After getting engaged, it can feel like there are an overwhelming number of things to organize and plan. Couples are often shocked by the amount of responsibility they have in planning various elements of their wedding. A good place to start is breaking down the different pieces to the celebration; five elements that construct wedding festivities include the wedding shower, bachelor & bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner & welcome party, wedding day & reception, and after-wedding celebration. It sounds like a lot, and it can be, but knowing exactly what you want to include and be responsible for will help guide the planning around your day as well as the actual day.
First, decide what of those things you actually are interested in hosting and participating in. Once you know what, if any, of the wedding adjacent activities you want to host, you can begin to plan how you want them to go and what timeline you want them to follow.
Many wedding showers are oriented towards just one person in the party, but as times change, it is common to see both halves of the whole enjoying the celebration together in more non-traditional settings or foregoing the shower altogether.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties are often a fun celebration for the couple and their chosen parties’, and as with all things wedding, are ever evolving in format. Previously, the “stag and hen” parties were something completely separate from the wedding, happening in another town, state, and sometimes even country, weeks or months before the wedding. More recently, couples have moved towards combining these parties and celebrating together, or, rather than making people potentially travel twice, incorporate it into the wedding weekend. It involves fewer logistics for those planning, and those attending. It is not mandatory by any means, but a great option for those having a destination wedding or who want to plan one large event rather than many small events.
Next up, comes the rehearsal dinner and/or welcome party. While the rehearsal was formerly a semi-intimate dinner following the practice of the wedding ceremony, solely involving the wedding party, immediate family, and anyone with a role in the ceremony, recently there has been a shift for this to be a welcoming and thank you to all guests traveling for the occasion, as well as the aforementioned parties. While this is still a great time to give thank you gifts to wedding parties and give speeches and toasts, whether this is an intimate affair or a larger thank you and welcome to town dinner is up to your preferences and budget.
After all of that, comes the big day. Obviously, this is the main event and the majority of what you planned for. The biggest piece to keep in mind here, is not overdoing it at any of the other previous events. Ensuring you’re well rested, and have a point person to take care of all the little details, will create a celebratory day that you can just enjoy.
Finally, comes the after wedding brunch. This is not a must either, but something popular to say thank you and goodbye to friends and family. It’s another opportunity for the couple to mix and mingle with loved ones they may not have gotten face time with in hustle and bustle of the wedding day.
Whatever combination of events you choose, you are sure to have a wonderful time. Remember that asking for help, allocating your budget and only including those you wish to have attend each event will create a stress-free, joyful atmosphere and an unforgettable wedding weekend.