Pre-wedding parties

Marriage is the beginning of a whole new life together, and there are many traditions of the bride and groom holding parties separately with their own friends of the same sex while they are still single usually soon before the wedding. You may not like the idea of having a ‘final fling’ while you are still supposedly unfettered, but there is nothing to stop you enjoying a unique get-together with your own particular friends before your wedding day.

Stag parties

Stag parties so called because only males are invited are often in the news because of the atrocities perpetrated on the groom-to-be in the way of practical jokes. These are often in dubious taste, and can traditionally take the form of getting him drunk so, even if you think you know your friends, beware! The best man is supposed to organise the stag night; if he doesn’t know all of your close friends you may need to give him a list of whom to invite. Never, never let him arrange a stag night for the evening before the wedding; you may suffer nothing worse than a hangover, but grooms have been known to wake up on their wedding morning on a cross-channel ferry or a train to Aberdeen! Insist that the stag night is held earlier, preferably about a week before the wedding to let you get over any ill effects. The stag night that is nothing more than a booze-up is crashingly boring; why not think up something more original (or allow your best man to!) You could have a tennis party, a trip to the theatre, a card-playing evening, or even a fancy dress party. Or you could simply all go out for a good meal.

In Morocco the groom has what is traditionally called ‘the cleaning of the wheat’ or ‘the bridegroom s day of cleaning. , Four flags are hoisted over the house, then bags of grain that are to be used for the wedding feast are heaped up in the courtyard The grain is then cleaned by unmarried girls of the family or from the neighbourhood

Bride’s parties

Bridal parties are more traditional in America than they are in this country. In America the bride usually has a party for everyone who will be part of the wedding party on the day provided they are female, that is. This will mainly be for the benefit of the bridesmaids, but the mothers of bride and groom are often invited as well. This is a transatlantic custom that could well be transplanted here: it is an ideal way for the bridesmaids to meet each other and for the mothers to relax before the pressures of the big day, and gives the bride an opportunity to stop organising things and enjoy herself with her friends.

Bridal showers are traditional in America, too: these are parties given by close friends of the bride where each guest brings some small item to help the bride set up home. These are often practical, prosaic things that might not feature on a conventional wedding list things such as an eggtimer, pair of tights, a cookery book, tins or packets for the store cupboard, a bulletin board, etc. The shower may be held on one theme, for instance a kitchen shower or a garden shower.

In Germany an ‘eve of the wedding’ party can be held one or a few nights before the marriage ?’he guests are supposed to make as much noise as possible – accomplished by the clanging of saucepans, breaking of crockery, blowing of car horns, etc.!

Some couples like to host an evening or lunchtime when both sets of parents can join them: this is a particularly good idea if the parents haven’t met before. Some couples club together and take all four parents out for a meal, or simply have a get-together at one of the parents’ homes. If the groom’s parents are having to travel quite a way to the bride’s home town and stay overnight for one or more nights before the wedding, it is courteous for the bride’s family to entertain them for a meal. This could be at the bride’s home or it could be at a restaurant the latter will probably produce less trouble for the bride’s overworked mother, but might stretch the purse strings even tighter in the process!