She Said Yes! Let the Party Begin!

Published by Richmond Weddings Magazine, Winter/Spring 2019

Before your big day, there will be many opportunities to celebrate. But don’t get overwhelmed. Stay focused on your wedding day and let your friends and family take the lead on all the other events. Of course, you can guide them, but this is not something you should be stressing over.  Besides you are planning a wedding-you have enough to do! 

Engagement Party

This is usually done once a date has been selected and is a great opportunity for your families to come together and start getting acquainted. Traditionally this can be a smaller intimate party thrown by the parents of the bride or groom. However, this can also be thrown by another family member or friends.  Guest usually consist of the wedding party, families, and close friends of the couple. Although personal gifts can be received at these functions, it is less common.

The Bridal Shower

Traditionally these can be done 2-6 months before your wedding and are hosted by a friend or relative. Your guest usually consists of close female family members and friends. Although proper etiquette states that the brides’ immediate family is not a host, this rule is often overlooked. It is becoming acceptable for moms, sisters or other close family members to throw these parties. It is also not uncommon to have multiple showers. In addition to the traditional bridal shower, you could also have a couple’s shower, where both the bride and groom are showered by both male and female attendees. Work colleagues are also getting into the festivities and throwing showers.

The Bachelorette Party

The best time to have this party is 1-3 months prior to the wedding and is thrown by the Maid/Matron of Honor. However, all the bridesmaids are expected to contribute and attend. Only the closest of friends attend this event and it can be a dinner, cocktail party, or a weekend get-away and is supposed to be a time to have fun and forget the stress of wedding planning. This party is designed around the bride and should reflect her. Keep in mind that some brides are completely happy with a simple girl’s night out and some want the wild Vegas weekend! Most important, TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! Make sure everyone is aware that this is a no camera zone! 

Bachelor Party

This is typically done 1-3 months prior to the wedding and hosted by the Best Man. However, all the groomsmen are expected to contribute and attend. Only the closest of friends attend this event. Bachelor parties have come a long way! It is very common and acceptable to have a respectful celebration of the groom without demeaning festivities. Many choose a sporting event, camping, or fishing trip opposed to the Hollywood version of the bachelor party.  Whatever, you decide this event is designed around the groom and should reflect him. Again, most importantly, TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! Make sure everyone is aware that this is a no camera zone! 


The rehearsal is usually held the night before the wedding but can be a couple of days before. It is attended by all family members and friends that have a role in the wedding and gives them the opportunity to practice their roles.

Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is typically hosted by the parents of the groom and is attended by everyone from the rehearsal and is held directly after the rehearsal. It is also common to invite any guest that has come from out of town. This can be as simple as a backyard cookout, catered meal in your clubhouse or a fancy night out at your favorite restaurant. Keep in mind that the party should reflect the couple. During the dinner, the couple gives the wedding party and parents a gift to thank them for all their help. This is also a great time for speeches and toast. 

Wedding Day Breakfast and Lunch

This is something you should plan! Your wedding day will be a long day and although you may not be hungry, your bridesmaids and groomsmen will want to eat! Be prepared to feed your bridal party throughout the day. Make sure you have several options from lite offering such as fruit & vegies, to a heavier option such as sandwiches or subs. You can also go a step further and meet for a sit-down breakfast at your favorite morning spot or have lunch catered while everyone is getting ready. You don’t want to get too full, but you will want to eat. Enjoy this final party with your closest family and friends prior to your walk down the aisle. 

You have lot of celebrating to do leading up to your wedding day! Keep in mind that you do not invite guest to any of these events unless they are invited to the wedding. Of course, this does not apply to a shower thrown by your colleagues at work.  Also, be sure to send a personalized thank you note to anyone that brings you a gift to any of these events. 

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