Bachelor Parties (Stags)
Bachelor parties probably have more of a "bad rap" than they should.
Most are not usually as offensive as rumor may have it.
The bachelor party is traditionally thrown by the best man
or the brother of the groom.
They are most often held at a local bar or pub,
because drinking tends to be a fairly large part of the event.
It is an excellent, thoughtful idea, for the host
to hire one or more limousines to chauffeur the guests,
so that the party remains a safe one.
Because there are often people who don't drink,
they might be asked to serve as designated drivers.
When is the Bachelor Party Scheduled?
The bachelor party should be held
several weeks before the actual wedding date.
hangovers for the groom or members of the wedding party
might otherwise serve as unpleasant memories of the evening's events.
Stag and Doe
The Rehearsal Dinner
What's the Tradition of a Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally the rehearsal dinner is held the evening before the wedding
after the wedding rehearsal.
Even though many couples don't actually rehearse
the evening before their weddings, the rehearsal dinner
has remained a tradition which has, for many couples,
changed somewhat in its nature.
With families living far apart, more and more wedding guests
travelling from some distances to attend a wedding.
Oftentimes they arrange for lodging a day
or even two before the wedding to "settle in" and sometimes to visit.
The rehearsal dinner traditionally was
a time for the members of the wedding party to share a meal
Now it has evolved to also include out-of-town guests
who are included in this pre-wedding party.
It gives guests an opportunity to get acquainted
and starts the festivities one day earlier than the wedding itself.
Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?
For brides and grooms following a traditional breakdown of wedding expenses,
the rehearsal dinner is the responsibility of the groom's family.
New accommodations, of course, allow the bride's parents,
or a close friend or relative to accept the financial and planning responsibilities.
The dinner can be as formal or informal as the host and/or hostess wish.
Some people choose to hold the dinner in a restaurant or catering hall,
with a sit-down affair.
But, an informal backyard barbeque or an at-home buffet is equally acceptable.
Who Gets Invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?
The guest list should include everyone in the wedding party
(with spouses or significant others),
the immediate families of the bride and groom,
members of the clergy and any out of town guests.
What Happens at a Rehearsal Dinner?
Besides the rehearsal which precedes it
and the socializing that go on throughout the event,
the rehearsal dinner is typically the time
when the bride and groom present their attendants with little gifts,
as tokens of their appreciation.
For some couples this is also an occasion to exchange
their own wedding gifts
(perhaps pearls for the bride and cuff links/studs for the groom).
Some couples also give a token of appreciation
to their parents as a thank you for hosting the wedding.
Toasting is also traditionally a part of after-dinner activities.
The best man should be prepared with a toast to the bride and groom.
The couple might also consider a toast their parents.
Some rehearsal dinners have recently taken on a bit of a "roast" quality.
The more creative members of the wedding party,
usually the young people, can write poetry, tell stories,
and share anecdotes about the couple.
Because this party is limited to close friends and family,
it affords an opportunity to share childhood memories and stories of friendship.
Because it comes right on the heels of the wedding reception,
the Rehearsal Dinner should be less elaborate and more informal,
so as not to overshadow the main event.
The rehearsal dinner is a
terrific way of having the "key players,"
including the immediate
families and your attendants meet one another,
as well as some of your
In the same way as wedding receptions and ceremonies
have taken on new and
couples are becoming more
and more creative
about the ways in which they
use the rehearsal dinner.
Although tradition suggests that
guests leave fairly soon
after dessert is served,
many couples are extending
the event by bringing in a band for dancing.
In some cases the bride's
family or close friends of the family
invite the out-of-town
guests to an after-the-wedding brunch or breakfast.
These festivities serve also
to introduce the
immediate family members who
may offer toasts,
give speeches, or anything
else that imagination
and creativity conjure up
and are in good taste.
A word about rehearsal dinner toasts . . .
Traditionally, the toasts begin with the serving of the first
The host, usually the
welcomes the guests and
thanks the bride's parents for hosting the wedding.
The bride's father responds
with his own good wishes,
followed by the groom, the
groomsmen, and a bridesmaid or two.
In the new parameters of
more and more guests are
participating as well
and it's not even unusual
for the bride or her mother to add a few words.
The fact that rehearsal dinners,
like many other wedding
customs and traditions
are being expanded on and
getting new twists is a
testament to the creativity
and flexibility of today's couples and their families.
Whether you decide to have a
fancy sit-down dinner,
a desert-buffet, a picnic, a
barbeque, a pizza party, or even a potluck,
"dinner" is an opportunity to set the tone of
all of your wedding
The Trousseau Tea
More than any other of the pre-wedding parties,
the engagement party seems to be on a downward swing.
It's hard to say why, except that perhaps
the "invention" of the bachelorette party may be
serving in some measure to take its place.
Who Hosts the Engagement Party?
The engagement party is the responsibility
and financial obligation of the bride's parents.
Traditionally, everyone who was to be a guests at the wedding
would also be invited to the engagement party.
How Has the Traditional Engagement Party Changed?
With more and more couples setting up housekeeping
before they get married and with more and more young couples
waiting until they are "older" to marry,
traditional engagement parties are going through a transformation.
Once the engagement party was a way for the bride's parents
to introduce the young people to society, as a couple.
Amongst Orthodox Jews, the practice of
or betrothal, is still practiced and an accompanying party often takes place.
This first of two parts of two states in the marriage process,
has more recently been incorporated at many Jewish weddings,
into the second state, the marriage ceremony itself.
This has, in those cases, eliminated the "need" for an accompanying engagement party.
In society, in general, the need or necessity to announce
the prospective bride and groom as "a couple," seems less and less necessary.
Many couples, however, still wishing to celebrate
the event with their friends, throw their own engagement parties
and limit the guest list to close friends and family who are in their own age group.
The Engagement Party can be scheduled
at anytime after the engagement has been
but as far in advance of the wedding as possible.
What is the tradition behind the bridesmaids' party?
The bridesmaids' party, usually a luncheon,
is a pre-wedding event that is the obligation and responsibility of the bride.
The party serves several valuable functions.
First and foremost, It gives the bride an opportunity
to thank her attendants for their attentiveness
before her wedding and, in advance, for ministering to her during her wedding.
It also gives the bridesmaids an opportunity to
get to know one another a little better,
so they can be more of a team during the wedding.
With friends and family often spread across the miles,
this is a wonderful pre-wedding way for the bride's closest friends and family
to become acquainted with one another.
The party can be held as a luncheon,
which it most typically is, or as a breakfast, brunch, dinner,
or after work "for drinks" get-together.
This is also a place that the bride may be innovative and,
perhaps, choose to hold a beach or pool party.
Again the "rules" are made to be rewritten
and the creative hostess can do just that
with the objective of making the party more fun for her guests.
What Happens at a Bridesmaids' Party?
The bride can use this opportunity to present her gifts to her attendants.
She might also choose to "gift" them with
a day of beauty at a local health spa, nail or beauty salon.
Some brides make a day of it, by going with their bridesmaids
to pick up their dresses and do a last minute try on together.
The Bridesmaids' Party can be scheduled at any time after the chosen attendants say "yes."