Bachelor and bachelorette parties used to symbolize the end of an era for engaged couples. Once they got married, the social rules changed, and fun with friends was not allowed when they returned home after the honeymoon. No longer would the bride be able to meet her friends for Saturday morning manicures—she's a wife now! And the groom was expected to say a sorrowful goodbye to his weekly poker nights with the boys—he's a husband now! So the pre-wedding raucous night on the town each would experience—the bride with her girls, the groom with his guys—was justified. They represented the last hurrah for the soon-to-be newlyweds.
Thank goodness that madness has changed, and today married couples lead pretty much the same social lives they did before the wedding day. The bachelor and bachelorette parties, however, have remained. Though they're still primarily either male-only or female-only events, it's becoming popular to throw a co-ed party, where both you and your partner are present. If you're thinking of hosting one, these are the things to consider.
Pro: You can skip the sash.
No one will expect you to wear a sash that says "Bride" because no one will expect him to wear one that says "Groom." So, if you're embarrassed by the thought of parading around town in something that screams "Won't be single for long," consider planning a co-ed party. Same goes for those cringe-worthy penis-shaped balloons and straws.
Con: You may disappoint some of your party.
Traditionalists will balk when men show up to what they think should be a girls-only get-together. And they'll complain—to you. Similiarly, guests who were expecting to meet guys during the expected girls-only pub crawl will be disappointed if everyone goes golfing or tubing instead.
Pro: There's room for friendly competition.
Guys against girls competitions are the highlight of the co-ed bachelor/bachelorette party and are always good for lots of laughs. You can look forward to things like a silly scavenger hunt or relay races.
Con: It may be an introvert's worst nightmare
Introverts might get shy letting loose in front of the opposite sex. If you or your groom have a close pal who you know will feel uncomfortable in a mixed setting, it might be best to keep things separate.
Pro: You're there for his fun.
While both the bride and groom should be able to trust their significant to remain faithful at their pre-wedding party, it can nonetheless be a nerve-wracking experience. You don't have to worry that he'll misbehave at his bachelor party when you're there for it.
Con: You'll have less time with the girls.
It sounds obvious, but remember: A co-ed party means you'll have less time for your girls. That means you're giving up the chance to enjoy some serious girl bonding with your closest pals.
Pro: The wedding party will get to know each other.
What's more fun than a wedding when the bridesmaids and groomsmen are best buds? A joint bachelor/bachelorette party is a super way for your friends and his to get to know each other, and may even make some matchups between the two groups. And if everyone is already chummy with one another, so much the better.
Con: It may feel focused on couples.
If most of your friends are dating or married to your groom's best pals, the singles on either side of the aisle could feel like they're crashing a couples' fest. Since you want everyone to feel included, a co-ed bash might not be right for this group.
Pro: You can mix and match.
Not totally sold on a co-ed party? Then here's a little good news: You can do a combination of traditional and new. Make the first part of the party girls-only and guys-only then meet up with the other group later.
Con: He'll steal your spotlight.
You love your husband-to-be, but you've been looking forward to being the center of attention. Now you'll have to share the spotlight with him. (Don't forget, you'll be co-stars at your wedding.)