Pros and Cons of Having a Coed Wedding Shower

Coed wedding showers are gaining popularity over traditional bridal showers. Here's how to decide if it's right for you—plus ideas for coed wedding shower themes and games.

By Jane Chertoff

coed wedding shower
Photo by Zola

If you and your soon-to-be spouse are a happy couple that loves to buck tradition, you might embrace the idea of a couple’s shower—otherwise known as a coed wedding shower or a "Jack and Jill party". A coed shower is a contemporary take on the traditional bridal shower that involves both sides of the couple in the gifts, games, and everything else. (Keep in mind, a coed shower is different from a coed bridal shower—which is still focused solely on the bride, but allows for a coed guest list.)

Coed wedding showers are generally more laid-back, relaxed, and casual than traditional bridal showers and can be a great way to celebrate your upcoming wedding day with both you and your partner's close friends, family members, and loved ones—regardless of whether they identify as female, male, or non-binary.

Of course, the couple’s shower isn’t for everyone. Here’s a look at the benefits, potential drawbacks, who to invite, and more.

Pros Of A Coed Wedding Shower

Both partners are invited.

Traditional bridal showers exclude a very important person—your soon-to-be spouse. With a couple’s shower, you and your partner get to celebrate and be celebrated. At the event, your closest family and friends will surround you for some pre-wedding fun. And if you don’t like being the center of attention, your partner will be next to you for those (occasionally awkward) shower games.

You’ll both also share the gifts (and thank you note responsibilities!) Plus, you’ll both get to know more of the extended family and friends if you haven’t met them already.

It can be more casual than the traditional bridal shower.

While coed showers may have longer guest lists (which can also be a drawback—see below) they tend to feel more relaxed. Instead of a sit-down brunch, why not throw an afternoon BBQ in one of your family member’s backyards, complete with brats and brews? Or, if that isn’t your style, look for a restaurant or other space that can hold your nearest and dearest for the event.

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Cons Of A Coed Wedding Shower

They can be more expensive.

One challenge to a coed shower is that, because you're inviting both you and your partner's nearest and dearest, the guest list is going to be longer. More guests, of course, means additional costs for food, drinks, potentially a larger venue, etc. If the host(s) are on a tight budget, and you have your heart set on an elaborate shower, the couple’s route may not be for you—or, if you do want to go the couple's shower route, you may need to adjust your expectations (for example, by hosting the event in your backyard instead of renting a venue).

You may not have time to open all the gifts.

With an extended guest list, you’ll likely receive more gifts at a coed shower. You may not have time to open each gift one by one.

That being said, you don't have to open all your gifts at your shower. Instead, you might consider putting up a sign on the gift table letting guests know how much you appreciate the gifts and that you’re so excited to open them—later, at home.

Who do we invite?

Another major question is who to invite to your wedding shower. This can be a challenge for traditional showers—but the guest list for a couple’s shower can be extra tricky. It can get out of control quickly if you let it. Don’t feel like you have to invite your entire wedding guest list, though.

When it comes to who to invite to your You can limit it to include your best friends and closest relatives—plus, of course, both sides of the wedding party. Alternatively, if you’re up for a bigger shower, you can include the usual bridal shower list and give everyone a plus-one—or open up the event to more of your wedding guests. For the most casual of backyard showers where guests can drop by as they please, you can also include kids (even if you're not planning to have children at your wedding ceremony or wedding reception).

What should we do differently?

Choose a venue that represents both of you.

Once you’ve decided to have a couple’s shower, it’s time to choose the venue. The options are limitless—but try to keep both of you in mind when you decide on the locale. (For the nature-loving couple, for example, grandmother’s tearoom may be out, but the park with the picnic tables may be in.) Some potential venues include the host’s backyard, a poolside party, a local restaurant the couple loves, a bar with a private party room, or a country club. You may want to look into community centers or local parks, too, if you’re on a budget.

Serve food/drinks everyone will enjoy.

