Congratulations you are now engaged! No doubt the first party to plan is your engagement party, but there are some other festivities you'll need to plan in the lead up to your Wedding Day. These events offer perfect opportunities for the bride and groom's families to get to know one another better.
*Engagement - To give you chance to fully savour the moment, plan to hold your engagement party one to three months after the proposal. Usually the engagement party is hosted by the parents of the bride, but it can quite often be hosted by the engaged couple or a close friend. Whilst engagement gifts aren't mandatory, some guest will bring them anyway. Your engagement party can be a formal occasion or you can enjoy a gathering at perhaps a winery or opt for a casual backyard BBQ.
*Hen Party - The maid of honour traditionally plans the hen party. Ensure that you talk to her about it so that she has an idea of your personality and preferences for your special night. Enjoy being the centre of attention and make sure she has a list of all the people she may not know, so that all your intended guests are invited. You don't want anyone being forgotten.
Have your bridal party to schedule your hen party a couple of weeks before the wedding. The more time you have between then and your wedding day, the more relaxed you will be.
For some real fun, think outside the box and head to a dance studio for a group lesson or if you fancy something luxurious, treat your yourselves to a relaxation weekend and maybe hire a private chef for the weekend to cook something special for you. Or indulge in a pampering session at a spa.
Don't forget to think about any of your guests who may have children, so that you can have your hen and stag do on different nights.
* Stag Do - The best man usually organises the stag do, but if party planning isn't their area of expertise, consider calling in a professional.
A stag do doesn't have to be just at a bar, consider a group activity such as paint ball or a leisurely afternoon fishing.
* Bridal Shower - The bridal show is a more formal pre-nuptial celebration for the bride to be and usually organised by the bridesmaids. It would usually take place four to six weeks before the wedding and is the ideal opportunity to include older guests.
To save time and costs you can combine the bridal shower with the hen night. Request that the hen party be scheduled after the bridal shower.
If you have both young and older guests, host a tea party. High tea is very much in trend.
* Rehearsal Dinner - The night before the wedding and hosted either by the groom's parents or by the engaged couple. The rehearsal dinner always takes place the evening before the wedding. All the wedding party must be invited, although many couples also choose to open the dinner up to include all their out-of-town guests.
*The Day-After Do - Post-wedding gatherings are becoming increasingly popular. Often organised as a casual barbecue or brunch, this is a wonderful opportunity to wind down with extra time to catch up. For those who have traveled it makes the trip all the more worthwhile. If you have chosen a destination wedding, hosting a party upon returning home is a great way to celebrate with those who were unable to make it to the nuptials.