Bachelor Party

8 Wedding Pre-Party Ideas

Kelsey Lawler, Premier Bride of Central and Northeast Wisconsin

June 25, 2022

When you get engaged, it’s easy to go full-steam ahead into wedding planning. Let’s face it: your wedding is the ultimate party to plan! But are you snatching up the opportunity to celebrate along the way? Here are 8 ideas for pre-wedding parties, gatherings, and celebrations you won’t want to miss out on.

Engagement Party

If it’s not too late, consider looping an engagement party into your proposal. After the asking, relocate to a surprise party that gathers together all of your nearest and dearest family and friends. You might host this at a local bar, restaurant, or someone’s home—somewhere festive. Already proposed? You can still kick off the engagement with a party! This is an opportunity to bask in the moment as a newly-engaged couple, before diving into the stress of wedding planning.

Dress Shopping Day

One of the first things on a bride’s to-do list? Find the dress. Odds are you’ll want to bring along some of the key people in your life—your mom, sisters, best friends, and so on. Turn the shopping adventure into a little party, complete with brunch, a blowout or nail appointment, a spa day, or whatever speaks to you. A fun day of pampering pairs perfectly with a day of dress shopping.

Bridal Shower

A bridal shower opens the celebration to a wider array of family and friends. Typically, bridal showers are daytime affairs that take place either at someone’s home or perhaps at a local restaurant. Be sure to prep your wedding registry well ahead of your bridal shower as gifts are the main thing that set this party apart from the rest. Traditionally, your loved ones will use your bridal shower as an opportunity to—as the name suggests—shower you with gifts. This is their way of sharing in your excitement to be starting a new life with the person you love.

Bachelorette Party

Call your girlfriends—it’s time for everyone’s favorite pre-wedding party! While bachelorette parties are often a local, one-night affair, they are becoming increasingly extravagant in the best way. Groups of friends use the bachelorette party as an “excuse” to plan weekends away and once-in-a-lifetime trips, girls only. When planning a group trip, be sure to make reservations well in advance. You might even plan your attire so that your entire group looks cohesive.

Bachelor Party

Much like the bachelorette party, the bachelor party gives the groom and his guys a reason to go all out, whether for a night on the town or a weekend away. In our experience, the fellas seem to be more laid-back as far as activities and attire—but there are no rules here. When it comes to bachelor and bachelorette parties, anything goes.

Wedding Party Meet & Mingle

Does everyone in your wedding party know each other? It’s so much more fun if they do! That way the entire group will be comfortable together and primed to have a great time on your wedding day. Plus, true camaraderie will shine through in all your group photos. For these reasons, it’s always nice to bring the bridesmaids and groomsmen together for a little meet and mingle before the big day.

Rehearsal Dinner

While you could have your wedding party meet and mingle at your rehearsal dinner, this party is a bit more complex. A rehearsal dinner traditionally follows the rehearsal of the wedding ceremony, so it’s not all fun and games. It’s also held on the eve of the wedding, which puts some limits on the night’s festivities. Your rehearsal dinner should also include everyone in the bride and groom’s immediate families as well as the wedding party. It’s up to you if you want to also invite extended family and/or out-of-town guests.

Pre-Wedding Cocktails

Following your more-intimate rehearsal dinner, you may want to host cocktails for any out-of-town guests. Typically, you can invite all out-of-towners to a local bar or restaurant. There’s no obligation to cover the cost of drinks if you don’t want to—this is more so an opportunity to see faraway friends and family who have traveled a distance to celebrate your wedding.

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