Showers & Parties
Throw a Co-Ed Bridal Shower
Continued (page 2 of 3)
While not all couples still open gifts in the spotlight, some worry that eliminating that part of the traditional shower might offend guests who selected, wrapped and transported them. "I always get excited over the littlest things," says Leslie, who did make unwrapping gifts part of the celebration. "I wanted all my family and friends to see how much we appreciated their generosity." Arons, on the other hand, chose not to open gifts at her shower because, she says, guys aren’t as patient. "When you include men, you have to recognize that they have absolutely no interest in sitting around opening presents or playing games."
The customary wedding registry is a sticking point for some. With the average age for a first marriage on the rise, many couples wed at a point when they no longer need every kitchen basic on the standard department-store registry. "I’m not being launched out from my parents’ home into my husband’s home—we’re 34, so both of us came with fabulous sets of pans," says Laura House, who initially tried to convince friends and family to throw a gift-free shower. "But people aren’t comfortable not giving gifts and breaking the rules." So, in an effort to compromise, the shower hosts put out the word that the couple would appreciate gift certificates to the Apple Store in addition to their registry at Unicahome.com. It was important to Laura that her fiancé Todd Beeby’s interests were considered, since they were having a coed shower. "This is our wedding," she says. "I didn’t want it to be just my shower."
They opted for an unpretentious, if not cheeky, event at one of their favorite Chicago neighborhood bars, The Happy Village, where 30 of their closest friends were treated to locally catered Italian food (a culinary nod to their engagement in Italy) and bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Style beer to go along with the low-key vibe. "Having a laid-back evening with food and drinks is how we like to spend our time with our friends," Laura says. "We wanted a shower that reflected that."
Make the Event Meaningful
Arons recommends organizing coed showers around a joint interest or activity, like camping or entertaining. In that case, she says, there’s a real opportunity to build off that theme and help the couple prepare for their life together with related gifts, whether it’s camping equipment, barware or barbecue accessories. For Christina Kramlich and fiancé Peter Bowie, this meant a cellar-stocking shower. She grew up with parents entrenched in the wine business; he is a passionate wine connoisseur. The hosts, Molly and Don Chappellet, are friends of Christina’s parents and owners of a vineyard. They thought it was fitting to fete the new couple at their beautiful winery overlooking Napa Valley. The guest list was a who’s who of the local wine industry, and they received rare and extraordinary bottles of wine and champagne, including vintages from local wineries and a bottle of 1979 Billancort champagne, to help them start their own serious collection. "It’s different from other shower gifts, because it’s an experience—and it creates a legacy between the guest and the couple," Christina says.