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Everyone knows what the wedding day is, but all the other events leading up to the wedding can be a source of confusion. None of these events are necessary, but they can all be great ways to work in different entertainment ideas. If you've been asked to host one of these parties, or if someone has asked if they can host one for you, here's a brief rundown on what's involved.
What it is: An engagement party is a coed party that generally happens at the beginning of the engagement. It's a great way for the two different sides of family and friends to meet each other. If the bride or groom is from a different city than where the wedding will take place the engagement party can be held in his or her home city for people who do not wish to travel. People having destination weddings also frequently have engagement parties.
Who hosts: Usually the family of the bride or groom, but a good friend can as well.
Entertainment Ideas: Music, low key strolling acts such as a magician anything in keeping with the theme of the party
What it is: A girls only party designed to "shower" the bride with gifts and tips on married life.
Who hosts: Generally a bridesmaid or other close female friend. Since gifts are involved family members don't generally host bridal showers.
Gifts: Most definitely yes
Entertainment Ideas: Music, Comedians, Henna artists, Belly dancers
What it is: Rowdier and raunchier than a bridal shower, a bachelorette party is a girl's only party. Although you can choose to host one at home, many groups choose to hit the bars.
Who hosts: Generally, bridesmaids but can be other female friends.
Gifts: Optional, can be less expensive "gag gifts" or more "personal" than a bridal shower gift.
Entertainment Ideas: If going out, a party bus or limo is a must!
What it is: Held the weekend of the wedding or shortly before, a lunch, brunch, or tea to thank the bridesmaids for all of their hard work. The bride's mother and future mother-in-law may also be invited.
Who hosts: The bride or the bride and her mother
Gifts: Given by the bride to the bridesmaids
Entertainment Ideas: Quartets, soloists - background music
What it is: Traditionally, bachelor parties are held the week of the wedding and involve lots of debauchery and wildness. That's changing as grooms are realizing that it isn't really a "last night of freedom" but a chance to bond with their guy friends.
Who hosts: Best man and groomsmen
Gifts: Optional but usually gag gifts, or just shots or drinks at a bar
Entertainment Ideas: Think less stripper and more paintball fight for a modern bachelor party
What it is: Party held the night before the wedding to thank and honor the people who are in the wedding and out of town family.
Who hosts: Traditionally, the groom's family, but today it can be either family or the bride and groom themselves.
Entertainment Ideas: Anything you would have for a wedding! Musicians, DJs, magicians, clowns it all depends on the theme and the mood. The rehearsal party can be a great way to work in ideas that you didn't get to use for the wedding itself.
By the way, all the entertainment ideas are available through GigMasters!