These are exciting times! Having said that, there are some confusing moments, aren't there? Whether you're getting married, in a wedding party, or perhaps a mother or soon to be mother-in-law, you may be wondering who traditionally hosts those upcoming events aside from the wedding itself. First, I do want to point out that although there is etiquette for every aspect of weddings, from time to time I believe rules are meant to be broken. Not every bride wants a bridal shower, or perhaps an engagement dinner including both families is impossible because they live in different places. Try to communicate with the couple as much as possible (without giving away any secrets!) and remember flexibility is key. Now, if you would like some guidance as to who holds each time-honored event as well as a few other significant details, here’s what you need to know.
1. Engagement Dinner/Party
This is often the first of the pre-wedding festivities and is traditionally held shortly after the engagement has been announced. Traditionally this event is hosted by the bride's parents, and guests include members of both the bride and groom's families. Tradition is broken most commonly with this party, as it has become quite popular for the couple to plan a party themselves and create more of a friend-oriented party. Either way is completely alright, and some couple's will have two separate parties so that everyone may be included.
2. Stag and Doe
Also known as a Jack and Jill, this is a co-ed party planned and hosted by the wedding party. The intention of this event is to raise money for the couple towards their wedding, while also entertaining guests and celebrating the couple’s engagement. If you this is the first time you’ve heard of this party don’t worry, Stag and Does are far more common in Ontario and Manitoba than they are in Western Canada. This event may not be applicable.
3. Bridal Shower
A Bridal Shower is a party in which a bride is showered with gifts and money in preparation for married life. According to wedding etiquette, planning and hosting this classy affair traditionally lies with the mother of the bride. Having said that, it is not uncommon for bride’s mother-in-law to host a shower or for there to be more than one. Sometimes church communities or co-workers enjoy throwing a mini shower for an upcoming bride. Bridal showers are more family friendly than the Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties and it is not uncommon for children to attend if desired. Light-hearted games and trivia may be fun for everyone. Couple’s showers are also quite popular nowadays and are simply a co-ed version of the same party.
4. Bachelor / Bachelorette
Also known as a Stag and Stagette, these are two parties usually held within a few weeks of the wedding. They may fall on the same day, but it isn’t necessary. Sometimes we think of this as the bride and grooms “last night of freedom” and is intended for friends more so than family. Bachelor parties are hosted by the best man with the help of the groomsmen, and Bachelorettes by the maid of honor with help from the bridesmaids. These parties can be fairly expensive, but don't panic if you're the best man or the maid of honor. You do not have to cover all costs associated with the party. The host may end up contributing a little more than others, but generally they will try to divide the costs amongst the rest of the wedding party and even other guests. The two people who should not pay for anything at the party are the Bride and Groom because they are the guests of honor. Venues for these parties may include a home, restaurant, night club, etc. Some parties may even take place out-of-town and last a few days in duration. You can see how expenses may add up!
5. Rehearsal Dinner
Most commonly the night before the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is hosted by the parents of the groom. Guests include members of both families as well as the wedding party and their spouses or partners. It is not obligatory, however it may be kind to invite your officiant and his or her spouse if they are married. Examples of venues include the home of the groom's parents, a restaurant, or an outdoor barbecue. Another popular location is the wedding venue itself, since the rehearsal will likely take place there.
6. Post-Wedding Brunch
Held by the bride's parents, this is the final opportunity to have everyone together before out-of-town guests fly home and the couple departs on their honeymoon. It is an excellent opportunity for the bride and groom to thank guests for attending their wedding. Like the rehearsal, venues may include the parent’s home, a restaurant, an outdoor venue, etc. This event is usually quite relaxed and casual, as everyone will be recovering from the excitement of the day before.
We hope you will find this information helpful. Remember, all of these events are meant to be exciting, fun, and memorable for everyone including the host. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of planning one of these events, or you are seeking a party planner who is bursting with ideas and creativity, be sure to keep Wildflower Weddings in mind!