THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY
This party serves as the official announcement of the engagement. When extending invitations to guests, it is not necessary to state the purpose of the party (i.e. the engagement), as no gifts are to be expected, and it is often nice to make the announcement a surprise.
The party can be hosted by either the bride or groom’s family. It is the host’s responsibility to announce the engagement with a toast.
The form of this party can range from a formal sit-down dinner to a more casual summer barbecue, or even a cocktail party. The formality of this event should be established by the bride and groom as well as the host, as this party sets the tone for the rest of the engagement.
THE BRIDAL SHOWER
The first party held in the bride’s honour is the bridal shower. This gathering is most often hosted by the maid of honour, but may also be put on by other members of the bridal party, close friends, or even by colleagues.
The shower itself can take several forms, and can range from a casual lunch to a formal seven course meal.
Who to invite: You should invite any female who is on the guest list for the wedding. However, if you want to keep the party more intimate, invite only those who are closest to the bride. If you want to host a more contemporary event, you may also wish to include male guests.
Timing: Due to the busy schedule of the bride, it is best to hold this event 1 – 2 months before the wedding date.
THE BRIDESMAIDS LUNCHEON
This is the bride’s opportunity to thank her attendants for their involvement and help with her wedding. This luncheon can be scheduled on the same day as the final fittings of the bridesmaids’ dresses to streamline your hectic, pre-wedding schedule. Traditionally a pink cake with a trinket or charm baked inside is served. According to legend, the bridesmaid who receives the trinket will be the next to be wed.
The rehearsal dinner, which immediately follows the wedding rehearsal, is meant to be an ice breaker for all those involved with the wedding, their spouses and dates, as well as the bride and groom’s immediate family. This dinner should be fun and lively, but should not be intended to upstage the wedding itself. Popular options for the rehearsal are at-home dinner parties, which can be home cooked or catered, or the dinner may be held at a restaurant with a private room. This event is most often hosted by the groom’s parents, and the choice is ultimately left up to their discretion.
At the end of the evening the bride and the groom leave separately and don’t see each other again until they arrive at the ceremony.
THE BACHELOR PARTY
Brides are often anxious about sending their bridegrooms off to a bachelor party because they’ve heard the ritual is associated with “temptation” and have listened to horror stories about wild drinking, gambling or partying with strippers or prostitutes. The truth is, most bachelor parties involve a men’s night out, tickets to a sports game, or visits to bars or burlesque shows. They are a time for old friends to gather, reminisce, and wish the groom good luck.
THE BACHELORETTE PARTY
These days, the bride and her friends are passing on the quiet tea party and opting for a night on the town including dinner, drinks and dancing. In fact, some bachelorette parties are making those bachelor parties look tame. Try a poker party or even a weekend trip to Vegas!