5 Parties You'll Have Before Your Wedding
Updated: May 12
So you just got engaged and you're so excited to begin planning the party of a lifetime, but don't forget about all the parties you may want to have between "Will you marry me?" and "I do."
In today's blog, we'll cover the who, what, when, and why (hint: it's usually for fun and presents) for these five pre-wedding events. Fortunately for you, most of these will be handled by your wedding party and/or family, so it's no extra stress for you, except to show up and be celebrated!
Who throws it: Traditionally, this is thrown by the bride's parents, but there are no set rules and nowadays, some couples even throw it for themselves, especially if it'll be a long engagement!
When to throw it: Within the first couple of months from the couple getting engaged!
Who attends: People who will be included in the wedding (but not just the wedding party). Keep it small and enjoy yourselves!
Formality of the event: This is usually a more casual get together, something like cocktails at a bar or drinks at someone's house. If you go for something more formal, this is usually held at a restaurant.
Gifts: Are not mandatory at these parties, so don’t feel rushed to finish your registry! In fact, you don't even need to include any registry information on the invitation!
Who throws it: Historically, the wedding shower is known as the "Bridal Shower" and is hosted by female family members or the bride's attendants. These days, you can invite boys to join in the fun as well!
When to throw it: Three months to two weeks before the wedding.
Who attends: Bride's attendants and close female friends and family. Like we said, boys can come too if you want them to.
Formality of the event: Casual to semi-formal. Since this party is to help the couple prepare for their new home, it's most likely set inside someone's home to feel more at home and surrounded by love. Because it is so light hearted, play some traditional games like gift bingo and make a bouquet from the ribbons and bows for the rehearsal dinner!
Gifts: Make sure that this party is held after the registry is done as this party's main point is to give the couple gifts for their new home!
Who throws it: The maid of honor! This event is really a bonding experience for the bridal party and to celebrate the bride herself! Bridesmaids are not expected to pitch in for the whole party, but they should cover their part of it.
When to throw it: Three to four weeks before the wedding!
Who attends: Bridesmaids and some close friends or family. Since a lot can go in to planning these parties, it's best to keep the guest count low.
Formality of the event: These events exist to blow off steam before the wedding and just really enjoy yourselves, so stay casual and relaxed. The biggest trend right now is instagrammable bachelorette parties: clean cut fun looks for perfect photos and a great location for beautiful backdrops! These events are customizable to each bride and can range from what the movies show in bars and clubs to much more down to earth things like retreats, group yoga, decorating cupcakes, paint and sip classes, or photo shoots! More and more brides are making weekends out of it and planning elaborate vacations for their parties, which is awesome, but just be sure you're not breaking your budget! For the most formal parts of these events, bridesmaids usually all wear the same color so that the bride stands out!
Gifts: Not necessary, but it is customary that the costs for the night of the bride are covered!
Who throws it: The best man! Groomsmen are expected to pitch in as well, but the best man will run the show and host this event.
When to throw it: Definitely not the night before the wedding (hello, The Hangover). It is usually held about four to six weeks before the wedding.
Who attends: Just the groomsmen! This is a bonding event for them and they were specifically chosen with this day in mind! Because of how hectic the activities (and the drinking) can get, it is always best to keep the guest count low on this one.
Formality of the event: Casual. Most popular events are usually party buses, chartering boats, bar crawls, golfing, or casinos.
Gifts: All expenses for the groom should be covered by the wedding party.
Who throws it: Traditionally, this is thrown by the groom's parents, which is why it's sometimes called the "Groom's Dinner".
When to throw it: The night before the wedding! It's a great opportunity to make sure that everyone is on the same page for the wedding day and also to relax a little beforehand.
Who attends: Rehearsal dinners stay on the small side because you need that time to connect with all of the people that play an important part in your wedding. And this does extend out to the wedding party AND their spouses. Immediate family is always invited too because it's the beginning of joining both families and this is where they can start to meet each other. If you have some guests that are coming from out of town, it is often customary to invite them as well since they came so far for your big day!
Formality of the event: Depending on the location of the rehearsal dinner, usually more on the casual side so everyone can relax before the hectic day!
Gifts: Gifts for the couple are not a requirement at this party. In fact, this is usually where the couple will hand out gifts to their parents, each other, and to their wedding party if they are not giving them the day of the wedding.
So there you have it. The five parties you may want to consider throwing before your big day. Want some extra help and guidance? Woodland Events can help plan any of the above parties for you as an add on to our wedding planning packages.
Today's blog was a guest post by Kimberly Lakenen, Woodland Events Intern and owner of It's The Little Things Events.