Couple Showers

By Tawny Maya McCray

January 19, 2018 5 min read

Gone are the days of bridal showers and only celebrating the bride before she gets married. Today's couples are changing it up to celebrate both the bride and the groom before the big day.

A couple shower is more like a cocktail or dinner party than a bridal shower, according to an article on Female and male relatives and friends are invited. Gifts are still given, but they're for both the bride and groom, so they're generally a mix of home goods and guy-friendly gadgets.

"Overall, it's going to be geared to items they can both use for the home," says wedding journalist Stephanie Cain, a former editor at The Knot.

Cain says that because many couples now live together before getting married and already have the basics -- such as toasters and towels -- many couples are choosing themes for their showers. One popular theme is "stock your bar."

"It's a way to get new interesting barware, like glassware, jiggers and shakers," she says. "Or guests can bring special bottles that might be meaningful to you, so you can end up with some higher-end Champagnes or some single-malt scotches, not your typical well liquors that you're just going to buy at the liquor store."

Cain says that another theme is travel, where the couple is gifted with high-end luggage and things of that sort to prepare them for their travel adventures as a couple.

Other themes, according to The Knot, include an entertainment shower, where guests dress up as famous characters and bring such gifts as videos, CDs and theater tickets; a sports shower, where guests play basketball, tennis, Frisbee, volleyball or football and gift the couple with tennis rackets, snorkeling gear or skates; a pool party shower, where you set up relay races and diving board contests, cook hamburgers by the pool, and give gifts such as portable grills and plastic serving items, e.g., trays and martini glasses; or a games shower, where you play your own version of "The Newlywed Game" or "Jeopardy!" or host an "Iron Chef" cook-off and present the couple with board games or kitchenware.

"People are looking for ways to personalize their wedding experience," Cain says. "Picking the traditions that make sense to them and making it feel authentic to them as a couple."

Bridal showers were originally a gift-giving party held for the bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. "Traditionally, the bride was going to live with the husband's family and she needed to take things with her, and so it was her friends and family giving her all the things she would need to take with her," Cain says. "That's where the idea of a bridal shower came from, which is pretty old-school."

This new trend of couple showers is more with the times and represents a more accurate view of modern couples.

"Couples that have lived together for a while and have a lot of the same friends want to incorporate everybody into this party as opposed to it just being a bride thing," Cain says. "And with the legalization of same-sex marriage, those couples also feel like they want to participate in some of these traditions but also make them their own."

Some celebrities have jumped on the trend. Boy bander Nick Lachey and his bride, Vanessa Minnillo, had a joint wedding shower in West Hollywood, California, back in the summer of 2011. The couple hosted 140 guests with a glamorous cocktail party on the rooftop of the London Hotel. People magazine covered the event and divulged that guests enjoyed food prepared in chef Gordon Ramsay's kitchen, which included sliders, spring rolls and ahi tuna. They capped off the night with monogrammed cupcakes.

Talk show host Adrienne Bailon celebrated a coed Parisian wedding shower with her groom-to-be Israel Houghton in the fall of 2016. Again, People magazine covered the event, which took place at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood. The event featured Eiffel towers as part of the place settings, along with framed pictures of the happy couple. Bailon told the magazine she and Houghton got engaged in Paris, "so it made picking a theme easy."

Couple showers can range from a cocktail party at your favorite restaurant or bar to a backyard barbecue. "There aren't a ton of strict rules around things you can or cannot do with a shower," Cain says. "There can be a little more thought put into it, feeling like it has an identity and a personality as an event."

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