Pop the Champagne, You are changing your name! You are engaged, the planning has begun, and very quickly you begin to realize all of the pre-parties you need to fit in before the big day. Friends and family can't wait till the wedding day to celebrate you and shower you and your partner with gifts. The number of parties can be surprising for some couples so I outlined the What, Where, Why, and When of the tradition pre-wedding parties.
An Engagement Party is exactly what it sounds like – a party to celebrate your engagement.
Why Not?! - Is the real question! You are engaged! Your friends and family members don’t want to wait months for your big wedding day and just so excited they want to celebrate just a little bit now. An Engagement party is also a way to formally “announce” your engagement.
The engagement party kicks off your wedding season and is traditionally celebrated three months after the engagement. The excitement is still fresh, and it is unlikely that any potential planning stress has kicked in yet. However, depending on your schedules it can be earlier or later. Engagement parties can be postponed to a later date if immediately following the proposal there is a small get together. Don’t know when you will fit in your engagement party? Engagement parties can be combined with holiday parties. A winter engagement party or 4th of July BBQ engagement party are just a few ideas and can be so fun!
Who is the host? Who is Invited?
Traditionally, the engagement party is thrown by one of the families or even both families. It is common for relatives, friends or even the couple to throw the engagement party. Who is invited? Whoever is invited to the engagement party or any pre-wedding event will expect an invitation to the wedding. An engagement party is usually just close friends and family members.
Often it is held at a home, but also can be at a local brewery or restaurant.
The Couple's Shower
I personally love a couple’s shower because it celebrates both partners and is usually held during the peak of their wedding season. Couple’s showers are co-ed and the perfect opportunity for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to get to know each other. A couple’s shower is often referred to as a “Honey-Do” Shower or “Stock the Bar” Party and can be themed.
Traditionally, showers are typically for the women, and they receive some of the daintier things on the wedding registry. The couple’s shower is a celebration to honor the couple and shower them with the practical and fun gifts they can enjoy together. However, the gifts are given usually go along with the theme of the party. For example, if it is a “Stock the Bar” party guests will bring alcohol, barware, and other cocktail essentials to help the couple stock their home bar. In contrast, if the shower is a “honey-do” shower then guests are encouraged to bring gifts that will help maintain their new house (a hose, serving platter, BBQ utensils, or tools). Typically a “honey-do” shower is thrown when a couple will be sharing their first home together after saying “I Do.” However, whenever bringing a gift is important to reference a couple’s registry to ensure you are giving them a gift they need and want.
A couple's shower is thrown usually 3-5 months before the nuptials.
A couple’s shower is usually thrown by one of the families, close relatives or even friends. The guest list is made up of the wedding party, family members and close friends. Once again, anyone invited to a pre-wedding party needs to be invited to the wedding.
Usually at a relative's house or the couple’s house if they live together, or it can be held at the couple's favorite restaurant, brewery, etc.
A couple’s shower is usually entertaining because of the games that are played. Games that involve all of the guests and HE or SHE games always bring laughter and entertainment for the guests of honor and the party guests.
A bridal shower is a celebration dedicated to honoring the bride. A bridal shower is traditionally women-only and held during the day.
The bridal shower is the perfect opportunity to shower the bride with gifts to set up her new home. A bride might also receive sentimental gifts, family recipes, and heirlooms from relatives.
The bridal shower is hosted by the bridesmaids, mother of the bride/groom, aunts or other close female relatives – or all of them! The guest list is made up of the bridesmaids, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and close female friends and relatives.
A bridal shower is held anytime between 3-4 months and 2 weeks before the wedding day. The bridal shower should be planned a few months in advance to ensure most women can attend. Often the bridal shower is held during the holidays or around another event that would coincide with the majority of the hosts’ and guests’ schedules.
Typically held at a relative’s home or a private room at a restaurant.
What to do?
A bridal shower is known for the bridal shower games that your aunts (and even the bridesmaids) will enjoy! Some of my favorites are “What is in the bride’s purse?” “How well do you know the Bride?” and “Guess the Dress.”
The ultimate weekend or night to celebrate and party with the bride/groom. The bachelor or bachelorette party should reflect their individual styles and personality.
Known as the “last hoorah” for the bride or groom. This pre-wedding party is for making memories that last a lifetime while breaking away from any pre-wedding stress.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen are responsible for hosting the bachelorette/bachelor parties. Since these parties usually involve activities, travel and overall more involved the maid of honor and best man lead in the planning process and delegate tasks. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are invited to the celebration along with ushers, house party members, and close friends.
When does it take place?
Unlike the movie, “The Hangover” the bachelor/bachelorette party should not take place days before the wedding. However, celebrating 5 months to a month before the wedding is typical depending on everyone’s schedule.
The bachelor/bachelorette party should reflect the personality of the guest of honor. For example, if a bride wants a weekend of relaxing then a weekend at the beach sunbathing and drinking wine would be ideal. However, if a bride wants a more rowdy weekend then maybe the party is in a big city like New Orleans, Austin, Miami, or Charleston. And vice versa for bachelor parties.
An intimate get-together for members of the bridal party, future sisters-in-law, close aunts, cousins, mothers, and grandmothers.
Your engagement season is filled with duties and responsibilities for the bridesmaids and family members, and the bridal luncheon is a way for the bride to show appreciation to everyone.
The bride traditionally hosts this party, but it is not uncommon for aunts and family members will help host the bridal luncheon.
The bridal luncheon typically takes place within two weeks of the wedding day.
Since it is a luncheon it is usually held at a restaurant in the same city or town as the wedding.
There is a few parties to fit into your schedule, but each one is to celebrate this monumental time in your life. While wedding planning can be stressful, but these pre-wedding parties are meant to celebrate you and your partner, so enjoy every minute. Feeling overwhelmed planning your wedding? Contact me and let's chat! Ashleigh Elizabeth Weddings and Events would love to help make your dream wedding a reality.
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