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Bridal Showers

What is the Origin of the Bridal Shower?

The bridal shower has its roots in the traditional bridal dowry. 
In some countries, the bridal dowry still exists and is a necessary prerequisite 
for any young lady to becoming married. 
In years gone by, if a young woman found herself without an adequate dowry 
and the basic necessities to start her own home, 
her sympathetic friends would "shower" her with enough gifts
 to enable her to set up housekeeping.

Who Throws the Bridal Shower?

Bridal showers were traditionally thrown by the close friends of the bride, 
rather than by family members, so no one would think, heaven forbid, 
that the family was "begging" gifts for the prospective bride. 
Immediate members of the family, bride's or groom's, should not give the shower. 
This includes mothers, grandmothers, sisters. 


Aunts, cousins, members of the bridal party, coworkers and friends are appropriate hostesses.

Are Showers for Women Only?

Today, the traditional, all-female wedding shower is being stretched to
 include the guys as well, perhaps because men are 
taking more and more interest in the home and in setting up housekeeping. 
There is also nothing wrong, for example, 
of the ushers or a close friend cannot give a shower for the groom. 
A bar, workshop, or sports shower would be a most appreciated gesture.

How Many Showers are Appropriate and What Size Should They Be?

Most rules of etiquette suggest that the number of showers be limited to two. 
This avoids overloading the potential gift-givers with obligations 
that become just too expensive. 
A new custom of making a huge shower and inviting all or 
most of the wedding guests is in really poor taste. 
Members of both families (including the moms on both sides) may attend, 
as well as the attendants, including junior bridesmaids 
and the closest friends. 
The number of showers and the size of the showers 
should be limited to spare the bride's friends' pocketbooks. 
A shower is supposed to be an intimate affair for close friends and family. 
Anything else really does ruin the charm.

When Should a Shower Be Scheduled?

Showers should be scheduled at least two weeks before the wedding date 
and as far in advance as the party-giver wishes.

Should the Shower Be a Surprise?

Traditionally bridal showers were supposed to be a surprise, 
but more often than not, they weren't. 
In truth, the party probably will be much more organized 
and much more fun if the hostess can discuss the guest list with the bride. 
In this way, if there is more than one shower, 
the bride can divide the guests into good mixes of people 
and avoid the need to "over-give."

What Are the Different Kinds of Wedding Showers?

The kinds of wedding showers today vary from the traditional ones of years ago. 
Today, pretty much anything goes . . . 
Sunday afternoon picnics, 
pool parties,
 brunches and 
barbeques are all acceptable. 
The favourite of brides still seems to be the weekend brunch. 
The only thing to remember is that the shower 
should be kept informal and that the gifts are appropriate to the crowd. 
No lingerie please at his and hers showers. 
Co-ed showers change the gift parameters a bit 
and allow both male and female-oriented items.

There are as many shower themes are as there are creative party planners. 


Kitchen showers are probably the most popular, 
especially for a couple just starting out together. 


For couples who have already set up a home or apartment, 
a "service shower" with gifts of redeemable coupons 
(an afternoon of yard work, staining the deck, refinishing "grandma's" rocker, etc.) 
is an excellent idea. 


Of course, the more traditional Tuperware, 
pantry or recipe showers are equally as delightful. 


In some parts of the country, pottery studios are popping up. 
These allow shower guests to make a set (or a part of a set) 
of dishes or mugs or platters, with the 
bride present to choose the pattern and style. 
Add snack or lunch and this is a wonderful way to spend a pleasant afternoon together.

Just keep in mind that the shower should try to reflect the personalities of the couple. 
If, for example, the bride and groom are outdoor enthusiasts, 
sporting goods night might be the most appropriate theme. 
For the couple who likes to entertain, gourmet foods 
and wine would be most welcome.
 If it's your luck to be able to plan a shower, 
feel free to be as creative and innovative as you would like.


Bachelorette Parties

The bachelorette party may be a "reaction" 
to men being included in the wedding shower, an expression of feminism, 
or more likely, just another excuse for pre-wedding festivities. 


The bride and her attendants may make this a night on the town, 
an evening at a nightclub , or simply an at-home pyjama party (
perhaps the last) for the bride and her girlfriends. 

Who Hosts the Bachelorette Party?

Typically it is the maid of honor or the bride's sister who host the party. 
The event-planning can be really creative with this party 
because it's a new addition to the pre-wedding party list 
and there have been no firm traditions set. 
Although the party may be held at any time before the wedding, 
for ease of scheduling, the bachelorette party is often planned 
to follow the wedding shower, bridging one event into the other.


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 
after rehearsing. 
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 guests. 

In the same way as wedding receptions and ceremonies 
have taken on new and interesting forms, 
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 course. 
The host, usually the groom's father, 
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 today's etiquette, 
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, 
the rehearsal "dinner" is an opportunity to set the tone of 
fellowship and 
celebration for 
all of your wedding festivities.


The Trousseau Tea


Wedding Brunch


Stress Relievers


Engagement Parties

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 erusin, 
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 announced, 
but as far in advance of the wedding as possible.


Bridesmaid Parties

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."