Congratulations on your engagement! You and your fiancé are one step closer to your happily ever after. Once the excitement settles down just a bit, you may be wondering where to start with your wedding planning. And as you’re likely aware, there is a lot to plan, even more than just your wedding day. 

Many couples have multiple celebrations before they officially tie the knot. Friends or family of the couple traditionally hosts these pre-wedding events, but it’s still important for the bride and groom-to-be to know what to expect in the coming months.

As Boston wedding planners, we want to help you navigate your way through one of the busiest and most exciting times in your life; here is a simplified guide to some common pre-wedding events:

Pre-Wedding Events – The Engagement Party

An engagement party may very well be the first pre-wedding event that you will attend after the proposal. Like many events around your wedding, there are often specific traditions and etiquette common in engagement parties. We’re here to help you answer any questions you might have.

  1. Who Hosts the Engagement Party?

Either the bride’s or the groom’s parents traditionally host the engagement party. However, it is not uncommon for friends of the couple and other relatives to act as the event’s organizers. The only “rule” for an engagement party (or any pre-wedding event, for that matter) is that the couple is not supposed to host the event for themselves; traditionally, someone else hosts it in their honor.

  1. Can a Couple Have More Than One Engagement Party?

Some couples choose to have multiple engagement parties: one for relatives and family friends, for instance, and another for their own close friends. Think of it like Thanksgiving vs. Friendsgiving! It is also important to note that many couples choose not to have an engagement party at all; it depends on the family, the bride and groom, and the details of their engagement and wedding. If you are hosting a small wedding or have many friends that can’t travel, then a larger engagement party might be in order.  Your wedding event planner will have suggestions regarding your engagement party, depending on your specific circumstances.

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  1. When Should the Engagement Party be Thrown?

The engagement party generally takes place just a few months after the proposal. If you plan on having a longer engagement, then a delay is certainly reasonable. However, the sooner you can have the engagement party, the better.

  1. Who Should Be Invited to the Engagement Party?

In more informal settings, it may be acceptable to invite some guests to your engagement party that you are not sure will make it on your wedding guest list. But traditional etiquette states that, as with all pre-wedding events, you should be mindful to include only guests that will be invited to your wedding as well. Even if you want to have a more relaxed engagement party, keep this traditional rule in mind.

  1. Are Guests Expected to Bring Gifts?

Unlike wedding showers, engagement parties do not require guests to bring gifts for the couple. However, it is acceptable to include a registry link to your wedding website within your invitation so that guests who choose to bring a gift to your engagement party can do so.

  1. Are Engagement Parties Supposed to be Formal Events?

That’s up to you! Your engagement party can be as formal or relaxed as you would like it to be. Some engagement parties are quite formal, hosted at country clubs or ballrooms. Other parties are much more relaxed, such as backyard barbecues or beachfront clam bakes. Whatever your vision may be, be sure to communicate with your special event planner so that every detail reflects your personal style.

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Pre-Wedding Events – The Wedding Shower

Originally referred to as a bridal shower, wedding showers are parties that are typically hosted by the maid of honor, the mother of the groom, or friends and family of the bride’s mother.

  1. When Should the Wedding Shower be Thrown?

The wedding shower can occur any time before the wedding, but it is advisable to choose a date for the party no more than three months in advance or less than three weeks before the wedding day.

  1. Who Should be Invited to the Wedding Shower?

Traditionally, the guests of wedding showers are all female; however, more couples have been moving away from this tradition. The only “rule” for the bride and groom-to-be is true for all pre-wedding events; invite only those who will be invited to the wedding.

  1. What Takes Place at a Wedding Shower?

Intended to “shower” the couple with gifts that they will use in their new home together, wedding showers are typically filled with fun games, food, and presents. The wedding shower is often symbolic of support and welcoming from the new in-laws.

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Though there are many different pre-wedding events that a couple may choose to celebrate in addition to engagement parties and wedding showers, none are mandatory. If you and your fiancé prefer a less traditional path, that is perfectly fine. Do what makes you happy; this time is about the two of you.

At Jodi Raphael Events, our event specialists listen to what is most important to you and are here at every step to help you plan for all your pre-wedding and wedding day events. 

Contact us for more information!

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