As your wedding date draws near, you and your fiancé will likely find yourselves the centre of attention at a host of pre-wedding parties. Some of these parties you will likely organise and host yourself, but other will be organised for you by friends and family and will provide a great way to relax and unwind before your big day.
THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY
Many couples choose to have an engagement party as a way to officially 'launch' the wedding celebrations. This can be as large or small as you would like, though it's usually quite an informal affair. If you plan on having a small intimate wedding, throwing a large engagement party gives everyone a chance to congratulate you. If you're not very comfortable being the centre of attention, a smaller family-only afternoon tea or meal at a fancy restaurant might suit you better.
While it is traditional for friends or family members to take control during the planning of pre-wedding parties, don't forget to point them in the right direction if you have a particular idea in mind.
THE BRIDAL SHOWER
Traditionally organised by your chief bridesmaid or maid of honour, the bridal shower can take place anywhere from two months or two weeks before the wedding. Bridal showers can be as simple as gathering around the kitchen table to enjoy a few drinks, nibbles and giggles or larger festivities where you call in the caterers. These days it is also increasingly common for the groom and groomsmen to be included in the festivities too.
Another very popular pre-wedding celebration is a formal high tea. If your baking skills are top-notch you might choose to host the high tea at home, or else you can book a table for friends and family at one of a number of restaurants and hotels which offer the opportunity to indulge in this grand old tradition and celebrate your pending nuptials with a touch of elegance.
BUCKS AND HENS NIGHTS
Traditionally, the bucks' and hens' nights were seen as a final opportunity to part with your respective friends before you married. Now, it's considered an opportunity to expel last-minute jitters. However, hung-over hens tend not to glow on their wedding day, so partying on the even of your ceremony isn't such a good idea. If you're keen for a raucous night on the town, schedule it a few weeks in advance of your big day to ensure maximum recovery time.
If the thought of all-night drinking and scantily-clad dancers makes you want to run for the hills, why not organise a quieter evening with your closest friends - you might opt for a fancy dinner, afternoon of spa treatments, round of golf or a cocktail party at someone's home. There's also growing trend for guys and gals to join forces - whether it is organising a combined hens/bucks night or simply meeting up at a later point in the evening.
THE REHEARSAL DINNER
Most couples have a wedding rehearsal, where the bridal party members and parents of the bride and groom gather to practice their roles in the ceremony. Afterwards, there's often dinner and drinks, which offers the opportunity to celebrate more intimately with your nearest and dearest than you likely will on your wedding day.
© The West Australian
More wedding inspiration at The West Australian Wedding Guide.