Pre Wedding Parties
There aren't many social events that can top a wedding and the wedding reception is really when the fun begins.
Let's not forget about the parties that precede the wedding, the engagement party, the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the wedding showers and the rehearsal dinner. These pre-wedding parties can be great fun, too. Here is a run-down of each:
The Engagement Party
A great way to announce the upcoming nuptials is with an engagement party. Traditionally, the parents of the bride hold this event a month or so after the couple announces their engagement. However, there are no set rules and they can be held at home, at a restaurant, or anywhere the host prefers. Engagement parties for the most part are intimate affairs of a casual nature. Their purpose is to give bride and groom an opportunity to meet each other's family members and close friends. If the couple's parents live far apart, it's not uncommon for the groom's family to hold a second engagement party. Typically gifts are not given. Invitations can be hand-written or even verbal. If you need to plan for food, include an RSVP.
The Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
The stereotypical bachelor party consisting of a wild night of drinking and strippers is giving way to more coordinated events. Although still quite popular, these parties are being replaced by guys getting together to watch a major sporting event either live or on TV, or to spend a week-end together skiing or fishing, or even by holding a poker tournament. Traditionally held the night before the wedding, but for practical reasons, this too is changing and these parties are being coordinated earlier.
For a long time, the wedding shower was the 'bride's party.' Bachelorette parties are a relative newcomer to the wedding scene and they, too are coordinated by the bridal party. Make no mistake; these parties can be just as wild as the bachelor parties. But they can also involve a simple, relaxing day at the spa.
The Bridal Shower
Bridal showers traditionally are social events designed to give the bride the things she'll need once they have their new home together. Many of today's wedding showers are themed, and can be anything from a kitchen shower to stock the bar shower.
Wedding showers should be held a few weeks before the wedding date and only those guests who have been invited to the wedding should be invited.
This is a time to relax and get ready for the big day that lies ahead. Rehearsal dinners are generally for the bridal party only and they're held immediately after the wedding rehearsal. They're held early so all can rest up and they're usually held at the home of the bride or groom's parent or at a restaurant.