Bachelorette, Engagement and Rehearsal Parties.
Once the news gets out about an engagement, friends and family often want to help celebrate by offering to host parties before the big wedding day.
There are endless opportunities to be feted before saying "I do", whether it's an engagement party, bridal or couples' shower, bachelorette roast or rehearsal dinner.
Pre-wedding parties allow friends and relatives who've never met to mingle well before the wedding. Over the years, acquaintances made at these early gatherings are likely to take root with the marriage.
But before agreeing to any and all pre-wedding parties, there are a few things to keep in mind or else run the risk of wedding overload or worse, faux pas, even before save the date cards are mailed.
Only those invited to the wedding should be included in pre-wedding parties of any kind, including bridal showers. An exception might be a group work gift for a colleague having a small wedding.
If you'd fidget at a bridal shower in someone's living room, suggest turning the gathering into a party focused on a favorite pastime, like hiking or a day of beauty at a spa.
Not interested in receiving pre-wedding presents? Turn a bridal shower or engagement party into an afternoon of volunteering at a community garden or food pantry, followed by a big dinner at a favorite ethnic restaurant. Instead of presents, ask guests to bring recipes to exchange or something they've made.
If there's more than engagement party, make sure the guest lists aren't duplicated. Additionally, be sure to invite the bride and grooms' mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and other close female relatives to at least one pre-wedding party.
Bachelorette parties are typically more laid-back that bridal showers. Brides-to-be should be prepared to be a little embarrassed, but above all this event should be fun. Not everyone will be enthusiastic about the late-night bar scene, so consider including an activity everyone will enjoy, such as a fun dinner out. Gifts should not be expected, but guests may bring gag gifts for laughs.
To avoid party burnout, be sure to space pre-wedding festivities. It's also socially okay to decline friend and family invitations to host parties, or suggest two hosts combine efforts.
Perhaps the most important pre-wedding party is the rehearsal dinner, which sets the tone for the next day even if the ceremony is small. Keep the dinner intimate, reserved for close family, the wedding party and out of town guests. Don't forget to ask the groom and others to prepare toasts to honor the couple.
Send thank you cards within days of receiving pre-wedding gifts. The thoughtfulness will be appreciated. It's also good form for time to elapse between sending thank you notes for shower gifts and those for wedding presents.
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