You’ve announced your engagement and the plans are in place for your wedding. Is there anything else to consider in-between now and the big day itself?

The Bridal Shower

Not every couple holds a bridal shower, but if you like the idea, embrace the occasion as an excellent excuse for another party. Attended by family and friends, a bridal shower is a chance for well-wishers to give thoughtful presents to the bride as a token of their support for the marriage.

Traditionally, these gifts are designed to help make sure the bride and groom have all the basic items needed to furnish their new home. Of course, many couples nowadays are already living together before they get married. Even if the happy couple already have everything they need, it’s still a lovely way to celebrate the upcoming nuptials..

Bridal showers are usually hosted by friends of the bride, often the Maid of Honor or the bridesmaids. However, anyone in your circle of family and friends can host the gathering.

Often the shower will simply be a little get-together with a loose schedule including a few games or activities. However, there’s no reason the bride and host can’t work together to create a more distinctive and memorable event. Consider adding accessories or a guest book to the shower, making it even more unique for your closest loved ones.

Dreaming Up a Theme

A bridal shower is usually a relaxed affair and gives you an opportunity to get creative in designing the invitations. A custom-printed  personalized invitation is a popular choice. Pre-printed fill-in invitations are also commonplace.

You might also want to add a gift theme to your shower, such as linens, kitchen accessories or even lingerie! As with your invitations, the best showers will express the bride and/or couple’s own character – themes might include travel, tennis, golf or gardens. If you’re going for a theme, then mention it in the lower right-hand corner of the invitation.

One word of advice:  Don’t confuse the bridal shower with your bachelorette party.  Your shower should be a joyful celebration of your upcoming wedding rather than a fond farewell to your life as an unmarried singleton. The one thing both events have in common is that they surround you by people you love and trust. So in both cases, relax, enjoy and celebrate a very special moment.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Anxious as you are to get to the Big Day itself, the rehearsal dinner (or breakfast) is an elegant excuse for a pre-wedding soirée. Think of it as a mini stress-reliever before the wedding proper – a chance for you to catch-up with family and friends without any pressure and feeling confident that everything’s ready.

You can choose to approach the rehearsal as you like, whether as a full-blown bash with all your guests invited or a smaller, more intimate affair for close connections with an active role to play at the ceremony. The event often takes place the night before the wedding; but if your guests are staying longer, you might want to put a day in-between. Make sure you give plenty of notice and ask people to RSVP.

As mentioned, the dinner itself should be a low-stress affair that doesn’t risk overshadowing the actual wedding (heaven forbid). The rehearsal dinner often includes toasts; beyond this, the structure can be as free and easy as you like. Also, this is a great time to remind people of certain details about your wedding to ensure things run smoothly and on time.

So, which format should you choose? It’s really up to you. A meal at a favorite restaurant, drinks at your home, a garden party or something entirely different – the rehearsal is simply a great chance to whet people’s appetites. Add some hand-crafted, personalized menu cards for a memorable touch your guests will cherish.

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