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Practicing Prudence in Pre-Wedding Parties

Words by Elaine Hilbelink

As anticipation builds for your destination wedding, scheduling and planning all of the pre-nuptial festivities can consume you and your attendants. It is not unusual to have an engagement party, a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, but the expenses and the time commitments of all three may become excessive for your friends. You know the financial circumstances and time constraints of your friends better than anyone else. When it comes to pre-wedding activities, practicing prudence and curbing expectations could be a considerate act of friendship on your part.

Limit the Luxury:
Since traveling to your destination wedding will definitely incur additional costs and time away from work/family for your attendants, you may want to lower your pre-wedding party expectations for your friends. Enjoying just a shower or just a bachelorette party with your close friends may be the way to go. As a bride, there is also a very good chance you have played the role of an attendant. Drawing on your own experiences, you’re probably aware of weddings you have participated in where parties and expenses have seemed excessive; and conversely, brides who have been conscious of their friends' financial and time limitations.

Combine Celebrations:

I recently consulted with some brides/attendants who shared acts of consideration they have experienced in weddings they have been a part of. One attendant shared how the girls just got together for a nice dinner out and combined it with a lingerie shower as a part of a destination wedding. Or, if the friends were sharing a bachelorette weekend, they exchanged their ‘shower gifts’ at that time. Many people whom we asked felt engagement parties have become a less popular event to host.

Love the Latitude:

One attendant felt it was really thoughtful of the bride to not micromanage the hosting of the events. When the bride gave her attendants latitude in the details of the event, they felt free to express their own tastes and stick to a budget they felt comfortable with. For instance, perhaps the bridesmaids wanted to host a dessert shower, but the bride wanted a sit-down catered event. In a nutshell, don’t be ‘Bridezilla,’ or it may come back to haunt you when you are hosting for your friends!

Flexible is Fabulous:

Another way you can be considerate of your attendants’ finances is by making choices for attire that are a little more flexible. Many destination sites are much more casual, so cute coordinated sundresses and strappy sandals might be appropriate attire. Choosing dresses in a general color palette (e.g. jewel tones or pastels) and allowing bridesmaids to select their own style or color within your range of choices might be an option. If your budget permits, you might assist attendants with some of their costs. Always remember, if you help one person, you need to do the same thing for all, or hard feelings will ensue.

As you and your attendants plan your pre-nuptial events, the keys to prudent planning are communicating openly, keeping your expectations reasonable and respecting the financial and time limitations of your friends. If all of these parameters are kept in mind, friendships will be preserved and your events unforgettable.

Including a detailed RSVP card with your destination bachelorette or bridal shower invitation is a great way to let your guests customize their own experience. By pricing out each activity and varying their length of stay, your guests can control both their time commitment and expenses. It’s also convenient for those planning the party. There will be no awkward requests for payment as guests know exactly what the costs will be and can pay in advance. This is a wonderful option for keeping everyone’s needs in mind, while also making things easier for those taking the time to organize the event. 

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