Every day’s a party. When you’re engaged.
Well, maybe not every day, but there are a few days to look forward to during your engagement.
What about after you’re married? We won’t ruin the surprise.
Day after brunch
Engagement party: Tell the world you’re off the market.
Don’t feel pressured to invite too many people to your engagement party. And try not to invite anyone that not being invited to the wedding. Usually, you ask close family and friends. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host, but it could be the groom’s parents or just friends that throw the shindig. Whoever hosts has the honor of making the first toast to the couple. After that, it’s open mic time. Also, remember this might be the first time your families are meeting. Take the time to make sure everyone’s happy and swapping embarrassing stories about you and your fiancée, from toilet training to first kiss and beyond.
Gifts are not required for the engagement party.
If you want to submit an engagement announcement to your local paper, be prepared to pay a fee for this privilege. Go to the paper’s Web site or try calling the Lifestyle or Community editors for exact details. Besides your names, you’ll probably be asked to include information about your educational background, jobs, your parents’ names, and where everyone lives.
You can also request a Presidential acknowledgement of your wedding by mailing or faxing to The White House Greetings Office at:
The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20502-0039
Fax number: 202-395-1232
Please include the following in your request:
- Married names and home address of the couple
- Form of address (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.
- Exact date of wedding (month, day, year)
- The requestor's name and daytime phone number
Requests should be sent to the White House Greetings Office after the wedding. Visit the White House online for more information.
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Couple’s shower: Don't get too excited, there's no water nor soap
This is not a required event, but is often thrown for you. Lots of wedding talk. Lots of party games. And even some gifts. First and foremost, invite your friends. This is a time to relax and enjoy the moment. Don’t feel obligated to invite all of your relatives. Of course, you should expect your immediate family to attend.
Be prepared to play games like:
Quiz show. Prior to the shower, people will ask you and your fiancée questions that the other will be asked during the shower. You’ll be judged on how well she knows your answers and you know her answers. So start watching her like a hawk. And take notes.
Build an album. Everyone brings a picture of them with you or your fiancée (or both of you) that they will add to a big album while telling the story behind the picture.
Sex Ed 101. Your fiancée is blindfolded, holding a stick between her legs. You hold a cardboard paper roll in between your legs and help navigate your fiancée toward, and ultimately in, you.
Thighs-o-my. You fiancée is blindfolded and has to feel the legs of the male guests, you included. Then she has to decide which one is yours. You can do the same thing with kisses, but insist on no tongues.
This is your life. Someone writes the story of your married life, but removes the details (think Mad Libs). During the shower, your guests fill in the blanks.
Sticky fingers. Guests are presented with a bowl of candies. After they take one, two or a handful, they are then told that they have to tell as many stories about you and your fiancée as many candies they grabbed.
Dress up. You get blindfolded and are presented with a suitcase full of things your fiancée might wear on your wedding night. Without looking, you dress your fiancée as much as you can in two minutes.
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Bachelor party: Your time to shine. Or lurk in a corner with a stripper.
Visit the bachelor party section for more info.
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Rehearsal dinner: The calm (or not so calm) before the storm.
Practice makes perfect. You should expect to run through the entire ceremony with all the usual suspects (you, your fiancée, your parents, the wedding party, and anyone else with a role besides crying in their seats). Make sure everyone (including you) knows the details. After the rehearsal, your parents should host the party. Invite your immediate family, the wedding party and their spouses or significant others, and the officiant. You can invite out-of-towners, but if there are too many for the rehearsal dinner, consider throwing a separate (and more casual) party for everyone the night before the wedding. In these cases, move the rehearsal dinner to two days before the wedding.
The rehearsal party could be informal or fancy, but the point is to gather with your families and get excited for the big day. The host, typically your father, should give the first toast. You should thank everyone as well. The party is also a great time to give your gifts to the bride and groomsmen.
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Ceremony/Reception: All eyes are on you.
It’s time. It’s good luck to marry on the groom's birthday, but never on the bride’s. Best days of the week to wed: Wednesday vows guarantee success, Thursday’s weddings ensure great wealth and Sunday’s couples will always be much in love. You can wait at the altar for your bride or be walked down by parents (before the bride enters).
In Christian ceremonies, your family sits on the right side and you stand to your bride’s right.
In Jewish ceremonies, your family sits on the left and you stand to your bride’s left.
In mixed marriages, toss a coin. And get used to that being your ultimate decision maker. For info on other cultural traditions, click here.
Legally, other than the promise to marry, the content of the ceremony is yours to write. Be creative, but remember your guests. And the DVD.
Traditional ceremonies have the following order of events:
- You and your best man will be waiting (or you are escorted by your parents), usher escorts bride’s mom, groomsmen and bridesmaids, maid of honor, ring bearer and flower girl and, last but not least, the father of bride with your bride.
- The Officiant welcomes everyone
- Your parents will be asked who gives you and your bride to be married
- Readings and/or music
- You and your bride will exchange vows
- You and your bride will exchange rings (put her’s on first)
- Rings will be blessed
- The Officiant will pronounce you husband and wife
- You and/or your bride will do something special (break glass, light candle)
- The Officient will offer a final blessing
- The Officient will present you to the guests as Mr. and Mrs.
- Everyone heads out to party (you and bride, flower girl and ring bearer, maid of honor and best man, bride’s parents, your parents and then wedding guests)
- Cocktail hour
- Introduction of your parents, bride’s parents, flower girl and ring bearer, bridesmaid and groomsmen, maid of honor and best man and bride and groom
- First dance
- Toasts (best man, maid of honor, groom and bride, both parents, anyone else)
- Cut the cake
- Bridal dances (bride with father, groom with mother and wedding party)
- Bouquet toss
- Garter toss
- You and bride thank everyone
- You carry bride over threshold. In Roman times, it was considered bad luck if the bride stumbled when entering for the first time. Unfortunately, the Romans never said what to do when the groom is a klutz.
- You consummate the marriage. Twice if you’re a real man.
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Day After Brunch: The first omelet of the rest of your life.
If you’re still in town, invite your family and any guests still hanging around to a casual brunch either at a fun location or your parent’s house (not that your parent’s house isn’t fun). While it is expected that the bride’s parents pay, you might want to step up and take care of the check. After all, you are the man of you family now.
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Honeymoon: Finally you two are alone. Now what do you do?
Time to break out the his and her thongs and enjoy your time as newlyweds.
For honeymoon tips, click here.
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Of course, you could cut to the chase and just elope. Make sure your fiancée really wants to do this, your families won’t be disappointed, and you can bank some of the wedding fund that won’t get used. If not, suck it up and enjoy the parties.