Party Rock: Your Guide to Pre-Wedding Festivities

Here's the scoop on engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and more!

The Bridal Showertable setting field

Photo Credit: Shannon Lee Images

What it is: A shower is a way of honoring the bride-to-be, and “showering” her with gifts for her new married home. “For showers, there are usually three key components: refreshments, fun activities, like games or quizzes and the bride opening her gifts in front of her guests,” says Bussen, who is also the author of Simple Stunning Wedding Showers.

Who hosts: Classic etiquette rules state that the bride’s mom or sister isn’t supposed to host the shower, says Bussen. “But these days, many moms and sisters do act as hostesses for these fun festivities, and it’s really a personal decision.” You might find that a relative offers to host one shower for you, and a friend offers to host a different, more laid-back bash, where you can invite your pals. Sometimes, co-workers will throw you a shower, too. It’s completely fine to have multiple showers.

Who attends: Usually, it’s close female friends and relatives—just how big the guest list is up to you and your host. But the same rule goes for the shower as goes for the other pre-wedding parties: Don’t invite anyone you won’t invite to the actual wedding. “There is only one exception: an office shower. It is understood that you may not be able to invite all your co-workers to the wedding,” says Bussen.

Why to have it: Not only does a shower provide the couple with things that can make their newlywed house more of a home, it’s another opportunity to socialize with family and friends.

When to do it: Two to six months before the wedding is the ideal time, says Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event in Chicago. “Keep it spaced out from your wedding date.” That way, guests don’t feel like they’re going to so many wedding events right in a row.

Good to know: “The bride absolutely must write a thank-you note to each guest, and it should be personalized,” says Bussen. 

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