Bridal showers have been traditionally associated with dainty fare like tea sandwiches—we’re talking super traditional showers. With a coed shower, anything goes, though. Depending on the time of the day, you may want to have a brunch buffet with eggs, bacon, and mimosas, a more casual backyard "I do BBQ" with burgers, or an all-you-can-eat taco bar (complete with plenty of margaritas!). Or, if you wanted to do something more elegant, you could even have an evening cocktail party or intimate dinner party.

Make the favors gender-neutral.

You’ll need to make the party favors universally appealing as well. Some ideas for a coed wedding shower include a sweet treat from the couple’s favorite bakery, a local delicacy that represents the couple’s hometown, personalized bottle openers, or monogrammed glasses/cups with a fun anecdote.

In the same spirit, you'll also want to let your guests know that, if they're bringing shower gifts, those gifts should be appropriate for a co-ed wedding shower. (For example, while you might love your bridesmaids to gift you lingerie for your bridal shower or bachelorette party, opening those kinds of gifts at a co-ed couples wedding shower could feel pretty uncomfortable—both for you and your guests.)

Choose the right games for your co-ed wedding shower.

The right bridal shower games won't necessarily work for a co-ed wedding shower; if you want your wedding shower games to be a hit, you need to pick party games that are going to work for all the co-ed in attendance.

Not to worry! There are plenty of game-centric couples shower ideas that will please the whole crowd, including:

  • Outdoor games. Easy outdoor games like corn hole, bocce, or badminton are a perfect way to insert some coed-friendly fun into your couples shower—so, weather permitting, set up a few games outside that guests can play at their leisure.
  • Who knows the couple best? Another fun game to play at a coed wedding shower is "Who knows the couple best?" Put together a series of questions about you and your partner—like how you met, the details of your first date, and the story of your proposal. Whoever answers the most questions right knows the couple best—and wins the game!
  • Karaoke. If you want to infuse some fun into your coed wedding shower, why not have a good, old-fashioned sing along? Karaoke is a great way to let loose with your shower guests—and you can turn it into a game by challenging guests to choose and sing a song they feel best captures the spirit of you, your partner, and your upcoming nuptials. Then, at the end of the sing along, you can choose the song you felt was the best fit—and whoever sang that song is the winner!
INLINE GabbyChapinPhotography 1080x720 Alicia&Mathew Photo Credit // Gabby Chapin Photography

Theme it.

A coed wedding shower is a great opportunity to introduce a fun theme for the event and/or for the gifts guests will bring. Here are some ideas for shower themes:

  • Stock The Bar: Guests bring a bottle of wine, alcohol, or another bar cart accessory so the couple will be stocked up for the future.
  • Round The Clock: Guests are assigned a time of day to theme their gift around. Some may get the morning hours and bring a breakfast theme gift like a waffle iron. Others may get evening and gift a meal kit delivery service gift card or new bedding accessories.
  • Round The Year: A variation on the Round The Clock theme. This time, guests get assigned a season or month and must gift accordingly.

(Whatever theme you choose, make sure to tie that theme into all the details of your Jack and Jill party—like themed couples shower invitations and shower decorations!)

FAQs about co-ed wedding showers

Who throws a coed wedding shower?

Just like a bridal shower is thrown by one of the bride's close friends, family members, or bridesmaids, a coed wedding shower is hosted by someone (or multiple people) close to the couple—for example, the maid of honor and best man or the siblings of the soon-to-be-married couple might be in charge of planning a wedding shower.

When should you host your Jack and Jill party?

Wedding showers—including coed showers—generally take place one to three months before the wedding day (although if a good portion of guests will need to travel to attend, you may want to have it earlier to avoid back-to-back travel for the shower and wedding).

How long do coed wedding showers last?

Coed wedding showers typically last between two to four hours—although, if you're doing a more casual event (like a backyard BBQ), you can extend those hours to have more time to enjoy with your friends and family.

Do you send thank-you notes after a co-ed wedding shower?

Yes! You should send a thank-you card to everyone who attends your coed wedding shower, thanking them for coming and, if applicable, for their gift—and sign the note from you and your partner.

Bottom line? A coed wedding shower is a fun way to get excited about your wedding together. Plus, it serves as an opportunity to bring your friends and family together before the wedding.

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