How Necessary Are the Pre-Wedding Events?

Do you need the parties leading up to the big day?

Picking which celebrations to host other than the big day itself can be quite difficult. Read ahead to explore your celebration options.

Photo: Tessa Maxine

After getting engaged, you suddenly have a huge to-do list of everything that needs to be planned before the wedding. Except it’s not just for the big day itself, but all the events leading up to it. As modern couples continue to craft their marriage celebrations into the way they want, some wonder if all the parties leading up to the main event are really necessary. Well, technically none of them are. After all, even a full-fledged wedding is not a requirement for marriage, and plenty of people elope or go to a courthouse for just that reason. However, if you choose to have a traditional ceremony and reception, you may feel more pressure to do things the “proper way.”

Engagement parties are largely the least necessary pre-wedding events, and should probably be the lowest priority if the idea of preparing for an event within months of the proposal stresses you out. On the other hand, if someone happens to throw a fête on your behalf, it can be a great opportunity for the two families to get acquainted. 

Bridal showers can seem like a tricky event, since the bride isn’t the one who hosts. If you don’t want one, make that clear to bridesmaids and female relatives who might try to host a shower in your honor. Even if you don’t register, you can still have a fun get-together with your closest ladies, perhaps to share recipes or some other alternative to a bridal shower. This can also be an option if you desire a shower, but no one throws you one. Since you wouldn’t be asking for gifts, it’s not gauche in the same way that hosting your own bridal shower would be. 

If the reason you don’t want a bachelor or bachelorette party is because you don’t enjoy the idea of a weekend full of debauchery in Las Vegas, don’t think you have to give up the chance to celebrate before tying the knot. Even though you shouldn’t ask your maid of honor to throw one, chances are she will ask you want you want. Be honest! Bachelorette parties can be anything from low-key and relaxing to wild and crazy. Of course, if you still want to skip it all together, that’s your prerogative. Just keep in mind there’s a decent chance your ‘maids will be disappointed, as for some people that’s half the fun of being in a wedding! 

Rehearsal dinners are the one prenuptial event that really feel like a must – provided you actually have a rehearsal, of course. It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy, but it is a good gesture to provide a meal for those who came out to practice for your ceremony. It’s also the last chance for your two families to meet before the wedding if they haven't already.

For more advice, discover bachelorette party alternatives to bar hopping, and find out why some brides skip the bridal shower and why others choose to go with a coed one instead.