Just because it’s a baby shower doesn’t mean that she should be the only guest of honor in attendance! A couple’s shower can be a wonderful way for the expectant parents to share in the celebration-especially since they may not have much time to socialize with friends after their little one is born. Here are the A-Z tips for hosting a co-ed shower before they begin singing their ABC’s to the new baby.
- Ask Mom and Dad first.
Since she is the one who is pregnant, you want to first make sure that the idea of a co-ed shower appeals to her. Once she gives you the go-ahead, check in with the DTB (Dad-to-be) to confirm that he does in-fact want to be there. Let him know that you’ll keep the frill to a minimum, and ask for his input in both planning the party and recruiting his friends. The DTB should be up-to-speed on all of the pertinent shower info (that includes the when, the where, and the shower registries).
- Recruit a male co-host (if necessary).
This tactic is a great way to get the guys involved, especially if your co-host happens to be one of his good friends. Bonus points if your male counterpart is someone who has already been through the experience of having a baby. Having a fellow man involved right from the start can help rally the guys and guide them on gift-buying suggestions when necessary. He can also serve as a sounding board throughout the planning process-from choosing the invitations to devising the menu-ensuring that nothing is too frilly or feminine.
- Choose your theme with the DTB in mind.
Remember that this day is intended to honor both of the expectant parents. For that reason, you want to choose a theme that appeals to both genders (if you choose a theme at all). Keep it simple and casual-a barbecue or a luau is always fun (tiki torches are optional). A sports theme could work well, too-especially if the DTB roots for one team in particular. The dècor should probably be kept to a minimum, too. It should make the Mom-to-be happy without sending the guys running to the local sports bar.
- Word the invitations carefully.
Consult with both parents-to-be when creating the guest list, and make sure to choose an invitation that is gender neutral. We recommend using the word “celebration” instead of “shower,” since the latter conjures up an image of pink punch and girl talk. Include both expectant parents as your guests of honor on the invite, and spell out the fact that this is a party for men and women alike. Highlight the fact that the celebration is intended to help them prepare for the new baby, and be sure to include registry information. When addressing the invites to other couples, be sure to put both names on the outside of the envelope.
- Focus on the food.
Worry less about entertainment, and think of the food as the main event. Cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches aren’t going to cut it at this shower. The food should be hearty and appeal to the masses. Everyone loves a barbecue, and it often requires less planning than traditional showers. The guys can gather around the grill while the girls catch up with one another. A Mexican fiesta is also a hit-especially if you include a fully stocked make-you-own taco bar. If you are having the event catered, consider soul food or Caribbean fare. And make sure that you have more than enough food on hand-those guys have a big appetite!
- Avoid awkward conversations.
Avoid any conversations involving the intimacies of pregnancy, labor, and/or diaper horror stories. The guys are sure to end up in the basement. Should these topics arise, we recommend having a few topic changers at the ready.
- Play games at your own risk
Here’s another area where you should definitely consult with the parents-to-be (and your male co-host, if you have one). Your guests may be comfortable simply talking and mingling at the party. Games may send the men fleeing from the room almost as fast as the awkward conversations mentioned above, so you’ll want to offer them a comfortable place to retreat, if that’s the case. And be sure to avoid any female-focused crafts or activities that alienate the guys altogether. Should you decide to play baby shower games, they should definitely not be of the find-the-safety-pins-in-the-bowl-of-rice sort. Remember that men prefer competitive games. Prizes can be a great motivator for keeping the games going. Here are a few suggestions:
- Don’t forget the drinks.
Just because the expectant mom can’t drink doesn’t mean you should leave out the alcohol. Have a cooler of beer on hand, or consider creating a signature drink just for the occasion (you can make it non-alcoholic for the Mom-to-be). If you do play games, they may be more fun after a drink or two.
- Give gifts for him and her.
Encourage guests to bring gifts for the couple that they need for the little one, as well as some things to specifically honor the expectant dad. Child-friendly sporting equipment or sports paraphernalia might be a great option, as well as items that will encourage the family to go hiking or camping together. Gift certificates for movie rentals or food delivery would certainly be welcome during their first months with the little one. Unusual or humorous gifts should also be encouraged. The bottom line is that you should consider the DTB’s hobbies and interests as well as the expectant Mom’s. And make sure that both parents take turns when opening the gifts!
- Favors should favor everyone.
Don’t forget to send your guests home with something nice to thank them for coming. Make sure that favors are gender neutral as well. Edible favors like personalized candy bars, brownie favor pops, or custom cookies are always a welcome treat. Or, you might make a mix CD with some of the expectant couple’s favorite music on it and a personalized CD label. Gift cards or movie tickets could also be great when presented in practical, monogrammed card holders.