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Actually, the term can mean a few different things (some are x-rated) but here we are going to focus on Jack and Jill parties as they relate to weddings!
1. The bride and groom are both guests of honor (thus the name).
2. The event is not usually a surprise – the couple may even be involved in the planning.
One type of Jack and Jill wedding event is the Jack and Jill shower (in fact there are also Jack and Jill baby showers, too). Contemporary couples think to themselves, ‘why should the bride have all the fun?’
This mixed shower is also great for couples who share the same group of friends or brides who have lots of male friends. The traditional dainty pastries and semi-formal clothing of a bridal shower is replaced by a barbeque, picnic, or house party with blender drinks, beer, and food that will appeal to everyone.
Gifts are ‘his and hers’ items or things that will appeal to both of them, or may be intended to tie in to the party’s theme. Sometimes cash gifts are requested but this isn’t very common and is not really appropriate (requesting gift cards is more acceptable) – see our etiquette tips below for more exceptions to this rule.
Again, these parties work well if the couple shares the same group of friends. If not, make sure the bride’s friends and the groom’s friends will mix well together (this isn’t always the case).
The venue for this type of Jack and Jill may also be a house party or barbeque, but could also take place at a bar or even take place over a weekend excursion of some kind (camping, renting a houseboat, trip to Las Vegas…).
More recently, the Jack and Jill party has been used as an event to raise money for the couple’s wedding expenses. Today many couples pay for their own weddings rather than receiving a budget from the bride’s parents. The maid of honor and best man (or some other family/friend) organizes the event and all proceeds go towards the wedding (or honeymoon) budget. In some cases, the bride and groom organize the event themselves.
Examples: A casino night, a sports tournament (golf, foozball), or a poker tournament. Other options: guests pay a flat fee for drink tickets and a chance to win door prizes at a bar or organizers put a package together for an outing (refreshments, chartered bus, tickets to a concert or game) and build in a profit margin. Popular games for fundraisers are: casino-style games (with play money and prizes for the biggest winners), 50-50 draws, and coin tosses. Wine lotteries can also raise a lot of money (if friends and family are all wine drinkers).
It is more appropriate to organize a fun event to pay for a wedding than to directly ask family and friends for money, unless the event is raising money for one specific aspect of the event. For example, asking guests not to bring gifts but placing a jar at the Jack and Jill party for donations to the couple’s honeymoon fund is okay. Asking guests to come to the party with extra bottles for the reception so that the couple can provide an open bar might also work. Asking for cash to pay for the wedding rings is not appropriate – these items should be paid for by the wedding couple or their families. Likewise, raising money for anything considered overly extravagant (an ice sculpture, release of doves, etc) would be in poor judgment – it’s important to remember that attending a wedding can already be quite expensive: guests often have to pay for travel expenses, lodging, appropriate attire, the wedding gift, etc.
1. A nursery rhyme
2. A cash register.
3. Slang term for the drug Ecstasy.
4. A bathroom that connects two bedrooms.
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