Where does the party end and the grubbin’ begin?


A co-ed shower is one thing, but a party where guests buy their way in and are expected to pay for drinks or activities once inside? Not on my watch. The Jack and Jill is a rather old tradition, as I discovered while reading Bachelor Party Confidential. Back in the days when $600 was a HUGE wad of cash, and many brides and grooms started out with absolutely nada, Jack and Jills helped the new couple find their feet. But today, when so many young newlyweds already have a little something socked away (or at least steady jobs), the notion of holding a fête where the object is to rake in the bucks seems just a tad outdated.

The Jack and Jill, also known as the “Doe and Stag” or couples shower, it can bleed your wallet white. The best man and the maid of honor usually collaborate on this matrimonial mugging. They rent a hall — at their cost, not the bride’s — and sell tickets, usually for around $20. If you’re invited, but not planning to attend, you’re still expected to buy a few tickets. Just about everyone invited to the wedding gets roped into this one.

There’s a no-host bar, where a glass of wine costs $5 to $10, plus a series of gambling games and raffle drawings. If you win a prize, you’re expected to donate it to the happy couple. Win $50 at roulette, you’re supposed to hand that over, too. The entire bar profits, raffle proceeds and admission-ticket money goes to subsidize the honeymoon.

If that’s not enough, upfront and center in the hall is an artificial tree, the Money Tree, to which guests are expected to fasten envelopes full of cash and checks for the honeymoon.

So, let me get this straight. I’m to bring a present to the shower and then send a gift on ahead before the wedding, and I’m supposed to “subsidize the honeymoon?” Overkill, much? I understand that such parties can be culturally appropriate, but the individuals hosting them should be sensitive to the fact that some guests may be shocked and appalled at the idea. Me? I just can’t get behind it… a marriage license is not a license to grub for cash.

12 Responses to “Where does the party end and the grubbin’ begin?”

  1. lazydaisy says:

    i’d heard of “jack & jill” parties but had no idea what they were. sounds completely offensive, honestly…i can’t imagine any of my friends throwing something like that, but if they did, i have to admit that i’d probably start looking at them in a whole new light…

  2. C* says:

    That is simply ridiculous. As if the guests to a wedding don’t already have enough things to pay for. I understand where the tradition came from and all that, but now days more and more couples are waiting to get married and are well established. Granted, the extra $$ would be lovely, to force one’s wedding guests into such a thing is, in my opinion, akin to blackmail!

  3. Wendy says:

    Ugh, that whole idea is just disgusting to me. I’m sure everyone wishes they had more money to throw a bigger wedding or to go on a nicer honeymoon, but to ask for it (and expect it) from your guests just seems wrong. Surely there are plenty of less offensive ways to make and save money besides wringing it out of other people’s wallets. Get a temporary part-time job, make coffee at home instead of buying it, cut down on eating dinner out, etc.

  4. tto says:

    i soooo agree with you. getting married should have no other agenda than to celebrate the union of the couple. period.

  5. Bridey says:

    Yikes! Why does the concept of “living within one’s means” so often fly out the window when it’s time to get married?

  6. Toni says:

    I made the mistake of following your link about the shower cash grabs, and while I agree on that point, I just can’t get my head around some of her other missives. For example,

    Women who choose not to take their husband’s surname after marriage are not sexually attracted to them, and will likely be the one to initiate divorce.

    When a woman feels metaphysically submissive to a man, when she admires all the masculine qualities he exhibits and deems him worthy of submitting to, sexually speaking, she will gladly become “his” and take his name. This is the essence of femininity.

    Eep. (For the record, I changed my name, but I almost want to change it back after reading that.)

  7. Twistie says:

    If you want to see more wedding excesses – including more on Jack and Jill horrors – go check out etiquettehell.com. They have some terrifying stories of real couples who spent their weddings trying to make a profit rather than start their lives together with any semblence of dignity.

    You know, I had a shower. It was nice. My matron of honor threw it for me out of the goodness of her heart. It was held in her living room. About fifteen or so of my closest female friends came and brought me nice little gifts like hand towels, wooden spoons, and kitchen gadgets (we’re talking can openers and chip clips, not cuisinarts and stand mixers!) and we all ate some nice snacks provided by the hostess and cooked by her own fair hands, had some pleasant conversation, and shared a cup of tea. I’d have died of embarrassment if anyone had suggested a hall or selling tickets, let alone awarding people prizes and then stealing them back!

    I hate any attempt to squeeze money out of wedding guests. This monstrosity really seems to have gone beyond out of control.

  8. Melissa says:

    I’ve never heard of anything like this! If the bride and groom need money that badly, they could forgo the wedding and simply get married at city hall. Just an idea.

  9. HamiHarri says:

    te he he…it is pretty common where I went to high school – I’ve heard of friends raking in 5-6k! It is tempting, but my fiance and I opted, it is CLEARLY a money grab…but it pains me to think of the killer upgrades we could afford on our honeymoon…LOL

  10. My cousin specifically did not invite our other 21 cousins to her wedding because she knew they wouldn’t be able to come because of distance and expense and because she didn’t want them to think she was just hitting them up for a wedding present.

    (I was invited because I live in the same city she does.)

  11. We have a tradition where I live (and I have never seen it done anywhere else in Canada or world wide). It’s called a wedding social and is completely seperate from the wedding/showers/engagements parties/stags etc.

    Basically, it is a huge party put on for the couple. Anyone can come – there is no guest list. A good social can have 400-500 people there and the bride/groom will probably only know half of them. People who want to attend pay $10 for a ticket and then there is a cash bar (though still cheaper then drinks at the local bar) and live music or a dj for dancing. Basically, it’s like going to the bar for a party or to a graduation prom but the proceeds are given to the engaged couple. Here, they are a tradition and considered a great way to help a new couple get set up. Of course, we have socials for other things as well: we had one when my sister and her fiance moved away, for my aunt/uncles 25th anniversary to help them have a second honeymoon, or just for fun at halloween and valentines.

    BUT – asking someone to pay to attend a shower or other wedding event AND bring a gift as well? RUDE!!!! In fact, even expecting a gift is rude enough (unless it is a shower, where arriving without a gift is considered rude).