What is a Jack and Jill? What should I do for them?

Question I'm in a wedding party and I am confused as to exactly what a Jack & Jill is. I heard it is to raise money for the couple getting married, but when researching this it sounds more like a co-ed shower. Can you please clarify this for me?

Answer You are right on both accounts! Traditionally, a Jack and Jill was a great way to have a pre-wedding party while raising money for the engaged couple. Example: the wedding party would book a location and charge invited friends $5 for tickets to get in. The money would then be given to the couple. Another idea would be to have raffles during the party or charging for drinks (if you're hosting the party at a home, for instance). Invited guests usually included both males and females.

As with all things, people add their own spin to pre-wedding parties and Jack and Jills are no exception. Since then, they have evolved into many different forms and it really all depends on the engaged couple and what they like. Depending on how they are structured, a Jack and Jill can be like co-ed showers.

Nowadays, a Jack and Jill includes both males and females as guests. This works particularly well when the engaged couple are friends with both the 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' and would feel awkward about leaving one of them out if they were to have just an 'all-girl' or 'all-boy' party. Your party can be in any location you like: a bar, a restaurant, a home. The key is to gather friends together to have a good time.

Don't feel obligated to charge people tickets to get in. If you do, don't expect them to bring gifts (some may, but don't make it an expectation). Obviously, if guests are being charged admission, they will be expecting to go to a fun party so consider having a theme with props, food, games, door prizes, etc.

If you're not planning on charging people admission, that's great too! Guests will most likely ask you where the couple have registered and will most likely bring gifts. You can also have a theme with games and prizes too and your guests will love it! You can have simple raffles (e.g. guess how many kisses are in the jar for $1) as a way to raise a little token money for the couple.

Final questions to ask yourself: What do you think the engaged couple prefer? Would they like a more wild party type mood or would they prefer an early afternoon bbq? Are they more refined and would appreciate a wine and cheese party? Would they be offended by the idea of charging friends for admission? As part of the wedding party, what is your comfort level in raising money for the couple?