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How to Plan a Same Sex Bridal Shower

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Over the last few years I’ve seen and attended my fair share of bridal showers (including my own), for both straight and same-sex couples. They’re evolving and changing with modern times to become more customized to what each couple wants rather than fit into some cookie cutter definition of what a bridal shower should be.

In 2017, some of my closest friends and family threw us a beautiful shower before our wedding. It was tasteful, fun, and best of all it captured us as a couple without incorporating all of the cheesiness and gender normative staples you normally see at bridal showers.

Still, I see lots of people unsure of what to do when they’re asked to throw a shower for a same sex couple. Questions like “who’s the bride?” “will they both wear a dress?” and “should the shower be for both of them?” are tossed around every time. As an effort to gently guide you party throwers in an inclusive direction, here are a few tips on how to plan a same sex bridal shower.

Make the party gender inclusive.

Traditional wedding planning revolves heavily around gender stereotypes, and it’s important that the surrounding festivities cater to the couple’s authentic selves. If they’re both the more feminine type, they might want a ladies only shower. But if they shy away from being put into the girly girl box, create an open space by inviting whoever they want to share the day with. If one of the brides has besties who are mostly guys, wouldn’t she want them there? It’s her day after all!

Treat both brides as brides!

And grooms as grooms, and so on. So much surrounding wedding planning puts each partner in an engaged couple into the role of either bride or groom. While couples showers have been growing in popularity over the years, lots of bridal showers still revolve around the bride. If there are two brides, treat them like it! From the mimosas to the presents and all the rest of the spoiling, shower them both equally if they’re both attending. If each member of the couple is having her own shower, you can definitely customize it more to tailor the one you’re throwing it for. Otherwise, make sure they’re both in the hot seat.

Avoid stereotypical games.

Some brides might want to ditch games all together, but if you do have them, be respectful about it. Just because two women are getting married, doesn’t mean they’re both going to wear dresses. So skip that toilet paper dress game that we’re all not really crazy about anyway. You can also skip the ones like musical bouquet and pin the mustache on the groom. Stick to games that focus on the couple, like “who said it?” to get some fun trivia knowledge and “find the guest” to involve all of the shower goers!

Ask the couple what they want.

Take all of the above advice and throw it out the window if it doesn’t match up with what the couple actually wants to experience at their shower. Communication is important when planning parties for any wedding, but especially for an LGBTQ one. Chances are, there are at least some traditional elements that they want to avoid.

Because marriage equality has only been the law of the land for a few short years, couples are still trying to figure out what works for them. We only know what we’ve seen in the magazines we read and the movies we watch, which all caters to straight couples, so sometimes we don’t know what we want until we see it.

Don’t overthink it.

You’re throwing a part for two people you love very much. Forget about the dos and don’ts that are all over Pinterest and such. Use your instincts, because you were asked to throw a shower to celebrate the love of two people who know and trust what you’ll do for them. Keep it true to the spirit of the couple, and you really can’t go wrong!

Beth McDonough

Beth McDonough, Certified Stepfamily Coach, is the owner and founder of The Inclusive Stepmom where she has taken thousands of stepmoms from hopeless to happy through 1:1 coaching, group coaching, and her signature Calm Over Chaos course. She is also the co-host and co-founder of the annual Stepmom Summit.

Beth specializes in being a child of divorce, LGBTQ+ dynamics, being a childless stepmom, infertility, dealing with the ex in a small town, and strengthening stepfamilies through focusing on your relationship with your partner. Her work has been featured in NPR, Good Morning America, StepMom Magazine, Stepparent Magazine, SheKnows Parenting, BabyCenter, Stepmomming, Stepmomz, and ParentMap.