Pre-Wedding Celebrations

Parties & Fun Before the Big Day
By: Kristen Castillo

Your big day is your focal point. You’re all about finding the right cake, choosing the perfect invitations, learning your first dances and figuring out which signature drink to serve. Your party planning is very time consuming.
While the wedding day tends to get the most attention, you’ve got lots of other parties to look forward to and enjoy. San Diego Style Weddings breaks down what you need to know about each event. So clear your calendar and prepare to have a good time.
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The Event: It’s probably the earliest pre-wedding celebration you’ll enjoy. The engagement party is a chance to share the news of your upcoming nuptials. This easy-going party is relaxed and happy.
Host: This one’s a toss-up. Sometimes brides and grooms pay for the party; other times the bride or groom’s family hosts the event. Styles, menus and prices vary from party to party.
Guest List: Invite your social circle, including family, friends and even co-workers. This is a night to celebrate, so be sure to include guests who you know will have a great time!
What’s Included: The party is informal and all about having a good time. Appetizers and cocktails are staples of engagement parties, so order up some hot and cold snacks, host an open bar and have a great time.


The Event: This gathering is all about making sure you and your groom are ready to set up your house. For this, you’ve registered for appliances, silverware, linens and household knickknacks. Now kick back and enjoy the company of your family and friends as you prepare to become a married couple.
Host: The maid of honor or the matron of honor typically host the bridal shower.
Guest List: You’ll see everyone from your grandma to your co-workers at your party, which can be girls-only or Jack & Jill style, where men and women attend. If you have a preference for one type of party over another, tell your maid of honor right away before she makes plans.
What’s Included: Bridal showers can be fairly traditional which means you and your guests could be playing games for prizes; you’ll open presents about halfway through the party and all the while guests usually have lunch, simple cocktails and nibble a congratulatory cake.


The Event: Men receive bachelor parties while women relish bachelorette parties. Both parties are ways to let loose, enjoy your friends and spend a night on the town. Men often go out for drinks, a game of cards or pool, or to a sporting event. Ladies often pamper themselves with a spa party and cocktails.
For guys and girls, things can get rowdy and racy. Chat with your guy about your expectations for his good time and for your good time during your respective parties. There’s no need to get upset with each other, especially so close to the wedding.
Host: Members of the wedding party usually pay for the bride and groom’s respective parties.
Guest List: You’ll hang out with your wedding party, close friends and siblings. The smaller the group, the better time you’re likely to have.


The Event: The rehearsal dinner is traditionally celebrated the night before the big day. In recent times, there’s some flexibility with the schedule, allowing the dinner to be held anytime during the week of the wedding. Still most of the time, this dinner is held after the wedding rehearsal, the trial run of the ceremony. Pick the venue you want to showcase your style.
Host: The majority of the time, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. That’s because traditionally the bride’s family pays for the wedding. These days, many brides and grooms are pitching in to host the rehearsal dinner.
Guest List: A rehearsal dinner is usually a small event with a limited guest list.  Invite your immediate family, members of the wedding party and their guests, and all out-of-town guests.
What’s Included: This mellow party is fun and tasteful. Guests usually enjoy yummy food, delicious drinks and the opportunity to meet and greet others, including out-of-town guests and people from the other side of the party.
A groom’s guests may be meeting the bride’s guests for the first time, so use this dinner as a chance to forge friendships.


The Event: This intimate gathering is all about showing your love and appreciation for the ladies in your wedding party and all other women in your life who you treasure. The lunch is usually held a few weeks or a few days before the wedding. You’ll enjoy a light lunch and lots of girl-time.
Host: The bride hosts this luncheon as a way to thank all the members of the bridal party. You won’t break your wedding budget either.
Guest List: This “ladies-only” luncheon includes all the women who will be a part of your wedding day such as your bridesmaids, your sister, your mother, your mother-in-law, and any other females who are close family or friends. Once again, the smaller the lunch, the better — you’ll really enjoy spending time with a close-knit group of girls, instead of feeling pressured to mingle with a big guest list.

No matter what the pre-wedding celebration, you’ll be the center of attention. So buy a few new outfits; freshen your hair and lipstick; and get ready to be the life of the party.


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