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After all the salutes to their happiness, the bride and groom will find their new lives are already packed with memories.

A wedding calls for celebration, as friends and family honor the bride and groom with an array of pre- and post-wedding parties. The bride finds herself the center of attention at showers, luncheons and dinners where her biggest responsibility is to enjoy herself!

The Bachelor and Bachelorette Party

Today, bachelor and bachelorette parties are equally popular. These types of parties are generally very casual and emphasize having fun, unwinding and celebrating the bride and groom and their friends. The party may or may not include a dinner and takes place in a home, a club or the private dining room of a restaurant.

These celebrations often incorporate a theme and can include attending a sporting event, going to a comedy club or on a shopping excursion into the city or local mall. Some enjoy activities such as laser tag, paintball, gambling, golfing, bowling or even camping.

Getting there can be half the fun as you may hire a limousine, bus or other transportation service to take partygoers safely from one destination to another. This also alleviates the responsibility of designated drivers, allowing everyone the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy themselves. Limousines and chauffeured coaches provide not only transportation, but can be a safe party on wheels. A limousine scavenger hunt or a party in a funky school bus or trolley are just some of the ways people celebrate. The interactive theaters are popular, as are weekend parties, gambling, and dancing.

Besides parties strictly for the girls or the guys, couples' parties are gaining popularity among brides and grooms who have friends or co-workers in common and want everyone to celebrate together.

A popular party trend that recently hit the Greater Boston Area is to have the bridesmaids go through their closets, pick out their ugliest bridesmaid’s dress and have a contest! The one rule: they obviously cannot wear the dresses that they are wearing to your wedding.

If alcoholic beverages are served, the party should be scheduled several days before the wedding. No one will want to look less than their best the day of the wedding.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner, held immediately after the rehearsal, can be as simple or elaborate as the host wishes, however, it should never upstage the wedding itself. It is best to hold the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant or club. This eliminates anyone in the immediate family having to deal with entertaining and clean-up the night before the wedding.

Traditionally, the groom's parents are responsible for the cost of the rehearsal dinner. If they are from out of town, they may ask the mother of the bride to help with reservations. But it is perfectly acceptable to have a godparent, friend or member of the bride's family do the honor of hosting this function.

The guest list will include the attendants, the bride and groom's immediate family, the ceremony official (and spouse, if any), plus any out-of-town guests, family or friends the couple or the host wishes to invite. If it has not already been done, the attendants' gifts may be distributed at this occasion.

Party Etiquette

Even though these are parties, a certain protocol and consideration of etiquette is important. Anyone can be the host or hostess of your parties, except when it comes to showers. The immediate family (parents and siblings) should not host a shower; but, you and/or your mother should host a party especially for the bride’s attendants, and it is perfectly all right to invite other female relatives and friends. While it is tradition that the groom and/or his parents host the Rehearsal Dinner, the financial responsibility can be shared or even completely handled by the bride’s family. It is proper and even helpful for the bride to provide a list of names and addresses of people to be invited to showers. Anyone invited to a shower must be invited to the wedding, and while it is fine to invite someone to more than one shower, you shouldn’t expect a second gift. Gifts are to be unwrapped with the guests present. It’s a good idea to have someone take notes to record the names and a description of the gifts. Thank You notes should be handwritten promptly whether or not a gift is given; and it is customary to give a gift to each hostess/host.

Gift Opening Party

Nowadays many couples plan gift opening parties. This small gathering usually only includes the bride and groom's families and members of the bridal party. More often than not, gifts are opened the day after the wedding or soon after the newlyweds return from their honeymoon.

When held the day after the wedding, the gift-opening party is often planned around a meal. Snacks and refreshments left over from the reception may also be served.

The purpose of this type of party, of course, is to open the wedding gifts. A few moments of planning will save headaches later, therefore a careful record of who sent what is a necessity. A guest book with a gift record section, available from stationers, book stores and bridal shops, is recommended.




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