Parties and Showers
Almost as soon as you become engaged, people come out of the woodwork offering to host parties on your behalf. Here's a brief primer on the three most popular pre-wedding events: the engagement party, the wedding shower, and the bridal luncheon.
Traditionally, the bride's family or a close friend will host a party to officially announce the couple’s engagement. The engagement party is the perfect time for the families of the bride and groom to meet and launch the wedding season for the couple. It's typically held in the bride's hometown. If the bride's family does not intend to host an engagement party, it is perfectly acceptable for the groom's family to throw one.
Wedding engagements are such happy events, everyone wants to take part. In fact, you may be so fortunate as to receive several offers to host your wedding shower. The good news is that a couple may attend as many showers as they like. For example, if you are from different hometowns, you may want to celebrate with a shower in each location. Co-workers may organize another at work, and the list goes on.
Though someone other than you will act as the host, you still need to be involved in the planning, especially if you are attending multiple showers. That requires a little guest-list management on your part. Outside of immediate family and the wedding party, try to ensure that each guest is invited to no more than one shower. Guests often will bring gifts to both the shower and the wedding. Inviting them to more than one shower can become financially overwhelming.
Showers are held anywhere from three to six months prior to the wedding date. In the past, showers were ladies-only events serving tea and petit fours to women and girls adorned in their Sunday best. Times have changed, and so have showers. Some showers remain ladies-only, but the emerging trend of the couple's shower has brought a new level of fun and creativity to the event.
Many times a wedding shower will have a theme, identified to meet specific gifting needs of the couple. A theme makes the shower fun for both the couple and their guests.
Popular Shower Themes:
- Around the House: On the invitation, guests are assigned certain rooms of the house. Their gifts represent their room assignments.
- Time of day: Guests are assigned a specific hour of the day. Their gifts are appropriate symbols of things the couple might do during that time of day.
- Stock the Bar: Need I say more?
- Night on the Town: Guests bring gift certificates or tickets to specific places around the couple's hometown. Gifts can range from restaurant gift certificates to theater tickets.
- Lawn and Garden: Guests bring gifts to support activities done in the yard. Gifts range from shovels and hoses to grills and lawn mowers.
A bridal luncheon is a small gathering of the bridal party and close family members the day before or the day of the wedding. Hosted by the maid of honor or the bride's family, the event serves as a thank-you to the bridal party for participating in the wedding. It's also an intimate send-off for the bride as she approaches her wedding hour. The luncheon can range from a formal lunch in a fine restaurant to a drop-in brunch served in the bridal suite or the bride's parent's home
If you choose to have a bridal luncheon, you'll find it the perfect opportunity to say a few warm words to your closest friends and family about what their participation in your wedding has meant to you.
No matter how many or few, how formal or informal, these parties are designed for family and friends to celebrate the soon-to-be union between the couple and the two families. Staying organized can ease the planning process for those generous hosts. Staying flexible helps too, as hosts may have different levels of experience and ideas about how to put on this kind of party. Your part is to relax and enjoy your engagement and the warm wishes of all those who want to help you celebrate it.