When one plans a wedding, a fair amount of consideration is often poured into the events leading up to and after the wedding.  With many pre and post wedding activity options surrounding a wedding (which lets face it, usually require minimal effort  and planning on the brides part), how does one organise, plan and execute the many events that lead the way to the altar?

So let’s breakdown each event, who hosts the event and who should be invited.

The Bridal Shower

Image by Rebecca Humphries ([email protected] / 0411 757 212) via A Mad Hen’s Party

Traditionally the Bridal Shower is held two to three months prior to the wedding in honour of the bride to be. There should be little to no planning involved for the bride to be and the shower is usually hosted by one or more of the bride’s closest friends or bridesmaids. It is said the custom of a bridal shower originated in the 1890’s and is not necessarily designed to just provide the bride with gifts for the matrimonial home, but to provide goods and financial assistance to ensure the wedding will actually take place. With all that in mind, who gets invited? The bride should always provide the host with a guest list, but as a general rule:

  • You should only invite people who will attend or are invited to the wedding.
  • Mothers, sisters, grandmothers and close aunties of the bride and groom.
  • The bride’s close friends and bridesmaids (if they aren’t hosting).

Showers are usually a women-only affair, with the groom putting  in an appearance towards the end, usually at the opening of the gifts (typical!).

The Bachelorette/Hen’s Party

Image by Sarah Black of Red Telegram Photography via Melbourne Bridesmaid’s Shoot

Traditionally the Bachelorette or Hen’s party is held in honor of the bride, just before she gets married. The concept is modeled on the Bachelor Party, where the groom celebrates his “last night of freedom” before entering into marriage. The Bachelorette Party is usually hosted by the Maid of Honor, with assistance from the bridesmaids. Just like the Bridal Shower, the bride should provide the organiser with a guest list, taking into consideration the following:

  • You should only invite people who will attend or are invited to the wedding.
  • You want it to feel intimate, so keep the guest list short.
  • Depending on the type of event, you may want to invite mothers.

Remember, the Bride or Groom should not be funding the Bachelorette Party. It is acceptable for the Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids to all put in for the event, as well as each guest making a small contribution in lieu of a gift.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Image by Jonas Peterson via Penny and Gerald’s Heartfelt Noosa Beach Wedding

The Rehearsal Dinner has become more popular over the years. Traditionally it is hosted and paid for by the groom’s parents, but there really is no right or wrong procedure for the rehearsal dinner. The couple, bride’s parents or even another relative could host the dinner. The name suggests that something should be rehearsed at this event, but nothing actually is. The name stems from the fact that the dinner followed the wedding rehearsal, held on the evening before the wedding. There are no rules on who you can and can’t invite, but do consider inviting:

  • The wedding party and immediate family.
  • Out-of-town guests who have come down the day before the wedding.
  • People who will attend or are invited to the wedding.

The Rehearsal dinner is no longer a formal affair. Take a more casual approach, and use it to kick off the wedding festivities!

Post-Wedding Brunch 

Image by Karen Buckle Photography via Afternoon in the Garden Wedding Inspiration

The Post-Wedding Brunch is really one last hurrah! The brunch should be kept informal, as no doubt guests will be leaving early, heading for the nearest airport, or are simply partied out! Just like the rehearsal dinner, there are no strict rules on who can host. As for the guests, they should receive some sort of formal or informal invitation and consider inviting:

  • The wedding party and immediate family.
  • Out-of-town guests.
  • Close family members and friends.

It is important to keep the formalities of any kind to a minimum, relax and enjoy your company for breakfast. Use it as a brief opportunity to catch up with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while, and not to mention the post wedding gossip!

As the guest of honor, the bride should always graciously attend each event and remember to thank not only the hosts who have put in a whole lot of work, but each and every guest!

Ms Gingham says: Who hosts? Who do you invite? What’s the etiquette? I love posts like these as they really help to clear up those grey areas in wedding etiquette. Thank God for the internet!

 Sarah says: “Newly Wed who loves to blog about weddings and food! Loved everything about planning my wedding and honeymoon, and absolutely devastated that it is all over now. icon sad Unique Wedding Gifts Have the most amazing husband who I love with all my heart, and am so looking forward to the journey life will take us on together now that we are married!”

Click here to read Sarah’s advice on many wedding related topics including an article on prenuptial agreements.