Your Prenuptial Events: What Part Do You Play?

Everything you need to know about what you and your beloved can do for your pre-wedding parties.


Upon getting engaged, you’ll likely be flooded with a slew of run-of-the-mill wedding questions within the first 48 hours – your answers to which will include a lot of “maybes” and “we’re not sure yets.” For those planning nuptials for the first time, or those who simply know very little about wedding etiquette, you may go into the process thinking you can guess at most of the traditions. However, if you’re like us, you will not want to just guess – you’ll want to know for sure. So, in order to give you a bit of a head start, we’ve provided information about the celebrations you may have leading up to the big day. These are your roles – as the couple of honor – in your pre-wedding events. 

Engagement Party

Who plans it: Traditionally, one set of parents will offer to plan/host.

When does it take place: One to three months into your engagement.

What you can do: This is one of those “a celebration in honor of” brands of parties, which means you’re allowed to do very little. If someone is gracious enough to throw you an engagement fête, the major thing that you can contribute is a guest list. This is typically more of a family affair, which means if your host/hostess is family, they may add in relatives. However, feel free to suggest some close friends – perhaps some of the people you’re considering for your bridal party. Remember: everyone invited to any pre-wedding events must be invited to the wedding itself!

Bridal Shower

Who plans it: A younger female relative, the maid of honor, or the bridesmaids.

When does it take place: One to three months before your wedding.

What you can do: Similar to the engagement party, you’re really just responsible for the majority of the guest list. The girls may ask for your opinion on some of the wedding-inspired games that will be played, but other than that, keep the planning to your ladies!

Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Who plans it: Members of the wedding party.

When does it take place: We suggest between two months to one week before the wedding.

What you can do: For this particular bash, you should get a little bit more of a “say” in the location and the festivities to be had. Some brides and grooms want a more “low-key” bachelor or bachelorette party, while others desire a lively weekend – your bridesmaids and groomsmen should take your preferences into account while planning. As with the others, you also have control of the guest list, which will typically include your bridal party and some other close friends.

Rehearsal Dinner

Who plans it: Traditionally, the groom’s parents host, but you as the couple can as well.

When does it take place: Typically, the day before the wedding.

What you can do: If the groom’s parents are footing the bill, you can work with them to create the event, collaborating on a venue, food, drinks, and the itinerary of speeches. However, if you and your future spouse are paying in full, you have complete control over the happenings of the evening. Wield that power with your close friends and family in mind, inviting your immediate families, wedding party, and some out-of-town guests to join you.

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Photo by Angela Weiss for WireImage

Authored by: Megan Simpson