5 Wedding Events to Know About (Including Who Hosts, Who Pays and Other FAQs)


When it comes to planning your special day, it’s not just the wedding you need to think about! From your bridal shower to your rehearsal dinner, there are a number of different celebrations involved in your journey towards tying the knot.

We know that planning a wedding can be stressful enough, let alone planning a whole suite of other events – so, we’re here to help! Read on as we share 5 wedding events you need to know about, including who hosts, who’s invited, and when to pencil them in your calendar.

Photo via Zelda Green

Engagement Party

What is an engagement party? An engagement party is an event held to celebrate your happy news with family and friends. While it’s definitely not compulsory to host an engagement party, it provides a great opportunity for your loved ones to come together and get to know each other before the big day.

What happens at an engagement party? Engagement parties are typically cocktail events that involve food, drinks, music and speeches. This party is all about mixing and mingling with your loved ones, meeting your spouse’s extended family, making any relevant introductions, and celebrating this exciting milestone!  

Who hosts the engagement party? Traditionally, the engagement party is hosted by the parents of the bride. However, in modern times, anyone close to the couple can host the event, including the couple themselves or close friends.

Who pays for the engagement party? It really depends on who’s hosting! Often, the hosts will also cover the expenses of the party, but it can also be a joint effort between family members. If you’ve decided to host the engagement party yourself, you’ll typically be responsible for footing the bill.

When should you host an engagement party? An engagement party is typically held within the first few months of your engagement. Between 2-4 months is usually the sweet spot!

Who is invited to the engagement party? This is really up to you. You may want to host a more intimate celebration with family only, or a bigger party that includes your wider circle of friends. Just remember that anyone who receives an invite to your engagement party should also receive an invite to your wedding! 

Photo via Brogen Jessup

Bridal Shower

What is a bridal shower? The bridal shower is a pre-wedding event organized in honor of the bride-to-be. It’s traditionally an all-female gathering, providing an opportunity for the bride’s family and closest friends to mingle before the big day.

What happens at a bridal shower? Bridal showers are generally planned around a meal (such as brunch, lunch or dinner) or an activity (like pottery or flower arranging). Most bridal showers will include a mix of food, drinks, games, and “showering” the bride with gifts.

Who hosts the bridal shower? The bridal shower is typically hosted by the maid of honor, bridesmaids, or close female relatives of the bride. 

Who pays for the bridal shower? The hosts of the shower are responsible for covering all expenses, including invitations, decorations and refreshments. If the maid of honor is hosting the bridal shower, the costs are usually split between the bridal party. As guests will be bringing a gift, it’s considered impolite to ask them for a financial contribution.

When to host the bridal shower? The bridal shower is usually held a few months before the wedding – typically between 2 weeks and 2 months from the big day. 

Who is invited to the bridal shower? Bridal showers are generally small, intimate events. The guest list usually includes the bridal party, the bride’s mother and future mother-in-law, along with any other close female relatives and friends. Again, you’ll need to make sure that anyone who is invited to the bridal shower is also invited to the wedding.

Photo via Makenna Devey Photography

Bachelorette Party

What is a bachelorette party? The bachelorette party, also known as a hen party, is a celebration organized for the bride and her female friends before embarking on married life! 

What happens at a bachelorette party? Bachelorette parties can take all kinds of forms – from a wild girls night out to a winery tour or relaxing weekend away. They generally involve a number of different activities and games, along with food and drinks. 

Who hosts the bachelorette party? The bachelorette party is usually organized and hosted by the maid of honor together with the bridesmaids.

Who pays for the bachelorette party? The cost of the bachelorette party is generally split equally between all attendees (excluding the bride), including transportation, activities, meals and accommodation.

When to host the bachelorette party? The bachelorette party is typically held anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months of the wedding day. Try to avoid hosting this party too close to the wedding, as the bride may need some time to recover!

Who is invited to the bachelorette party? Bachelorette parties usually include the bridal party and any other close female friends or family members. Just remember the golden rule: any attendees should also be invited to the wedding.

Photo via Jose Villa

Rehearsal Dinner

What is the rehearsal dinner? The rehearsal dinner is an event that takes place after the wedding rehearsal. It brings together the immediate families, close relatives, and members of the wedding party to enjoy a meal together and finalize any last-minute details before the big day.

What happens at the rehearsal dinner? Following the ceremony rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner usually takes place at a venue or family home. Along with sharing a meal, the dinner also serves the purpose of running through important details for the wedding (including timings, locations and responsibilities) to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Who hosts the rehearsal dinner? Traditionally, the groom’s family would host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. However, in modern times, it’s become more common for the couple or both families to share the hosting duties.

Who pays for the rehearsal dinner? Again, this really depends on who’s hosting! It’s common for the hosts to foot the bill for the rehearsal dinner, or for the couple to split the costs with their families. 

When to host the rehearsal dinner? The rehearsal dinner is typically held 1-2 days before the wedding, immediately following the ceremony rehearsal.

Who is invited to the rehearsal dinner? The day of your wedding rehearsal will be split into two parts – the ceremony rehearsal, and the rehearsal dinner. Only those directly involved in your ceremony will need to attend the ceremony rehearsal (including your bridal party, celebrant and parents). For the rehearsal dinner, most couples extend their guest list to include immediate family members from both sides, along with any out-of-town guests.

Photo via Jose Villa

Recovery Brunch

What is it? The recovery brunch is a relaxed gathering held the day after the wedding. It allows the newlyweds and their close family and friends to come together one last time before the celebrations end.

What happens at the recovery brunch? A recovery brunch is typically something very low-key, and may take place at a venue or family home. The hosts provide food and drink, while the attendees mingle, reminisce about the wedding and farewell any out-of-town guests.

Who hosts the recovery brunch? It’s most common for couples or their parents to host the recovery brunch.

Who pays for the recovery brunch? Once again, this will depend on who’s hosting. The couple may decide to foot the bill, or one (or both) sets of parents may want to chip in.

When to host the recovery brunch? The recovery brunch should take place the day after the wedding, and is usually scheduled for late morning or early afternoon. You may need to consider the travel plans of any out-of-town guests when choosing your timing.

Who is invited to the recovery brunch? The guest list of your recovery brunch is really up to you. If budget allows, it can be a nice idea to invite your entire guest list – but if not, you can keep it intimate with just your family, wedding party and closest friends.

How to Manage RSVPs for Wedding Events

If you’re planning multiple pre and post-wedding events, it can be hard to keep track of your guest list for each one. But, it’s important to get an accurate headcount for each event to confirm details like catering, budgets and decor.

Here at WedSites, you can collect RSVPs for multiple events via your wedding website using our custom RSVP form. Simply specify which guests are invited to each event to ensure the RSVP option displays to the right people. Responses will be automatically stored in your digital guest list manager, allowing you to see at a glance exactly who is attending which event. 

Explore our range of digital wedding planning tools here, or sign up for your WedSites account to get started!