8 Expert-Approved Couples Wedding Shower Themes
Joint wedding shower celebrations are the perfect way to modernize stiff, staid bridal showers. Just picture the typical garden party or tea party with tired games and occasionally awkward gift-opening (like unwrapping sexy lingerie from Grandma). "A joint couple's shower is a chance to have some fun and not rely on some of the stuffier themes that are common with the big day itself," says Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Think of these inclusive or coed events as departures from traditional rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties—and an avenue for the most creativity in wedding planning. Read on for a roundup of eight fun and crowd-pleasing party theme ideas, some classics and others more one-of-a-kind.
1. State Fair
If you're celebrating with a laid-back crew, try this fun, indulgent theme. Although commissioning a life-size butter sculpture of the marrying couple (a la the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair) might not be realistic, you can decorate picnic tables with red-and-white checked tablecloths and custom napkins from Etsy. For a downright festive feel, hire a local country band, plus a food truck or two (ideally, one that serves fried foods on a stick). To entertain guests, have everyone participate in a talent show or play a couple of carnival games—with winners receiving blue ribbons. If your budget allows, add on stilt walkers and a photo booth, suggests Madeline Raithel, Communications Specialist at Entire Productions.
2. Stock the Bar
A perennial theme, this type of shower is ideal for couples who entertain and have the space to stock alcohol and bar tools, says Leah Weinberg, Owner & Creative Director, Color Pop Events. If it's financially doable, host the event at a trendy or luxe hotel bar, and have napkins made with the to-be-weds' names. Hire a mixologist to make craft cocktails (including a specialty drink named after the couple) and to demo a few bar tricks. Or, have a sommelier conduct a short wine tasting. For the menu, think hors d'oeuvres and bar snacks that pair well with cocktails, like fried olives, cones of spiced nuts, and ham and cheese skewers. Instead of an assortment of shower gifts, ask everyone on the guest list to bring alcohol, tools, and glassware to outfit the couple's bar.
3. The "Wed" Carpet
Looking for a glam theme that gives your group an excuse to shave or shop for a new dress? Lay down a red runner leading up to the party entrance and ask a friend or family member to take pictures of arriving loved ones. Screen one of the couple's favorite films on a white wall (with the sound off, of course), and play a trivia game about recent popular movies. The winner (or everyone) takes home a chocolate Hollywood award statue. Serve a couple of flavored popcorns with cocktails, followed by a luxe dinner fit for the stars. If it's in the budget, think endive salad, filet mignon, and chocolate lava cake or a cupcake extravaganza. Don't forget the champagne!
4. BBQ Party
'Cue the celebration! Whether you host this type of shower at an actual barbecue pit, next to your backyard grill, or inside your kitchen, BBQ should be front and center (along with the marrying couple, of course). The menu is a cinch to plan: ribs, chicken, brisket, and sausage (try to include a veg option), coleslaw, and corn on the cob. For the meat, either serve the BBQ style closest to the party location (whether it's Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, or Texas) or include the full range. Don't forget to hire a country or bluegrass band, if it's in the budget.
5. The Great Outdoors
For couples whose idea of fun is strolling the aisles of an outdoor gear and sporting goods store, throw a hiking-themed shower. While a particularly scenic spot at a natural park would be the ideal spot, a local park would work well too. Serve up luxe hobo packs (like salmon, asparagus, and cherry tomato) and S'mores, but with artisan marshmallows and chocolate. Tell stories about the marrying couple around a roaring fire or set up a simple scavenger hunt (with clues about the guests of honor). Ask guests to bring nature-themed gifts, like camping and hiking gear, and fishing rods.
6. First Date
If the happy couple has a particularly sweet or unusual "meet cute" or first date story, consider making it the party theme. Think like a journalist and write down the who, what, where, when, and why of their tale; then bring these details to life in the party details. So, if the couple met at the New York Public Library, ask guests to bring their favorite books and place decorative lions at the party entrance. Or if they feasted on tacos at a Mexican restaurant on their first date, opt for a fiesta theme, complete with margaritas.
7. Honeymoon Destination
To gear the future newlyweds up for their honeymoon, why not throw a shower conjuring up the destination's key features? If Hawaii, throw a luau, complete with a whole roasted pig and leis for guests. For couples jetting off to Buenos Aires, serve steak and hire a tango expert to give the group a lesson in the seductive dance style. A trip to the Caribbean could mean a barbecue on the beach, with jerk chicken and tropical fruit salad; the limbo; and soca, calypso, or reggae music.
8. Waffle Brunch
Brunch is always crowd-pleasing—especially when it features waffles and Mimosas. Hire a chef to prepare a few batters (traditional, gluten- and dairy-free, and whole-grain), then serve them with a range of toppings, like preserves, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, and whipped cream. Offer loads of coffee and hire a trio for a special-occasion jazz brunch feel. DIY simple flower centerpieces, such as bouquets of sunflowers or daisies, for a perky look that will wake everyone up.