Barbecue and the Bridal Shower

Want the guys to attend for once? Add a barbecue to your bridal shower, and you'll have to beat 'em off with sticks.

In the modern era, a bridal shower doesn't have to be the segregated girls-only event that tradition once demanded of us. Nope, coed and couples showers are on the rise... and it's about time, too.

This lets us get back toward the everyone's-invited party atmosphere of the original medieval "bride's ale" celebration.

Of course, you've got to do something to shake the guys out of their normal mindset. Ordinarily, they might not be interested in what they consider a "ribbons and lace" event, possibly a little spicy but nothing like the free-for-all of a good bachelor's party. That's where barbecue comes in handy.

Cold Cuts Roasting on an Open Fire...

Nothing seems to draw men in like cooking stuff oven an open flame. Even guys who can burn water on the stove seem capable of adequately searing a steak or two...or at least, they're willing to try. It must be something in their genes, harkening back to the old caveman days, perhaps.

(No offense, gents. We love ya -- and your barbecuing skills!)

Invite with Care

To get the boys on board, involve all members of the bridal party in the planning, and tap the groom for ideas. Then be sure to send out man-friendly invitations that reflect your cookout theme in gender-neutral colors and language.

Incidentally, the term "shower" might not be the best choice here, because it may trigger some manly stay-away instincts. "Party" is always good for everyone, and you can use the term "celebration" if you want to get fancy.

The Party Itself

Continue the gender-neutral theme with your decorations. Fun is fine, but avoid frilly. You don't have to go too far -- for example, who's going to complain about a few stork images here and there? -- but put the brakes on the pastels and pinks.

As for activities, you've got plenty of choices. Badminton, a little volleyball, touch football, bocce or croquet (if, again, you're feelin' fancy), or just standing around sipping iced tea and chatting will work just fine. A diaper poker tournament, where everyone uses diapers for chips, is always fun.

Men love poker almost as much as they love charred meat.

An Engaging Twist

If you really want to get the guys involved, pull up multiple barbecue pits and let them each prepare their specialties. You can present this as a competition, or merely as a way for them to show off their skills. Encourage them to be creative.

Besides the expected triumvirate of beef, pork, and chicken, you might be surprised what unusual dishes the BBQ chefs come up with, from grilled desserts to wild game. Now, wouldn't those be some unique bridal shower gifts?

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