With Spring upon us, wedding season is about to kick into high gear and we know those calendars will be filling up quickly! If you or someone you love is planning a wedding for this year, you’re in luck… We’ve got the scoop on all of the wedding-related celebrations you might be involved with from engagement to wedding day, and beyond!
The first of many wedding events, the engagement party provides an opportunity for the happy couple to celebrate their big news with family and friends. There are no hard and fast rules as to who should host such an event, giving free reign to anyone who would like to do so. Size varies from small and intimate to large, while formality may range from backyard barbecues to a cocktail party, or even an elegant dinner in the private room at the couple’s favorite restaurant.
Traditionally hosted by close friends or family of the bride and/or groom, bridal showers are a time for the women in her life to dote on the bride-to-be. These days, however, it’s not always just about the bride. Many couples opt to have a couple’s shower en lieu of, or sometimes in addition to, the bridal shower. Again, size typically varies depending on the host and the location of the event, and the style of the shower may range from heavy hors d’oeuvres, to multi-course meals, or even simply a desserts shower. Many hosts will also incorporate a theme for the shower décor and food, and may include games and activities throughout the event, in addition to the opening of presents.
The bridesmaids luncheon is an event hosted by the bride to thank her bridesmaids and other close females involved in the wedding for all of their love and support throughout the engagement process leading up to the big day. Most brides choose to hold the event the day before or the day of the wedding in order to ensure all bridesmaids are able to attend. Menus may range from the traditional finger sandwiches, pastries, fruit, tea and charm cake, to whatever the bride believes best represents the group’s tastes. The main purpose of the bridesmaid luncheon is for the bride to have one last get together with her favorite women before the wedding where they can eat, drink and be merry.
Usually held the night before the wedding as a way to kick off the wedding festivities, the rehearsal dinner may vary in size and formality based upon the host’s preferences. Some opt to keep things casual and include all out of town guests, whereas others may opt for a more upscale dinner for the immediate family and bridal party only. The parents of the groom traditionally host the rehearsal dinner, though nowadays it may also be hosted by the bride’s parents, the couple themselves, or a combination of the three.
Traditionally hosted by the bride’s parents, the wedding reception is a time for your closest friends and family to celebrate with you and your new spouse after watching you become Mr. and Mrs. From small intimate celebrations with a favorite few, to grand receptions that include the couple’s immediate family and friends, as well as extended family and family friends, celebrating the new married couple is a time everyone looks forward to! Dinner, dancing, and toasts to the new couple often comprise the fun of the wedding reception, though the style, theme and menu are very customized to fit each bride and groom’s unique personalities and preferences.
After parties are becoming quite popular among the millennial crowd as it gives the newlyweds another opportunity to spend time with their guests in a more casual setting, and it gives everyone else a chance to get more face time celebrating their loved ones’ nuptials. The after party may range from a formal event held by the bride and groom or a loved one, or may be as simple as designating a meet up spot at a local watering hole near the couple’s hotel blocks. No matter the formality, this can be a fun addition to the wedding night for those couples who want to increase the amount of time with their friends and family on their wedding day.
Another way to keep the party going with all of your favorite people is the post-wedding brunch. It may be hosted by the newlyweds, their parents, or anyone else close to the couple who feels so inclined, and serves as a great way to maximize time with your family and friends who came to celebrate you (if you’re not leaving right away for your honeymoon). These events are typically held the morning after the reception, with breakfast and brunch items making up most menus. Many times these post-wedding events are held at the hotels where the couple has reserved a block of rooms for their guests, or at one of the parents’ homes to simplify things for everyone involved.