Your engagement isn’t just about planning a wedding. It’s also about taking the time to celebrate you and your future spouse as a couple. Parties and other pre-wedding events bring loved ones together and afford the opportunity for friends and family to shower the couple with gifts and love. But are there any events that can be considered too much? Which parties are traditional and which are just a trendy fad that’s sure to upset people? The following guide has got you covered with all the details you need to know about the big events leading up to the wedding.
Whether you’ve been together a day or a decade, many people want to celebrate your actual engagement. This party is usually thrown by the family. Sometimes it’s held right after the actual engagement, but often it will just fall within a few months of the engagement. It’s an intimate affair where loved ones get to crowd around the couple, “ooh” and “ahh” at the engagement ring, and ask a million questions about the wedding preparations. This is a great time to get your bridesmaids and groomsmen together as well so they can meet if they don’t know one another. It is also a good time to start introducing your families to their new extended family members.
Some party-goers might want to be gifts to the engagement party, but don’t be surprised if no one does as it is not part of the tradition for this event.
Bridal Shower or Couples Shower
It’s common for the bridesmaids to get together and throw a bridal shower within a few months of the wedding to celebrate the bride-to-be. Gifts are usually part of a bridal shower, so brides should make sure to have a small registry of favorite items and must-haves for the home to give the attendees an idea of what to bring. These gifts should be simpler and cheaper than anything you want to put on your wedding registry. Some brides may even have different themes for their showers, like a specific lingerie shower or one for kitchen items.
Sometimes a bride gets lucky and a few different groups of people want to throw her a shower. Even if you’ve already had one, there’s no need to turn down a chance to get loved ones together and receive special gifts! Just make sure no one feels as though they are obligated to attend or contribute to a bridal shower. This financial strain has spark many a fight between brides and their bridal party. Gifts are a nice courtesy, but they shouldn’t ruin friendships.
As society takes steps to be more inclusive and progressive, it has become more common to do a shower to celebrate the couple instead of just the bride. A couples shower is usually thrown by the couple’s best friends and/or family a few months before the wedding, just like a bridal shower. This can also can have a theme if you want. Some couples enjoy being showered with new bottles of alcohol to stock their wet bar while others enjoy getting gifts that fit both their needs like a new vacuum.
The famous bachelor party doesn’t have the best reputation, but it’s traditionally a wild, fun time for the groom-to-be! The groomsmen and/or the best man usually plan this party and set it a few weeks before the wedding (contrary to the movies where the party is many times the night before the wedding, leaving the groom a bit hungover at the altar). Of course, a real bachelor party doesn’t have to be like the movies. Some guys just want get their best friends together for a campout, a hike, or weekend getaway where they just have fun doing things like going to a concert or sporting event.
Bachelorette parties have the same bad reputation as bachelor parties, but again, you don’t have to worry about ending up on “Girls Gone Wild” if that’s not your style. This is usually put together by the bridesmaids and/or the maid of honor a few weeks before the wedding. Traditionally, it’s a time for the bride to sow her wild oats before getting hitched. Of course, most parties just aren’t that out there. Many women choose to get together with their best girlfriends for a spa weekend, a trip to the wine country, or an old fashioned slumber party.
Bridesmaid Brunch or Luncheon
It’s not uncommon for the bride and her bridesmaids to get together for a small celebration the week of the wedding. The bride or her mother usually throws this party for the bridesmaids as a “thank you” for all they’ve done getting everything ready for the big day. The bride usually gives her girls gifts for standing by her side on this day. This is also another great opportunity for bridesmaids to get to know one another, for the bride to catch up with her family, and share funny stories of friendships. A group of women together sipping mimosas at a bridal brunch is often a highlight of the week leading up to the wedding. This is a time for the bride to just relax with her girls and enjoy a stress-free party in the middle of the wedding planning chaos.
The rehearsal dinner is really an excuse to eat a big meal and go over the rough draft of the wedding with those involved. This dinner is traditionally planned by the groom’s family and held the night before the wedding. The dinner brings together immediate family with the bridesmaids, groomsmen and anyone in the wedding. Some couples invite more than just those in the wedding while other couples stick to the basics to cut back on costs.
This doesn’t have to be a formal event. It can simply be a time to get everyone together for one last hurrah before the big day. You can choose to have a big pizza party if you don’t want a fancy sit down dinner. It’s really up to each couple. Some host the party at their home while others go to a restaurant. The best thing to remember is this dinner shouldn’t put a shadow over your wedding reception.
All of the parties and events leading up to the wedding should just be a time of fun. The bride and groom need the chances to let loose and leave the stress of planning a wedding. Let others celebrate your love and just have a good time basking in the pre-wedding glory.