If a baby takes two people, why is it usually that only the mother is usually gets fêted with a shower? More families are asking themselves that question, and the result has been recent a rise in ‘couples’ showers.
“Coed baby showers are gaining in popularity today because both the mother- and father-to-be have circles of friends with whom they would like to celebrate this important milestone,” says Brian Blasingame, director of visual design at Butler’s Pantry.
And when you’re having a party featuring both male and female guests, the old shower standbys of tea cakes, scones and frilly decorations sometimes won’t cut it. To make a coed shower more inclusive, Blasingame and Butler’s Pantry executive chef Greg Ziegenfuss suggest starting off by asking a mutual friend of both expectant parents to host the party. Adds Jill Perez, senior designer at Kate & Company, it’s a huge plus if a male friend can be involved in the planning. “Have someone on the guys’ side who can help and act as kind of a recruiter for the guys,” she suggests.
The theme of the party should appeal to everyone, as well, Perez notes. She suggests using a theme like the Olympics, which can bring in sporting activities that are fun for everyone. Other ideas include a barbecue or a Mexican fiesta. “Then, you can have mini tacos or a taco bar—having bars are a big way to have fun with an event,” she notes, adding, “Guys want real food—they’re usually big meat-eaters, so keep that in mind.”
Another fun way to go is to create separate his-and-hers menus, suggest Blasingame and Ziegenfuss. The ‘His’ menu options might include tequila lime shrimp with chipotle aioli, tenderloin slides with caramelized onions and horseradish cream on a pretzel roll, and adult grilled cheese in tomato marmalade. The ‘Hers’ menu might feature baja Caesar salad wraps with a creamy jalapeño sauce, roasted tomato and arugula tart, and individual crudités shooters with balsamic onion dip. To take it a step further, hosts could separate the buffet table in two, with a more masculine table arrangement on one side, while taking a feminine twist on the other. The drink menu also should offer a wide variety of thirst-quenchers, including both blended drinks or mocktails for the women, as well as a sample of craft beers for the men, they suggest.
Guests to a coed shower might also want to keep in mind that their gift is for the whole family, not just the mom, Perez says. “Hopefully, the registry will bring that in, as well.” She suggests getting a gift certificate for the parents for a fun night out. “Babies can be time-consuming, and it’s a great way to give the couple a gift that’s geared toward them.”
Party games are another way to get the guys excited about the event. Blasingame and Ziegenfuss suggest a game of Diaper Hoops, where guests compete to see who can toss the most rolled-up Pampers through a hoop. Perez adds, “If you go with an Olympic theme, you can carry on that sporting idea with a diaper-changing race. Another fun game I’ve seen is to have the guests each create a baby from Play-Doh, and then the couple chooses their favorite baby.”
In parting, don’t forget to send the guests off with a gender-neutral gift, Perez notes. “We always recommend giving a gift that’s practical, something that people would really like. Food is a great gift that people always appreciate—you could give cookies or personalized candy bars. If there are fewer guests or you have a little more of a budget, you might do movie tickets or gift cards.”
And remember, the party is a celebration of the next chapter in the couple’s lives, so have fun with it. “It’s nice to have the guys there,” Perez concludes. “They bring a lighthearted, loving feel to a shower, and it includes both parents-to-be.”