In the midst of wedding planning, you might find yourself focused on all the details and time it will take to design the perfect ceremony and reception. While giving so much attention to your big day, you may forget about the handful of pre-wedding parties that will be held in your honor. From engagement parties to the rehearsal dinner, it’s time to clear your calendar for these fun and important celebrations.
Of course, it’s exciting, but we know it can get a bit overwhelming. If you need some help with your pre-wedding party event details and timelines, we’ve got you covered.
An engagement party is a fun way to kick off the pre-wedding parties and to formally “announce” and celebrate your upcoming nuptials. Typically, an engagement party takes place within one to three months of your engagement and is hosted by the couples’ parents. Invitations are often extended to immediate family and a small group of friends, all of whom should also be invited to the wedding.
Bridal Shower or Couples’ Shower
A bridal or couples’ shower most often occurs between a few weeks and three months before the wedding. It frequently takes place during the day, over brunch or lunch, or you can stray from tradition and opt for a fun evening event, like a backyard BBQ party.
Traditionally, a bridal shower is a ladies-only celebration to honor the bride. Guests enjoy a meal and, often, some games, and the bride then opens her shower gifts in front of everyone. However, times are changing, and you can join others who are opting for a couples’ shower, where you both celebrate together with guests of all genders.
There aren’t any clear-cut guidelines regarding who should host this event, but close friends and/or family of the bride typically host the traditional bridal shower—generally members of the wedding party. If a couples’ shower is planned, it is usually hosted by family and/or friends close to both of you and your spouse-to-be.
Bachelor Party and Bachelorette Party
Bachelor and bachelorette parties involve a night out or weekend trip where each of you celebrates with your groomsmen and bridesmaids. In most cases, the maid of honor and best man heads up the party planning. You can also have one big, combined celebration with your entire wedding party.
Traditionally, bachelor and bachelorette parties have been known as “wild” nights out, but nowadays, they typically reflect the guest of honor’s personality and can range from relaxing spa visits to cooking classes to camping trips. If it’s more your style, you can still celebrate with a night of clubbing and bar hopping!
These exciting pre-wedding events typically fall around three to four months before the wedding. However—there’s no rush! It can be hosted a month or two before the big day as long as it works for your schedules. If possible, avoid planning for it to take place during crunch time (i.e. 1-2 weeks before the wedding), as you and your future spouse will most likely have a long list of loose ends to tie up.
Welcome parties are often hosted by the couple (or the parents!) before a weekend-long or destination wedding. Usually cocktail party style, this event is a warm, friendly way to welcome your out of town guests and kick-off the weekend’s festivities. If you’re having a destination wedding, you can plan it several days before the big day. However, if your wedding is local, try to plan it for the day/night before—you can even pair it with the rehearsal dinner.
The rehearsal dinner, usually hosted by parents, is held the night before the wedding as the final hurrah for the wedding party, family, and guests. The dinner is held immediately after the wedding party’s rehearsal for the big day. This pre-party celebration is a great way to serve your loved ones a meal the evening before your wedding, and a relaxing way for your guests to meet and mingle. Plus, it’s an opportunity for close relatives or friends to give speeches that there may not be time for during your reception.
It can be an intimate celebration, including just close family members and the wedding party, or a larger event for the entire guest list. You can find a happy medium and enjoy the actual dinner with immediate family members and the wedding party, and then invite the rest of the guestlist for after-dinner drinks or dessert.
Planning a wedding is a balancing act, and it’s hard to keep track of everything. Have a timeline and details on what to expect is always a good place to start. Whether it’s pre-wedding parties, dress shopping, choosing vendors, wedding planning checklists, or inspiration for the small details, we have a resource to help you as you plan your big day. You can reach our event coordinators by email or phone at 877-545-1002.