Planning for your big day is fun, exciting and a lot of work! There are so many decisions both big and small to make before walking down the aisle. You need a break! There are several opportunities before the Big Day, however, where you - the bride (and sometimes the groom as well) - can be pampered and celebrated.
So while this post may not be exactly for you, feel free to send it along to your maid of honor, bridal party or other members of your family to help them plan a great party (or parties) celebrating you!
Just as the name suggests this party celebrates you and your fiancée’s newly engaged status. At this point you don’t have to have dates, locations or color schemes picked out (although you may). This party is for the couple and is often fairly relaxed and casual (although it can be formal if you like.)
Engagement parties are traditionally given by the bride’s parents and involve friends and family from both the bride and groom-to-be. Formal invitations are not necessary and online invites or groups are acceptable if the host is not overly worried about a head count. Themes can create a fun atmosphere such as a luau or beach theme. This could include specialty drinks for the newly engaged couples and fun dessert or even some fun little take home favors. Brunch and BBQs are also popular for a more casual atmosphere.
Add a little extra to the party with a fun photo station, outdoor games like giant tic tac toe or jenga, or play more (how well do you know the couple” games like bingo or the ever popular shoe game. This should be a day to celebrate both the bride and groom. One popular way to showcase the new couple is with a video montage with pictures of the couple. This can be especially fun to see the bride and groom-to-be when they were younger!
Usually designated for only the bride, bridal showers are a fun way to give the bride a special time to celebrate her upcoming nuptials and “shower” her with love. Bridal showers are often hosted by the bride or groom’s mother or other family member, but there really is no limit to how many showers a bride can have or who can host them. Couples showers or “Jack and Jill” showers include both the bride and groom as well as men and women at the shower.
Bridal shower themes are very popular and can range from very casual to formal. Tea parties, brunches and garden parties are themes for a lovely semi-formal party. Mimosa, mint julips, moscow mules or several light wines are also a great pairing to a bridal shower.
Games are almost always expected and can range from the very simple (bridal bingo) to the more complex (how well do you know the couple). Games should correlate to how well the guests at the party know the bride-to-be. For example if the bridal shower guest list includes close friends, sisters, aunts, cousins and other women who have known the bride-to-be since childhood, the games could be a bit more intimate than a shower hosted by a coworker.
Along with fun games and a fun theme, favors the guests take home can also be fun and unique - something that represents the bride. If the bride is outdoorsy and likes to be in the garden, a nice succulent or a packet of flower seeds is nice. Bath bombs, lotions or soap are great for bride who like to focus on self care. And for a bride who likes her wine, a mini bottle of rosé or champagne is perfect.
Ok, ladies, the time to be formal is over! It’s bachelorette party time! This party is to celebrate the end of single-hood for the bride-to-be so do it up! These parties can tend to get a little naughty so it’s best to celebrate a week or more before the big day. (The bride does not want to have a hangover on her wedding day.)
Bachelorette parties are typically hosted by the maid or matron of honor and/or members of the bridal party. Guest lists include friends and co-workers but typically not the bride's mother or soon-to-be mother-in-law. But every family is different, so if they would add some fun to the party, invite them!
Themes for bachelorette parties are not necessary - the theme is usually consuming adult beverages and acting silly - but they can add some extra fun to the night. Fun themes can include the bride’s favorite TV show or movie (yes, it can be Bridesmaids) or decade’s theme like the 80s or 90s. If the bride insists on something more sophisticated, you can go on a wine tasting tour or spa day.
Destination bachelorette parties are very popular. Of course one of the most popular places is Las Vegas, but you can also go to the mountains, the beach or an all-inclusive resort. Just keep in mind that this fun and exciting day (or weekend, or week) is for the bride-to-be. Try to keep all activities and games with her in mind so she can have the best party ever before tying the knot!
Games are very popular and range from the very dirty to mild. Scavenger hunts are a fun way to get the night going and everyone interacting, dare cards can take the night up a notch and never have I ever can reveal some fun and naughty sides of the guests! Remember to keep the bride’s likes and comfort levels in mind!
Celebrate the bride
Pre-wedding parties are a fun way to celebrate the bride-to-be and the wonderful life she has ahead of her with her fiancée! There are many fun theme ideas, games to play and favors to give away, the possibilities are almost endless! All this fun is leading up to the Big Day when the bride and groom say “I do!”