The traditional bridal shower is a ladies only event. While this can be lovely, as grooms have become more involved in the entire wedding process, it makes sense that they should be included in the pre-wedding parties as well. This has given rise to the co-ed wedding shower, also known as a Jack and Jill shower. These are some tips for planning Jack and Jill wedding showers that everyone will enjoy.
A Jack and Jill shower has many things in common with a standard all-female shower. You will need invitations, food, decorations, and of course, presents. However, all of these things should be planned with a much less feminine flair than they would for a shower without the guys. Start with invitations; instead of something pink and frilly, choose a more gender neutral party invitation (it need not be specifically a bridal shower invitation, as those are likely to be very girly), such as one in green or blue instead of pink or purple. You don't want the invitation to scare off the men you invite, after all!
Next, think about the decorations for your Jack and Jill party. Opt for a more modern and streamlined design than you might for a traditional shower. Pick a theme which is equally appealing to men and women; instead of the Victorian tea party, go for the backyard barbeque or cocktail party. Skip the lace tablecloths and wedding bells in favor of linens in an elegant dupioni (for a more formal party) or a casual print (for a very relaxed party). Create chic floral arrangements in shades of green and cream, versus pink, pink, and more pink. Attending a wedding shower will be a first time event for many of the men present, and you want to make sure that they do not feel like they accidentally stumbled into a "hen party".
Then there is the food - plan on a much heartier menu for a Jack and Jill party than a ladies only affair. Finger foods are still fine, just beef them up. A couple of cucumber sandwiches and a fruit cup are just not going to cut it when there are men at the shower! Mini pulled pork sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms, dips with veggies and pita chips, and the like will be more satisfying to bigger appetites. Of course, every bridal shower should have a cake; luckily that is one thing that everyone likes, male or female! A small cake decorated with fresh fruit or even just beautifully frosted will be perfect.
Many traditional bridal showers have games, such as making a "bridal gown" out of toilet paper or doing word scrambles with the names of kitchen tools. These games are frankly not appealing to many women, and they are certainly out of the question for a co-ed shower. A wedding party does not actually need games at all, but if you really want to include them, limit yourself to just one or two, and make them fun for everyone. The best choice is a questionnaire with questions about the bride and groom; whoever gets the most right answers wins a small prize. This is a fun game because it can spark a lot of funny answers and bring up a lot of silly old memories.
All wedding showers involve gifts, by their very nature. The guests at a Jack and Jill shower should try to pick out something that both the bride and groom will enjoy. The personal items which you sometimes see as traditional shower gifts, such as lingerie, would be completely inappropriate for a co-ed party. Barware is a particularly popular gift to bring to a co-ed shower, as are gourmet foods and other high end kitchen items.
One thing that is absolutely the same for any wedding shower is that the guest of honor must thank their host appropriately. A small gift and a heartfelt letter of thanks from the bride and groom would be lovely after the Jack and Jill shower. If the hosts are bridesmaids, remember that you should get them a separate thank you gift apart from the bridesmaid jewelry you give them to thank them for being in your wedding. While bridesmaid jewelry is a wonderfully personal gift from the bride to her attendants, the hostess gift which is a joint present from the bride and groom should be a little less personal, such as a fine bottle of wine with a personalized bottle opener or a pair of theater tickets. It is a very gracious way to show your appreciation for the Jack and Jill wedding shower.