Before the Wedding

You’re engaged: Mazel Tov! Felicidades! Congratulations! Now, let’s celebrate. Though your wedding day will undoubtedly be the crowning event of much anticipation and planning, a day you and your future husband will never forget, the events leading up to it can be just as exciting. Well, almost.

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Save the Dates
The Bridal Shower
Rehearsal Dinner

Engagement Announcements

He proposed. You said yes. The announcement is traditionally made by your parents as soon after the engagement as possible. While there are no strict rules regarding the wording of engagement announcements, they are usually pretty straightforward.

If you are worried sending an engagement announcement will make people think you are soliciting presents, know that the announcement not a request for a gift. It’s simply intended to announce an event — your engagement.

Engagement Party

If your wedding is the Big Event (and it should be), consider your engagement party the pep rally. A very fabulous pep rally, of course.

An engagement can be celebrated with a party hosted by your parents. If your parents live out of town and it’s more practical for your fiancé’s parents to host, they may do so instead. If an engagement party is hosted by your friends or friends of your parents, the invitations are issued by said friends, and so their names appear on the first line of the invitation.

The invitations should say that the event is being held in honor of you and your fiancé, although they don’t usually mention that it’s in honor of your engagement. The guests will undoubtedly figure it out on their own.

If your engagement is being announced at an engagement party, neither your name nor your fiancé’s should appear on the invitation, as that would likely give away the surprise. The invitations should read as though they are not for any special event other than to enjoy the company of family and good friends.


Order the save the date pictured above.

Save the Dates 

You’ve set a date, now you need to let your potential wedding guests know to pencil it in as well. Send your save the dates at least three months before the wedding. These notices should advise family and friends of your wedding plans and allow them to take your wedding date into consideration when making their own plans.

Save the dates may be sent to all guests. However, it’s especially important for out-of-town guests to receive them in order to better plan their travel. Keep in mind: If you send save the dates only to your out-of-town guests, who in turn speak to your in-town guests, then your in-town guests might think they are not going to be invited to your wedding.

Save the dates are also sent when a number of overseas guests are invited, or when a wedding is held in a resort area (since guests might like to plan a vacation around your wedding).

Traditionally, Save the dates are small, heavy ecru or white cards and are mailed in an envelope. They do not necessarily need to match the wedding invitation.

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The Bridal Shower

The modern bridal shower is a throwback to the days when a bride brought her dowry to the marriage. Provided by her father, the dowry made the bride more attractive to potential husbands and gave the newly married couple material goods and finances to help them start their new lives together.

We like to think a lovely smile and an affinity for the whipsmart comeback are the qualities du jour when it comes to attracting a suitor, but the tradition of the bridal shower is as popular as ever.

Attended by family and friends, modern bridal showers are often thrown so that brides and grooms have the basic necessities to furnish their new homes. Even if the happy couple has everything they need, however, a bridal shower is still a lovely way to celebrate the upcoming nuptials.

Bridal showers are usually hosted by one or more friends of the bride. Since the purpose of a shower is to receive gifts, members of the immediate family should, if possible, not host. It may appear as though she is soliciting gifts for you at your request.

Invitations to a bridal shower are usually informal. They may be engraved, but many times fill-in invitations are used. Many bridal showers have gift themes, such as linens, kitchen or lingerie. For older brides, the themes might include tennis, golf, garden or travel. When a shower has a theme, the theme is mentioned in the lower right-hand corner.

Historically, bridal showers have been reserved for first-time brides. That, however, is a tradition that is changing. Showers are now being given for the second-time bride, especially if she did not have one before her first wedding.

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Rehearsal Dinner

rehearsal dinner invitation.jpg 

Practice makes perfect, and it works up an appetite. After a run-through of the wedding, usually the rehearsal dinner takes place on the night before the Big Day and is given as a courtesy to the bride’s family.

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was held for just the wedding party in order to get them fed after the rehearsal — and to give the bride’s mother one less thing to be responsible for. While many rehearsal dinners are still reserved for the wedding party, others have expanded to include the wedding party, their spouses or dates, and out-of-town guests.

Custom suggests that the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner and, therefore, issue its invitations. The rehearsal dinner invitations are usually worded formally, but many times just first names are used. This less formal style can let guests know how you, your fiancé and your fiancé’s parents wish to be addressed.

Just as the rehearsal dinner should not compete with or upstage the wedding, the rehearsal dinner invitations, which should be sent two weeks before the wedding, should complement (but not match) the wedding invitations. For example, a rehearsal dinner invitation on a flat white card engraved in navy blue ink nicely complements a formal wedding invitation.

For small dinners, it’s appropriate for the groom’s parents to use their “Mr. and Mrs.” personalized notes or fill-in invitations. If they choose to use their stationery, the groom’s parents may either write the information on the front or write a short note inviting their guests on the inside.

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Still have questions? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com for etiquette expertise.​​​