The Celebrations Behind the Celebration

Whether it’s the bridal (or coed) shower, the bachelor or bachelorette party, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, or the bridesmaid luncheon, there are a lot of other events that go into planning your big event. Which of the below you choose to incorporate into your wedding planning process is up to you (or the friends and family who offer to host).


Showers are a fun opportunity for everyone to get together and mingle before the big day, but technically showers are optional, and it’s completely up to your loved ones as to whether or not they want to hold one. Typically your bridesmaids, family members, or close friends will take the lead in planning a shower. Share your wedding guest list with your bridesmaids and close family members, and let them handle all invitations and planning and hosting duties.

Some hosts choose fun themes and coordinate all of the gifts and games to go along, but if you’d rather keep things simple, just let them know. Make the thank you note process simple by having a good friend keep track of the gifts received and who gifted them.


The bachelor and / or bachelorette party is an opportunity to get your wolfpack together to celebrate the end of your singleness. We’d give you suggestions, but given that we spend our spare time writing wedding planning guides, we’ll defer to your judgment as to what constitutes a weekend of fun.

Chances are your bridal party is already scheming on ways to celebrate your final few weeks of single living, and if you have opinions about it, now is the time to let them know.

Whether you’re going for one last night on the town or something more laid back, ask the host to take everyone’s schedules and budget into mind when he or she is putting it together. If your groomsmen or bridesmaids live all over the place and will have to fly in for your bachelor(ette) party and your wedding just a few short weeks later, maybe nix the big bash and go for something smaller and intimate with friends who are nearby.


The rehearsal is your moment to put everything into practice so that everyone involved is familiar with their roles before the big day. Typically the ceremony officiant will lead the rehearsal, and it usually takes place the afternoon before the wedding day.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your rehearsal or to go through the motions several times until everyone is clear on where they should be and when they should be there. And most of all, don’t forget to have fun. More than likely the groomsmen will be cracking jokes and not paying attention. (Boys!) They’ll rely on the bridesmaids for help later.

Your officiant and / or wedding coordinator will help guide you through the process, and the rehearsal is a great time to take a deep breath, have fun, and remember that you and your fiance are on your way to starting your new life together.

And since you’ll have all of your important people in one place, it’s also a good time to distribute copies of your important people contact list and wedding day schedule.

Once you have a rehearsal scheduled with your officiant and venue, begin to plan your rehearsal dinner. Invite each of your immediate families as well as your wedding party and anyone else who will take part in your wedding. Some couples open the rehearsal dinner up to everyone who will be attending the wedding. Whether or not you choose to go big or go small, the rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to spend time with your loved ones before the whirlwind of wedding day activities. If you have the space and the time, open up the floor for toasts and memory sharing and use it as an opportunity to thank all of the people who traveled to be with you and who poured the heart and soul into pulling off your big day.


Of course you’ll want to thank your ladies, too, and a bridal luncheon is an opportunity for the bride to host her bridesmaids in the week leading up to the wedding. It’s usually a morning or early afternoon gathering over brunch or tea as a way to say thank you to the bridesmaids for all of their hard work. The important thing is showing your gratitude to the people who are working hard to make your wedding wonderful.

If you want to host a bridal luncheon, start browsing your options for a location. You can do it at your house, a family member’s house, or a restaurant or venue. Once you have a date and location in mind, reach out to your bridesmaids and set aside the time for all of you to get together, relax, and have fun before all of the other wedding festivities ensue. Make it a time to let each bridesmaid know how much she means to you and how thankful you are for having her with you on your big day.

Regardless of whether you pull off just one or all of the events above, make sure to thank everyone involved and let them know how much it means to you. We share more about how to write a good thank you card here.

Want even more tips for planning your wedding? Our weekly countdown walks you through the entire wedding planning process from beginning to end, telling you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Check it out HERE.