Move over, mama: Expectant moms aren’t the only ones ready to celebrate new parenthood. According to Pinterest, the advent of celebrations for fathers-to-be (a.k.a. dadchelor parties) is gaining traction. Since 2015, the ideas for male showers are up 149 percent, as guys and girls alike scour the web for memorable ways to countdown to their baby’s arrival. (Evite too has noted an uptick in man showers, giving further credence to the belief that this trend may be more than just a passing fancy.)
So, how did the big shout-out for dads-to-be begin to take hold, and what are some special ways to help mark the occasion? We talked to an event planning expert to find out what’s hot when it comes to dadchelor parties, as well as a first-time father who shared his story of his last hurrah before becoming a dad. Their tips and tricks will offer plenty of inspiration for any would-be party planners.
Let’s Get This Party Started
While moms-to-be are known to have a baby shower before the arrival of their first child, the dad party phenomenon is a relatively new concept. Stephanie Ragolia, owner of Celebrate Event Planning (www.celebrateevents.net), attributes this to the increasing number of men who are sharing more of household tasks and the everyday routine of raising a child. “There is the expectation and understanding that partners are going to be truly splitting responsibilities—and hence, the need to celebrate and prepare the new dad for what lies ahead,” she says. “The shift from traditional baby showers for expectant mothers, to unique gatherings that focus more on the interests of the mother and/or couple spurs the interest in creating a fun and different ‘shower’ for the father.”
Possible themes for a dadchelor party range from casual (a day of volleyball at the beach, followed by a barbecue), to a planned outing such as a sporting event, comedy club, concert or cigar bar. The main idea, notes Ragolia, is “anything that allows the father to enjoy an activity with his friends—something that gets harder to find time for once children arrive.”
For Jay Becraft of Houston, Texas, having a memorable get-together with far-flung friends preceded his foray into first-time fatherhood. He credits his wife for coming up with the idea of him heading back to his home town of Baltimore to see family and friends before his daughter’s arrival. “At the time, we assumed my weekends with friends would come to an end (at least for the foreseeable future), so it made sense to have a relaxing weekend to clear my mind before the big day,” he recalls. “I am so glad I went, too.”
While the weekend wasn’t formally planned out (other than booking hotel and airfare), Becraft was pleasantly surprised when his best friend picked up the tab during dinner with his buddies at his favorite Italian restaurant. “It made me feel so loved that my friends would take such care of me on the eve of my daughter being born,” he muses. The evening was capped off with dessert, after-dinner drinks and plenty of great memories.
For those party goers looking to commemorate this occasion with some whimsical gifts (after all, a standard shower registry of onesies and nursing pads just won’t cut it), Ragolia offers some playful takes on gift-giving: a dad’s favorite drink wrapped creatively in a diaper, with the most creative job winning a prize, a set of days of the week T-shirts featuring a funny quote about fatherhood supplied by the guests, or a DVD of a favorite television series or movie “to watch when the baby is awake at 2 a.m. or to enjoy at any time since new parents never get out.”
No matter how creative your gift or weekend plans, when it comes to celebrating impending fatherhood, Becraft offers some words of advice: “Make sure your spouse is on board. I don’t think I would have done anything like taking a weekend away from my pregnant wife unless she was 100 % behind the idea.”
“Also, make sure that whatever you do, do it with enough wiggle room in the pregnancy that you’re not out of town or unavailable in the event she goes into labor early,” he adds. “I had a great time but it would have been even more special, had I done it a couple of weeks earlier.”