Some of the most common questions from brides about wedding etiquette are related to the parties that lead up to the wedding, such as the bridal shower, bachelor party and rehearsal dinner. Today in the first part of our Wedding Etiquette 101 series, we will try to address some of the most frequently asked questions. However, if you have another question, please leave it in the comments and we'll try our best to answer it.
One of the most common misconceptions is that the maid of honor must host the bridal shower. In fact, any friend of the bride and/or groom can host the party. With tough economic times, it's becoming more commonplace for a group to friends to host the party, considering the bridal shower hosts pay for all the shower expenses. Bridal showers are not only for women. Couples showers have grown in popularity in recent years.
Bridal showers should be held sometime from two weeks before the wedding to three months before the wedding. A shower can be held in someone's home, a restaurant, a spa or other special venue.
Showers should be small gatherings of close friends and relatives. Anyone who is invited to these events should also be invited to the wedding. Otherwise it will look like you are just inviting people to your shower because you want gifts. In the bridal shower invitation, you can let the guests know where the bride and groom are registered. It's never appropriate to mention a gift registry in the actual wedding invitation. But in a shower invitation, it's acceptable and expected.
For a bachelor or bachelorette party, each guest normally pays his or her own tab for food and drinks. The hosts (or everyone) chips in to pay the expenses for the bride and groom. These parties should not be held the night before the wedding (too many hangovers), but rather two weeks to a month prior to the wedding day.
The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the bride and groom to spend time with their family and friends for the last time before the wedding. It's traditionally held the evening before the wedding, right after the rehearsal. However, it can be held anytime within two weeks before the wedding date. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is paid for by the groom's parents. However, in recent years it has become acceptable for the bride and groom to pay for the dinner themselves, as part of their thanks to their relatives and friends.
The immediate family of both the bride and groom, plus all of the bridal party should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Additionally, any out-of-town guests should be invited as well. This dinner is normally a semi-formal event held at a local restaurant where the bride and groom toast their family and the friends. This is also traditionally the time the couple gives gifts to their bridal party.
Next week, we will talk more about etiquette, particularly who pays for which wedding expenses. In recent years, the lines have become blurred in this area, but there are still general etiquette guidelines to determine who pays for what.
Story by Kori Ellis