6 dos and don'ts for hosting a Jack and Jill party

6 dos and don'ts for hosting a Jack and Jill party

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6 dos and don'ts for hosting a Jack and Jill party

You've said "Yes!" to the proposal, set a date and booked a venue, and now you're on a mission to find the perfect cake for the big day, only to realize that your budget isn't stretching quite as far as you thought it would.

Many engaged couples who find themselves in this situation opt to throw a Jack and Jill (also known as a Stag and Doe) in an effort to raise some extra money for their wedding. But how do you throw a successful Jack and Jill and avoid the less-than-flattering cash-grab stereotype?

 Elise Schmitz, owner of Toast Special Events, offers six simple dos and don'ts for throwing a classy (and profitable!) Jack and Jill.

1. Do be creative
Make the actual event memorable and unique, says Schmitz. "I have had clients do a citywide scavenger hunt ending with a party in the evening," she says.

Planning a fun, engaging activity for a Jack and Jill will help people overlook the ticket price, she explains. Other possible and affordable Jack and Jill activities could include whisking guests away to the family cottage, organizing a friendly football tournament or introducing a karaoke machine into the mix.

2. Don't overdo it
Many people who throw a Jack and Jill in addition to other pre-wedding events are greeted with controversy. Schmitz advises couples to choose either an engagement party or a Jack and Jill – not both.

"Have a maximum of two pre-wedding events," says Schmitz. Otherwise your guests will start to experience wedding fatigue, especially if you invite the same people over and over again to multiple showers and parties. This sort of celebratory excess can quickly brew feelings of resentment among guests – not to mention cost them a small fortune. Remember, less is always best.

3. Do give your guests warning
A big Jack and Jill faux pas is expecting your guests to know exactly what the event is all about. To avoid disappointment, be transparent with your intentions.

"If you are running a cash bar, mention what the prices will be on the invitations and tell guests whether there will be food or not," says Schmitz.

If you're selling tickets to the event to offset your wedding costs, be sure to mention that gifts are not expected. All of these details will help your loved ones understand the purpose of the event and to not think of you as greedy.

4. Don't have great expectations
Selling drink tickets is not the key to obtaining an enormous fortune, so don't go into your own Jack and Jill expecting to raise enough money for a Hollywood-style celebration.

"Never plan your wedding events around what's in it for you," says Schmitz. While it might be fun to guess how much money you'll raise, you will most likely be disappointed and resentful if you set your hopes too high.

5. Do plan smartly

"So many times the bride and groom only consider stocking up the bar and then offer nothing but chips and salsa for guests," says Schmitz. "Definitely throw in some sandwiches, cupcakes, veggie platters and finger-food snacks to keep appetites satisfied."

Schmitz also advises decorating the venue nicely to make your Jack and Jill feel like a proper celebration rather than just a quick money grab hosted in somebody's basement.

Adding a theme can also work wonders and entice friends to attend. Schmitz suggests pairing your Jack and Jill with an upcoming holiday, such as Halloween, St. Patrick's Day or Canada Day. Chances are your guests would already be planning to spend some money on bar covers and drinks, and will be inclined to celebrate two occasions at once instead.

6. Don't be cheap
Yes, everyone who purchases a ticket to your Jack and Jill will know that you're a little short on cash for your actual wedding, but that doesn't mean you can cheapen your event with tacky decorations and bad booze.

Avoid dollar-store decor and opt for some easy, affordable DIY crafts instead to add an infusion of chic style. Sure, these details may cost you some time, but if people are helping to pay for your wedding, what's a few weekends spent cutting ribbons and tying bows?

Also resist the urge to charge a lot for tickets. "Do not make the entrance ticket price over $15," Schmitz wisely advises – it's a major turnoff.

Also, be sure to keep yourself classy throughout the event by not drinking too much at your own party. The last thing anyone wants to see is an alcohol-induced meltdown where the bride succumbs to her bridal stresses and whimpers about not being able to afford her dream centrepieces. Keep it together and make your guests feel that their contributions are deeply appreciated.

Plan the most beautiful wedding you can imagine with expert tips and helpful advice from our special wedding planning guide


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6 dos and don'ts for hosting a Jack and Jill party