Which Pre-Wedding Parties are Necessary?

From time to time, you may be called to aid in planning pre-wedding parties. Sometimes, it’ll be a minor role where you’ll recommend popular venues for these events. Other times, you may be hired to take over all the planning (in which case you should bill accordingly!). Whatever it may be, you should be able to make thoughtful recommendations and provide helpful tips to your clients.

Since you’re familiar with the engagement period and wedding plans, you should have a good idea which pre-wedding parties are worth throwing due to the planning timeline. If you don’t, it’s never too late to learn! Keep reading to find out which pre-wedding parties are really necessary!

Key considerations

  • What’s the timeline of the engagement?
    • If your clients’ engagement period is six months or less, they may want to skip some of these parties. The last thing the clients and guests want is event exhaustion!
  • Do your wedding planning clients want to raise additional funds for their honeymoon?
    • If they want to raise funds, the Stag & Doe party may be worth throwing.

The wedding party is typically responsible for planning the wedding showers, bachelor & bachelorette parties, and stag & doe parties. They may also have a hand in planning the rehearsal dinner—although, the couple and their family usually take the reins for it.

When should each pre-wedding party be held?

dessert table for a pre-wedding party - becoming a wedding planner

Here’s a quick breakdown of the succession of pre-wedding parties. Find out the (typical) times best-suited for each type of party!

  • Engagement Party – within a month of the engagement
  • Wedding Shower – around six months before the wedding
  • Bachelor and Bachelorette Party – a few weeks before the wedding
  • Stag & Doe Party – a few weeks before the wedding
  • Rehearsal Dinner – the night before the wedding
  • Wedding Breakfast – the morning of the wedding

Engagement Party

This type of party is often intimate, thrown by the couple or by close friends and family members. This type of party often happens before the couple hires you to become their wedding planner. This party isn’t necessary, but it’s a sweet way to celebrate good news and get key players in the planning process acquainted!

Wedding Shower

bride-to-be with engagement ring surrounded by bridesmaids and women

The wedding shower is also known as the “bridal shower”, and this event is usually held in someone’s home. Many of the bride’s close friends and family may get together to throw this party, but many couples opt to skip it altogether. The wedding couple does not pay for this event. Usually friends and family will pitch in to cover food & drinks, activities, and event decor.

If you’re approached by a member of the wedding party (likely the maid of honor) about this event, advise them to ask the couple if they want one! Some couples may be offended by a “surprise” wedding shower. This is due to the historical origins of the wedding shower—they were originally thrown in response to the disapproval of the bride’s fiancé by her father. If he refused to provide a dowry, the community would band together to throw party and “shower” the bride with practical gifts to bring with her into her marriage.

Bachelor & Bachelorette Party

Ah, the infamous Bach parties. These parties are often the catalyst for movie high-jinx! Unlike the wedding shower, these parties are (usually) restricted to just members of the wedding party. As the wedding planner, you won’t often be involved in the planning. However, in cities that are popular for bachelor and bachelorette parties, there are many companies that offer specific services in this event planning niche. Heck, you may even wish to become a wedding planner who does it all!

bachelorette party pool

In terms of whether this type of party is worth throwing? We absolutely recommend it as a way to ward off pre-wedding jitters. The biggest misconception is that it needs to be an unforgettable, absolutely wild night. But it really doesn’t have to be. Low-key movie nights in, comedy nights out, and everything in-between are all popular options. A great bachelor(ette) party best reflects the interests of the groom- or bride-to-be—not the elaborate comedic plots in Hollywood movies!

Stag & Doe Party

This type of party is intended to raise funds for the couple’s upcoming wedding or honeymoon. Your clients will organize a large event with music, games, and food. Guests would then purchase a ticket to attend and pay to play the games.

Of all the pre-wedding parties, a stag and doe party takes the most work to coordinate. Clients may ask you to help plan the party, book a DJ, rent a venue, arrange catering and help organize games and prizes. Because of the level of effort involved, some couples choose to forgo the event altogether—especially when funds aren’t a huge problem. Should they go ahead with a stag & doe party, your clients should cast their net far and wide—the more people who show up, the more fundraising potential!

Rehearsal Dinner

wedding rehearsal dinner reception table event decor

Rehearsal dinners are popular in North America, but less so elsewhere. The dinner allows all the important guests to convene for the first time. Guests typically include the couple’s parents, the wedding party and other close friends and relatives. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is planned and paid for by the groom’s parents.

Rehearsal dinners take place the night before the wedding but aren’t mandatory. Your clients will be able to practice their entrances and thank everyone who was involved in the wedding planning process. However, your couple may not feel the need to practice the processional but still want to gather with everyone. As such, locations as informal as the local pizzeria or a backyard BBQ have gained popularity in recent years.

Wedding Breakfast

Your client may wish to host a breakfast on the day of the wedding. This is a great alternative for couples who expect many of their guests to arrive from out-of-town the evening prior to wedding day. More casual than a rehearsal dinner, the wedding breakfast is held during the calm before the storm. It allows the couple to relax with close friends and family. Just make sure that their appointments with their wedding vendors (hair, makeup, photography, etc,) don’t interfere with the breakfast.

wedding breakfast

Keep in mind, some traditional couples may not want to see their spouses-to-be prior to the ceremony. In those cases, they may opt to have the wedding breakfast the morning after the big day. In such a case, it can be even more significant as it’s your clients’ first outing as a married couple!

Which pre-wedding parties are absolutely necessary in your opinion? Let us know!

What about after the wedding reception? Find out how to throw the ultimate wedding afterparty!

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