You’re getting married soon and you can’t wait to spend the rest of your life with your fiance. If only you were rich and didn’t have to stress about money to pay for your big day! Well, what if there was a way to raise some cash to put toward your dream wedding? Enter: the Jack and Jill party. Here’s what you need to know about the event that’s becoming increasingly popular with engaged couples.
What is a Jack and Jill party?
A Jack and Jill party is a way for couples to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with both the bride and groom’s family and friends present while raising money for the wedding. This is done by charging guests a small admission fee, with all the cash raised going towards the ceremony.
While not particularly a conventional way to pay for a wedding, Jack and Jill parties are becoming increasingly popular. That’s not just because inflation is at a high, but also because couples want to celebrate their love together.
“Modern weddings are focusing on celebrating the couple and not just focusing solely on the bride. Grooms are becoming more involved in wedding planning and want to be included in all of the celebrations leading up to the wedding,” explains wedding planner and co-owner of Prive Event Design, Briana Hanson, tells Bolde.”Beyond wanting to include the Groom, our couples want to be inclusive of their Groomswomen and Bridesmen, brothers, and other friends who might not be traditionally invited. We’re finding that our couples want to have all of their friends and family come to celebrate all of these big wedding planning milestones instead of just the ladies in their lives.”
When do you throw one?
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to throw a Jack and Jill party between one and three months before the actual wedding. Planning a wedding is stressful, and trying to plan a party too close to the big day at the same time is bound to lead to even more anxiety. Not only that, but you want to give guests enough time to arrange travel if they’re coming from further away. Leaving time between the Jack and Jill and the wedding will make it easier for these guests to work out their schedules so that they can attend.
Who should you invite?
This is your party, so really, you can invite whoever you’d like. While some would suggest keeping the guestlist small — say 30 guests max — to keep the vibe intimate and the money-raising aspect less tacky, others see no problem with opening up the party to as many guests as you’d like.
It’s good practice not to invite anyone to your Jack and Jill party who doesn’t also have an invite to the wedding. Otherwise, they may feel offended that they were good enough to be asked to donate to your nuptials but not actually good enough to attend. Of course, it’s a different story if they’re unable to attend the wedding but would still like to come to the party. In this case, they should be welcomed.
How much “admission” should you charge?
You don’t want to be outlandish with the amount of money you’re asking guests to contribute. Somewhere between $15 and 25 is usually a safe amount to charge. That is if you’re holding a Jack and Jill party to raise cash for the wedding, of course. However, you shouldn’t bar guests who may not be able to afford that amount. It’s good practice to make the admission fee a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule.
That being said, you also want to make sure that you end the event with an actual profit. You and your future spouse will be responsible for paying all costs associated with your Jack and Jill party. So, you’ll need to consider this when planning. You don’t want spend more on food, entertainment, and the venue than the money you make from attendees.
What kinds of gifts should guests bring to a Jack and Jill party? Any to avoid?
If a Jack and Jill party is held simply to replace the traditional bachelor and bachelorette events, guests will bring gifts for the couple in lieu of paying a fee to enter. However, because it will be a co-ed event rather than a single-sex one, the gifts that are appropriate differ.
Bringing gender-specific gifts that would be inappropriate in mixed company should be nixed. For instance, buying the bride lingerie or vibrators or trying to surprise the groom with a stripper is obviously a bad idea. Instead, guests should opt for gifts that the couple can use, such as things that can be used in the home or even gift certificates for experiences they can enjoy together.
How to plan a Jack and Jill party
- Write out a guest list. As with all parties, it’s important to determine who you want to invite. Deciding right away how many people are coming and who’s making the cut will avoid awkwardness and frustration down the line. It will also allow you to plan food, the space you’ll need, and other elements of the party so that you accommodate everyone.
- Choose and book your venue. Deciding where to hold your Jack and Jill party is another difficult decision to make. If you’re using the event to make money for your wedding, you’ll want to choose somewhere that isn’t too expensive. Otherwise, that would negate the point. Consider renting a private room in a restaurant or a local hall that can fit the number of guests you’re inviting.
- Figure out food and drink options. Do you want to offer an open bar or will you buy a finite amount of alcohol? Will you serve a full meal or will your party have finger foods and canapes instead? Consider your guests’ expectations as well as the associated costs when planning your event.
- Do away with tired games. As Hanson advises, you’re better off going for a more relaxed vibe than over-organizing your Jack and Jill party. “We suggest doing away with the traditional games, schedules, and forced participation. Plan your Jack and Jill party as a casual open house celebration. This way, your guests can come and go as they please. Your guests will be at ease and you can have more intimate and meaningful conversations. A brunch buffet or a cocktail party are both great options for your celebration,” she suggests.
- Be a gracious host. This is a good rule to follow regardless of whether or not you’re trying to raise wedding cash. Do everything you can to make the event an enjoyable one for your guests. Make sure you mingle with everyone, thank them for coming, and be gracious for any gifts or money you receive, no matter how small. If you follow this advice, your Jack and Jill party will go off without a hitch.