How to Throw a Great Co-Ed Baby Shower

how to plan a co-ed baby showerWhile throwing fathers-to-be their own "man showers" is a growing trend, so are showers that honor an expectant couple together by inviting their closest female and male friends. "To throw a great co-ed baby shower, you have to get rid of the kitsch," Lauren Haselberger, food and beverage manager at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois says. "The silly, frou-frou, run-of-the-mill games, like 'guess the number of pacifiers in the jar' or baby gift bingo aren't gonna fly as well in a mixed crowd. Whatever you would do for a regular social gathering with friends is what you'll want to do at a co-ed baby shower."

Here, your guide to throwing the ultimate shower both sexes will enjoy.

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The Invitations:

  1. Keep the guest list balanced by inviting the guys who are closest to both the mom- and dad-to-be. Future grandfathers, uncles, and college buddies alike! And when you address the invites to couples, include names of both wife and husband.
  2. From the get-go, you want to set a tone that speaks to all your invitees, so gender-neutral colors and themes is best. A photo of the happy expectant couple is a nice touch. (Both TinyPrints.com or SimplytoImpress.com have couples' baby shower sections.)
  3. Watching the wording of the invitations can be helpful, too. Instead of a "shower," you could call it a "celebration." Refer to both parents as your guests of honor.
  4. To prevent the event from erring too pink, frilly, or feminine in tone, consider a general party theme, like a luau, BBQ, or sports teams the parents-to-be root for.

The Food:

"'Baby'-sized finger foods, such as little quiches, mini-cupcakes, or tiny cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, may be old standbys at traditional baby showers, but for a co-ed crowd, it's best to get away from that," says Haselberger. A few recommendations ...

  1. Chicken wings: Not just loved and devoured by guests on Super Bowl Sunday!
  2. Pizza: A similar party staple beloved by the majority of guests at any party.
  3. Chips and dip: No fail hit for any party. Crowd-pleasing alternatives: Pita chips and hummus, crudite and dip, guacamole, etc.
  4. Alcohol, but specifically ... beer: This is the key to pleasing the guys, as those who've jumped on the co-ed shower bandwagon can attest.
  5. Mocktails: For the mom-to-be and any other expectant moms in attendance.
  6. Taco bar: A taco bar -- or if you're doing a catered event, maybe even a taco truck -- sets up a natural opportunity for mixing and mingling, notes Courtney Lutkus, event planner and owner of Simply Radiant Events in Southern California. It also allows guests to customize their meal.

The Entertainment:

"Traditional baby games may have men running for the door and other games simply won’t work," explains Lutkus. "However, games both men and women enjoy can be a great icebreaker." Still, giving guests the ability to opt in or out of games may work best for a co-ed group, as there will be those who are more interested in sticking with talking and mingling. If you do decide to play games, a few ideas:

  1. Guess the Beer in the Baby Bottle: Buy baby bottles and fill them with six different beers. Post a list with the names of the possibilities, and ask guests to guess which is which.
  2. Diaper decorating contest: Everyone can show off their artistic side -- or sense of humor -- by drawing with Sharpies on diapers for the newborn. Parents-to-be will love to look back on the messages and pictures.
  3. Diaper raffle: Who doesn't want to win a raffle? "Ask everyone to bring a bag of diapers, and if they do, they get a raffle ticket to win a prize," recommends Lutkus. You'll want to pick a prize that's suited both for men and women, of course, like an iTunes or restaurant gift card.

The Favors:

Baby bottles filled with jelly beans might not be your best bet in this case. A few other options:

  1. Candy or cookies: Think personalized candy bars. One popular option: Hershey bars with the "HE" colored blue, if the couple is expecting a boy, or "SHE" colored in pink, if the couple is expecting a girl. Brownies or customized cookies are always winners, too.
  2. More beer and wine: Those who have successfully thrown co-ed baby showers say favors like 40s of specialty beer and bottles of wine were a hit with guests.
  3. Seeds: Lutkus recommends a packet of seeds for everyone to take home and plant once the baby is born, as it serves as a constant reminder of the new little addition to the world.

 What do you think would make a co-ed baby shower a hit?

 

Image via Corbis

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