Updated: Jun 21
If you are in the wedding party of any of your friends weddings, you know that the next several months are going to be busy and maybe even exhausting, but yet so rewarding. Be sure to keep all of your parties and gathering straight with this guide.
First things first...
The Engagement Party
Traditionally, the engagement party is hosted by the bride’s parents, but anyone can host it. These parties vary from informal to formal events including brunch, lunch, dinner, picnics, or cocktail parties at a restaurant or a private home.
Typically, the formal engagement announcement is done with a toast by the father of the bride. Guests are not expected to bring gifts to the engagement party, but if they do the couple should open them in private. No one should be invited to the engagement party if they are not going to be on the invite list for the wedding.
The Bridal/Wedding Shower
What’s the difference between a bridal shower and a wedding shower? A bridal
shower is just for the bride while the wedding shower is for the couple together. Guests bring gifts that will provide the couple items that will be needed to set up their home. Typically, the host sets up games and activities to do during this event.
The Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties
The bride and groom’s last hurrah. Some unique ideas may include camping, golfing, fishing, skiing, or a sports night in a luxury stadium box. You could also do a spa day, limo ride to dinner, go to a theater or spend a weekend in a hotel in the bride’s or groom’s favorite city.
Many couples are opting out of the bachelor and bachelorette parties or having more laid back gatherings with their friends. (My sister and I went laser tagging with our mom, aunt and cousin when she got married and it was a BLAST!)
The Bride’s Luncheon
The bride’s luncheon is a thank you from the bride to her bridesmaids, typically held on the same day as the rehearsal dinner or the Sunday before the wedding. The bride may choose to also invite sisters and mothers of hers and the groom.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is held immediately after the wedding ceremony rehearsal and is typically hosted by the groom’s parents. This event includes all of the wedding party and their significant others, the couple’s parents and grandparents as well as the officiant. The bride and groom should give their gifts to their attendants at this gathering.
The After Party
Although the after party isn’t a pre-wedding festivity, it is still important to mention. The after party is held after the ceremony and reception with only selected guests notified about the location so that the couple is not charged for going over their time at the reception location. This can be held at a local restaurant, bar, nightclub, or even a private house.