closest friends. The host and or hostess for a couples' shower can be their attendants, coworkers and/or friends. If rules of etiquette were being followed closely, then "by law" members of the bride and/or groom's immediate family should not host the party. The concept is that the party should not look like an excuse by the family of the bride to ask for gifts. This particular piece of etiquette has been falling more and more by the wayside, so that it is now quite common for the shower to be held at the bride's mother's home, with other relatives getting involved in planning and often contributing financially to the event.
Not unlike a bride's shower, the "whom to invite rule," stands. Anyone, male or female who is invited to the shower must be invited to the wedding, as well. It is beyond tacky to "ask" for a shower gift and then not issue a wedding invitation. With a coed shower, the guest list by extension would include both men and women, friends and family from both the bride's and the groom's side.
If an engagement party is planned, the shower should follow it. As for location, just about anywhere will do, from a pavilion in a park to a favorite restaurant, to the home of the bride or groom's mom. Here are just a few ideas for coed shower themes.
1. Beauty Pampering Shower
The first gift is one from the host or hostess, a duo of matching robes. The guests, in turn, are asked to bring any gift that falls within the category such as candles, luffa sponges, fancy soaps, essential oils, aromatherapy products, bubble bath, fog-free mirror, towels, brushes, lotions, powder, spa services' certificates.
2. A Toast to the Couple focuses on stocking the couples' bar. Guests are asked to bring a particular wine or liquor, or they may bring any item for the bar such as flutes, pilsner glasses, ice bucket, tongs, coasters, glass ID rings, napkins, corkscrew, lemon zester, or even fancy toothpicks.
3. Honeymoon Shower
Guests are directed to bring gifts which the couple can use before, during and after their honeymoon. The gifts can range from luggage, to travel kits, camera, video camera, road atlas, travel related books, gift certificates to services available at their destination.
4. Plug It In Shower describes a shower where all gifts are electrical. Ideal for the couple who are upgrading from the items they had as "kids," almost any electrical item they don't own will work, from a DVD player, to a digital camera, to a sound machine (he or she snore?) to a room ionizer to music or video CDs and DVDs.
Of course, the host or hostess may also opt for a traditional shower for the kitchen or for the bath. Any shower works best when the couples has registered in several stores and the shower invitation includes that information for the guests.
Another aspect of a coed shower is that is opens up lots of possibilities with regards to the nature of games that are played and the type of entertainment that is provided. The traditional stripper (male or female) is not really appropriate unless, perhaps, there is one of each sex.
Food and gift-opening will, as always, take up a good chunk of the time, but this is an area where the hostess can elicit suggestions from the guests and explore his or her own creativity. Many traditional shower games can be revised to be appropriate for a coed crowd. Pitting the boys against the girls is an automatic winner for creating interest and involving the guests.
The fact that the prospective bride and groom and friends and relatives from both sides can participate, makes the new tradition of he and she showers a really nice new ritual to explore.