Today’s bridal shower, rather than the traditional all-girls bridal shower or the men-only bachelor party, now centers around couples combining the their interests into one event and calling them “Jack and Jill” showers. After all, men have become more involved with planning weddings, and the mixed shower lends itself nicely to couples who share the same friends or brides who have lots of male friends. The traditional bridal shower was hosted by a relative and for the bride’s female family and friends. Games and food took a more feminine approach where special pastries or cakes were served and the bride “sat” in the seat of honor and opened gifts. Today, that bridal shower often is replaced with invitations to both male and female family and friends and usually hosted by a friend. The venue and food have changed to include barbeques, picnics, house parties and restaurant reservations with food and drinks that appeal to everyone. The venue can help set the tone for the shower. Many are held in someone’s home; however, there are many more options. For a more upscale party, consider reservations for brunch at a nice restaurant or a wine and cheese party. If looking for something more low-key, how about a sports bar or grill. Venues for the combined showers may even take place as weekend excursions. How about a weekend winery tour, particularly appealing if there are multiple wineries in your area. When planning for the co-ed shower, consider the likes, lifestyle, personality and incomes of the couple as well as their family and friends to make for a truly enjoyable event. The Jack and Jill showers are casual events meant to be both fun and creative. If there is a theme to the wedding or the honeymoon destination is known (beach wedding, a honeymoon in sunny Italy or Caribbean holiday, a cruise to Hawaii), consider using that same theme for the shower. Here are just a few ideas to consider:•Yard and garden party – If the couple has a house, how about lawn, garden, outdoor tools, lawn-mowing service and outdoor entertainment items.•Fitness Theme – Great for the couple who is health conscious or maybe who met during a 5K or other sports event… home gym equipment or a gift certificate for a local gym. •Potluck Theme – Everyone brings a dish to share and also a copy of their favorite recipe along with a kitchen item needed to create the dish.•Karaoke Theme – Guests participate in karaoke and gifts can focus on entertainment-related needs for a home.•Wine Theme – Suggest wines the couple enjoys for guests who also can bring wine-related gifts such as wine glasses and wine books. Consider hiring a sommelier to teach the guests about wine. The types of gifts also vary for the Jack and Jill showers. Gifts can be meant for the happy couple, gifts that might appeal to both, or as gifts for either the bride-to-be or the groom. The variations on the Jack and Jill shower offer many more options and ways of focusing on the happy couple rather than on each as an individual. Recently, the Jack and Jill party also has been used as an event to raise money for the couple’s wedding expenses. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding. With couples getting married at a later age, today many couples pay for their own weddings. All proceeds from the event go towards the wedding or honeymoon budget. These fundraisers are intended to raise money for the couple, but also to provide an evening of fun for attendees. For example… a casino night with different card games or a packaged outing to a concert or game. The idea is to keep the shower light-hearted and fun. You want people to get to know each other, renew friendships, and anticipate the upcoming wedding. Through all of this, the bride-to-be, the groom and the host/hostess should keep in mind that attending a wedding can be quite expensive for guests who often have to pay travel and lodging expenses, purchase a wedding gift, and other expenses to attend the wedding. For more ideas about Jack and Jill showers, be sure to attend The Eastern Shore Bridal Show on April 7 from 1 to 4pm at the Waterfront Silver Swan Bayside in Stevensville. We will have a bridal suite at the show with lots of ideas for you to consider.