5 Things to Consider Before Throwing a Co-Ed Baby Shower

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the funnest baby shower of my life. No, it was not my own. Truthfully, my days of being inundated with parties celebrating close friends' first babies are pretty much over. I'm 38 years old, and most of my friends are either done with pregnancies or are having their third or fourth children, none of whom are likely to get more than some hand-me-down onesies and seriously used nursery furniture.

But one of my close friends from high school is about to become a 39-year-old first-time dad, and his siblings threw him and his wife a couples' shower that turned into one superfun party. Like, many-guests-might-not-remember-the-opening-of-baby-gifts kind of fun (granted, the gifts didn't come out until about 11 p.m.). While the evening was, in my mind, a total success, it wasn't what you'd call a traditional shower by any definition of the word. And while I think it was better for it, not every mom-to-be — the real guest of honor at any baby shower, whether her husband is there or not — will agree.

If you're debating whether to turn an upcoming baby shower into a co-ed affair, there are definitely some factors you should consider before sending out invitations. Here are five things to think about before you decide to include the dad, his buddies, and (most likely) a lot of beer.

  1. What does the mom-to-be want? If the expecting mama doesn't want the couples' shower you're hoping to throw, then it's game over. Remember: she's the person you're trying to please here. If she suggests making the shower co-ed — even if it's not your first choice — then that's the party you're planning. If it's your idea and she agrees, even better. Just make sure she gets that a couples' shower might not look like the sweetest party saved on her Pinterest page.
  2. When should the party start? Do you want this baby shower to be a booze-fueled party or a more traditional event? If you want to keep things kid-friendly, whether or not you decide to include children, a brunch or early-afternoon event is probably best. If it's a real party you're after, then get things started in the evening and don't include an end time on the invite, so people know they're free to keep the party going.
  3. Do the parents-to-be have a lot of couple friends? A couples' shower is at its best when the expectant parents have a group of married, engaged, and committed couple friends, meaning all parties involved know one another and have socialized in the past. Of course, some new love interests and some singles are great, too, but if most of the couple's friends are single and don't know one another, the party is going to feel more like a mixer than a celebration for their baby.
  4. What's the gift situation? Baby showers traditionally include present opening, but this is not a traditional baby shower. Consider having guests ship gifts directly to the parents, eliminating the pressure to open presents on site. If both parents do want to open presents at the party, make sure to keep that portion of the party short and sweet and think about picking up a gift or two that will appeal primarily to the dad.
  5. Are you prepared to beef up (literally) the food and drink offerings? Tea sandwiches and lemonade aren't going to cut it at a couples' shower. Instead, think heartier apps, barbecue, and a wide selection of beer and booze to make sure all your guests are well-fed and have plenty of drink options. It might be a shower for mom, but it's a party for everyone else.