Here Are All Of The Wedding Events You Should Know About
When you meet the love of your life. The partner you know you want to wake up to every morning and say goodnight to every evening—it’s cause to celebrate.
And celebrate, we do!
There are lots of events leading up to and following a wedding. Today, we want to give you an extensive (but not exhaustive) list so that you can figure out how you want to celebrate.
After you and your loved one celebrate your engagement personally, it’s time to bring your loved ones in. An engagement party is a time to celebrate the beginning of the rest of your life. It can be the first celebration you host, allowing close family and friends to get to know you better as a couple. Engagement parties can be as distinct as your personalities, laid back and casual or formal, and planned to a T. This event typically happens within 12 weeks of your official engagement day. Many pre- and post-wedding events are traditionally hosted by the bride’s family, but as we modernize wedding events, anyone can choose to host for you—even yourself. Invites need not be too fancy. You can go with an e-vite, but be sure to give enough time to your guests to plan their attendance. Typically 4-6 weeks is plenty of time. Since an engagement party generally is more intimate, you can throw them at a family home, a park, or even a small event venue.
Regarding showers, we’ve covered the history and planning process on our blog. But if you are trying to figure out if you want to throw a wedding shower, you first need to ask yourself if both people in the couple want to attend or if you want to go the more traditional route and just have the bride in attendance? Wedding showers can be more laid back and include both partners. It’s time for your loved ones to shower you with gifts to get started on your life together. Since these parties invite all genders, they are typically more of a “cocktail party”-style event with dinner, drinks, and time to commune. We love wedding showers on the beach, local parks, a beautiful restaurant like Vintana, or your own private event venue.
If you want to go the more traditional route (which has a history dating back to the 1500s), you can throw a bridal shower. This is typically a women-only event with games, food, drinks, and time to share support with the bride. Invite the bridal party, your closest friends, and family members. This party is typically planned by the maid of honor, and we have put together tons of bridal shower themes to get your wheels turning.
One of the most popular pre-wedding events for the bride is the bachelorette party. It’s a time for the bride to kick back with her bridal party and best friends and celebrate the “last days of being single.” Also known as a “Hen Party,” this celebration can last a few hours or an entire weekend-plus affair. These are typically planned for a few weeks (4-6) or the night before a wedding. It’s a time to cut loose, laugh with friends, and make memories to last a lifetime. This wedding celebration is planned by the bridal party and is their way of spoiling the bride.
A bachelor party is the counterpart to the bachelorette, which has been around even longer, dating back to 5 B.C. Also known as a “Stag Night,” this party is about the groom. You can usually see these unfolding on bar crawls or a weekend getaway. Whatever the bachelors decide to do, it should be fun for all. This party is hosted by the groomsmen.
If you have yet to hear of the bridal luncheon, you should definitely add it to the list. This beautiful celebration is just for the bridal party. It’s a time for the bride to return the favor for all these wonderful parties from her bridal party and family. The attendees are usually the bridal party, including the flower girl (and her mother), the mother of the groom, the mother of the bride, sisters, and sisters-in-law-to-be. This event can be a lovely brunch or afternoon tea hosted at a restaurant or a small private event space. The point of this event is for the bride to acknowledge all that her party has done and to show them gratitude for supporting her on her journey.
The rehearsal dinner is a tradition that’s been around for a long time. It occurs after the ceremony rehearsal, where the wedding party learns how the ceremony will go and practices before the big event. Typically, the rehearsal dinner is after and limited to those in the wedding party. Still, some modern couples have turned this into a more open event to begin their wedding celebrations. A rehearsal can be anything from a quick meal with friends to a full event with food, drinks, and entertainment.
A newer wedding tradition, the wedding party can either be planned in place of or in addition to the rehearsal dinner. It is an event thrown the evening before the wedding to welcome out-of-town guests and prepare people for the festivities. The groom’s family takes on the hosting and planning duties and can create a full dinner and drinks event, or serve tapas, desserts, or anything in between.
Wedding and Reception
These are the main events. The wedding, where the bride and groom share their vows, is followed by the big celebration, from micro weddings to destination weddings, to massive soirees. Whatever you plan, it should express your love and personality to all. We have plenty of resources for planning a wedding and planning a reception with any details you need to know.
If you’ve ever heard a couple say their wedding flew by, you aren’t alone.
Enter: the after party.
Recently, couples have decided to keep up the energy of their reception after the last dance and take it to a bar where drinks, music, and celebrations continue. This isn’t an “official invite” type of event, and the idea is that people who want to keep the party going can. So, if they are invited to your reception, they are invited to the wedding after-party. Just let folks know and have the D.J. announce the location at the end of the reception. If you are covering drinks and additional food at the next location, announce that too. It is always best for people to know the situation they are entering, whether they will be paying or not and what the dress code will be.
When it comes to relaxing parties with little of the “tradition” around it, the farewell brunch might win the award for most laid-back. This event is held the day after the wedding and supplies a nice brunch for wedding guests. The couple can extend the invitation to everyone they invited to the wedding or their closest loved ones. When it comes to brunch, it can be anything you want.
Finally, there’s the pièce de résistance, when you and your loved one travel into the sunset. Whether staying in a local hotel or spending a week in Tahiti, you won’t regret doing something special with your partner to decompress and start your marriage off with the most memorable trip.
While this list is long, it is not a complete wedding and events guide. There are plenty of cultural traditions that we didn’t cover here and are stunning additions to the festivities. We used this space to cover some of the new and historical American wedding traditions. And, with any wedding, you can do one or all. We even have happy couples elope and then throw a reception. So, stay calm if you are starting the planning process. Use this list as inspiration and a starting point for figuring out what is best for you.
If you plan a wedding in San Diego County, consider one of our thirteen indoor and outdoor event venues. We cannot wait to talk to you and help your dreams come true.