Guide To 7 Popular Pre-Wedding Events : The What, Why & Who
Congratulations! They (or you) popped the question and now you're engaged!
Whether you're the 'jump into the wedding planning with two feet' kind of person or the 'enjoy the calm before the planing party' kind of person, you'll want to decide on a general timeline for your wedding events as soon as possible.
Wait - events? Plural? Absolutely.
There's no hard and fast rule about how many events are appropriate for any given celebration, after all, this is a celebration tailor-made to you as a couple. However, we're seeing an uptick in popularity of these pre-wedding events.
Read on to find out how to navigate each of these pre-wedding celebrations, what they are, and who should be on the guest list.
Jump to section: Engagement Party - Bridal Shower - Bachelor Party - Bachelorette - Bridesmaid Luncheon - Welcome Party - Rehearsal Dinner
1. The Engagement Party
What is an engagement party?
An engagement party can range from a formal to a casual event. You'll want to have it within the first few months of your engagement. So, if you're following a 12 month engagement timeline, thats right around the time that you choose your wedding venue.
It's a good idea to look into booking your engagement party at the venue you've selected so that you can get an idea of the space and the atmosphere in a functional way.
Why should you have an engagement party?
Start your celebrations off with a bang! The primary reason to have an engagement party is to celebrate your exciting news with your loved ones. While it certainly can me a good way for two families to get to know each other better, experts recommend making the first introduction prior to the party.
Guests may also bring engagement gifts, though it is not a mandatory function of the engagement party. Our advice? Set up your registry before the party, but don't include it on your invitations. Designate a liaison to handle the RSVPs and to share the link to your registry if anyone asks.
Who hosts an engagement party?
Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for and host the engagement party for the couple.
Who should be invited to an engagement party?
Invite the family and friends close to you that you know will be invited to the wedding. Prioritize working on your guest-list for the wedding as soon as possible to avoid leaving people out of the wedding reception guest list that started on the party train early on.
2. The Bridal Shower
What is a bridal shower?
A bridal shower is usually a daytime event designed for giving gifts to the bride-to-be and for playing an assortment of party games. However, this may be the most popular event to buck tradition on.
Co-ed parties are increasingly in vogue, not to mention the simplicity and inclusion for the couple. Once you step out of the box, your options for a unique wedding shower are virtually limitless.
Throw a bridal shower (or wedding shower) about 3 months from the wedding date.
Photos: Franzi Lee Photography
Why should you have a bridal shower?
For couples who are just starting their home together, the bridal shower is traditionally the time where friends and family gift household items to the betrothed.
If household goods aren't something that you and your beau need, there are lots of alternative wedding registry websites where you can register for buying or building a new home together, or for a honeymoon fund.
Who hosts a bridal shower?
Because this event is traditionally for the ladies, usually the bridesmaids or mother of the bride will host the bridal shower.
Who should be invited to a bridal shower?
Again, it's important to invite those who will also be invited to the wedding. The general consensus is that you should keep the guests list intimate.
3. The Bachelor Party
What is a bachelor party?
From a low-key get together to a full blown weekend with the guys, there are a lot of ways to throw a bachelor party. Usually, a bachelor party is planned a month before the wedding. Just triple check the calendar to avoid it turning into a rom-com scenario.
Photo 1: Franzi Lee Photography, Photo 2: Wildember for Piccadilly Place
Why should you have a bachelor party?
A party just for the guys - sign them up! Need we say more?
Who hosts a bachelor party?
The best man traditionally hosts a bachelor party, but it can also be a combined effort by the groomsmen. We recommend telling your best man ahead of time if anything is off limits.
Who should be invited to a bachelor party?
A bachelor party is really just for the groom and his wedding party.
4. The Bachelorette
What is a bachelorette party?
Most modern connotations of a bachelorette include going out with your bridesmaids either for drinks and dancing, or a (very instagram-able) getaway. Whatever your style, feel free to customize your night to fit you. We recommend telling your maid of honor ahead of time if anything is off limits.
Why should you have a bachelorette party?
After several months of planning and preparing for your wedding, take the time to unwind and celebrate this time of your life with the group that has been with you along the way.
Who hosts a bachelorette?
The maid or matron of honor traditionally hosts a bachelorette party, but it can also be a combined effort by the bridesmaids.
Who should be invited to a bachelorette party?
A bachelorette is really just for the bride and her wedding party.
5. The Bridesmaid Luncheon
What is a bridesmaid luncheon?
This event is a thank you celebration for the bridal party, mothers, and flower girls who have contributed to a successful wedding season. It's hosted a few days before the wedding.
Photos 1 & 2: Wildember for Piccadilly Place, Photo 3: Franzi Lee Photography
Why should you have a bridesmaid luncheon?
The bridesmaid luncheon is usually fairly low-key, often with a focus on enjoying some pampering and sharing your gratitude with your bridal party.
Who hosts a bridesmaid luncheon?
Who should be invited to a bridesmaid luncheon?
The bridal party, mothers, and flower girl(s).
6. The Welcome Party
What is a wedding welcome party?
Usually a more casual affair than the wedding itself, a welcome party kicks off the celebrations and may include toasts to the couple.
Who hosts a welcome party?
Some sources say the welcome party falls with the rehearsal dinner in the scope of pre-wedding parties, suggesting that the groom's family should host. However, splitting the cost is also appropriate.
Why should you have a welcome party?
If you have guests coming from out of town, welcome gift bags to give out, or just want to start the party atmosphere early!
Who should be invited to a welcome party?
The welcome party is open to all guests of the wedding.
7. The Rehearsal Dinner
What is a rehearsal dinner?
The rehearsal dinner is an event tied to the ceremony rehearsal the day before the wedding. Often, gifts from the couple will be presented to the family and bridal parties.
Photos 1& 3: Franzi Lee Photography, Photo 2: Wildember for Piccadilly Place
Who hosts a rehearsal dinner?
Traditionally, the parents of the groom host the rehearsal dinner.
Why should you have a rehearsal dinner?
We have a wedding coordinator on staff at Piccadilly Place to lead the rehearsal the day before the wedding. Because of most schedules, this usually falls right before dinnertime - what better time to spend the evening winding down with your loved ones? And, trust us, you're going to want to eat.
Who should be invited to a rehearsal dinner?
The couple's immediate family, the bridal and groom's wedding party, and any participants in the ceremony.
Every wedding celebration is different because it takes inspiration from the couple and from their story. Your event coordinator will be your guide in planning the schedule of pre-wedding, wedding ceremony, reception, and post-wedding celebrations that perfectly fit your love story.
Remember: A mother-in-law comforted a bride once by saying, "All that matters is that at the end of the day, you end up married".
We have a place for that, too.