Once upon a time, brides came with free gifts called dowries. The idea was to make sure the groom had a little something to start with when he began running his own household -- things like money, tableware and new sheets. That was fine if you were rich, but it was awful if you were poor. How could you attract a husband when all you had to offer was love and a set of wooden bowls? What if marriage to the girl down the street came with silverware and a milking goat? How could you compete with a free goat?
Bridal showers to the rescue! These showers were originally parties where friends and relatives could "shower" a bride with all the equipment she'd need for setting up a house.
As dowries faded in popularity (good riddance!), the bridal shower stayed, making sure that new generations of brides were supplied with the gravy boats and steak knife sets that everyone needs but no one thinks to buy on their own. The shower is a practical tradition that's recently experiencing a new twist -- the couple's shower.
Rather than exclusive girls-only events, society is beginning to let the groom in on the fun.
The Couple's Shower
What exactly is a couple's shower? Basically, it means the groom's invited. As you may have noticed, "groomal" showers don't seem to exist for the moment, though if you feel like spearheading that movement, more power to you. The world can always use a few more reasons to have a celebration.
The core premise of the couple's shower is a bridal shower for the couple rather than just the bride. Run properly, the groom is hanging out somewhere, either honored equally alongside the bride or somewhere in the background quietly sipping a mimosa. It's a new tradition, so many of the details are still up in the air, but the point is that he's physically in the picture.
Because couple's showers are so new, there are a few more things to consider when planning one. Should gifts be for the bride, the groom or both? Should it be couples only, or can singletons come? Is this just a shower for the couple's friends, or should their families be invited, too? The way a host interprets the couple's shower can shake up the party a little.
The couple's shower can also spell disaster in some cases. Coming up next are some reasons why this type of party might not be the right choice for you.
Cons of Throwing a Couple's Shower
Couple's showers aren't for every couple. A new batch of problems springs up when you throw testosterone into the mix. What kind of presents should guests give? Is it weird to present the bride with sexy underwear in front of her fiance? Doesn't that ruin the surprise?
Traditionally, female parties can get awkward for the groom if he's only tagging along. And why would you want to take attention away from the bride in the first place? Her future husband's probably great, sure, but now is the time to smother the bride with some lady-gifts.
Finding gifts for one person is hard, but turn it into a gift for a couple, and you can end up with a grey mishmash of bread machines and forgettable mug sets. Despite the fact that the bride and groom are about to be joined together forever, they're still different people.
And by the way, if the happy couple wants to throw a party to celebrate their love while getting tons of presents from friends and family, they've already got that. It's called a wedding. Let the bride keep her shower.
Or not. Next up, some reasons why it might actually be a good idea to scrap the bridal shower and let the groom in on the fun.
Pros of Throwing a Couple's Shower
On the other hand, throwing a couple's shower has a couple of very distinct advantages. The first, of course, is swag. Depending on how inventive your friends are and how well they know you, a combined gift-receiving opportunity might be the perfect time to score a few more expensive accoutrements that you can both use to set up a house, like a flat-screen TV or a new milking goat. Letting in male relatives, other couples and supportive chums means a higher present volume.
A couple's shower can also save the bride from a boring time and give her an excuse to invite all her friends, not just girlfriends and female relatives. Besides, a bridal shower may feel like being forced into a prefab gender role where a woman's job is to cook and look pretty. It's 2010. Husbands and wives are partners for life. They should get to go to parties together.