While it’s tradition to host a baby shower just for the mom-to-be, more and more expectant dads are getting involved in the celebration. Baby showers for fathers-to-be — affectionately called “man showers” or “dadchelor parties” — are trending across the country.
But there’s another trend brewing in the baby shower circuit: coed celebrations.
Increasingly, expectant couples are throwing parties for their mixed group of family and friends. Whether you’re one of those couples or a third party host, here are some tips to help you plan the perfect coed baby shower that everyone will enjoy.
1. Create a balanced guest list.
Throwing a successful coed baby shower starts by fine-tuning the guest list. Make sure it reflects friends and loved ones from both sides of the family. It should be people close to both mom- and dad-to-be.
Once the guest list is ready to be finalized, the parents-to-be should sit down and decide together whom they would like to attend. This should make both parents feel comfortable and guarantee a diverse crowd.
2. Find a location that fits everybody.
When scouting for the right site to host the baby shower, think about both of the expectant parents’ interests. Find a middle ground or a way to bring those interests together.
If mom-to-be likes the outdoors and dad-to-be is a theater buff, look for a community playhouse with a backyard space to rent. Or if both parents-to-be are into Southern barbecue, throw together a backyard roast.
Not into the frills? Then find a neutral location that is welcoming of everybody, like a local community center or family-friendly restaurant.
3. Think unconventional.
Don’t be afraid to be eccentric when deciding on a theme, whether it’s color or a whole concept.
You could build a theme out of the expectant parents’ favorite childhood show (think: “Sesame Street”) or put your twist on a classic (think: dinosaurs instead of safari animals). Or you could decorate using items in the parents-to-be’s three favorite colors.
And even if you choose traditional pinks or blues, you can still use the colors in an unconventional way by adding bold accents (think: pink with forest green or blue with burnt orange). If it appeals to both mom and dad, it’s likely to appeal to everyone.
4. Craft the perfect invitation.
Once a theme is chosen, the invitation should follow suit. But if not, find an invitation that’s contemporary and has wide appeal. Mix and match nontraditional colors like yellow or taupe with offbeat fonts and atypical card shapes.
Pay close attention to the wording of the invitation. Be careful to note that it’s a couple’s baby shower and list both mom and dad as the guests of honor. You could also trade in “shower” for the more neutral term “celebration.”
And when you address the invites, write out the full names of each guest, especially in the case of couples.
5. Prepare a feast.
Ditch the finger foods and go big with the food. While women and men equally find certain grub delicious, like barbecue and hamburgers, the food choice should be based on what the parents-to-be crave.
That could be Thai, Italian, or Caribbean fare, either in a buffet or served. Or you could get the guests involved with the celebration by throwing a potluck party. By throwing a potluck, you will receive diverse dishes that will appeal to a mixed crowd.
6. To game or not to game?
Games are a hit-or-miss part of any baby shower. Games aren’t necessary to have for a fun celebration, but they can help liven up the room.
If you choose to play babycentric games, remember to have the input of both expectant parents. Are mom- and dad-to-be big “Stars Wars” nerds? Then create a Darth Vader mask that you can pass around while guests try to guess the type of baby food in a jar.
Or you could skip the games altogether and let the guests mingle with each other.
7. Favor this, favor that.
It’s tradition to give a parting gift to baby shower guests. Nontraditional items like monogramed candy bars, personalized pencils, and a deck of cards are also becoming popular.
For coed baby showers, find a mom- and dad-to-be-approved favor that is neutral and appeals to all guests. To get a sense of what a mixed crowd would like, conduct a poll through the invitations.
Annamarya Scaccia is a freelance multimedia journalist who has reported extensively on public health issues including reproductive rights and sexual health. Her work has appeared in the New York Daily News, Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly, and at RollingStone.com, City Limits, RH Reality Check, Next City, and the Raw Story. Follow her on Twitter at @annamarya_s.