The Night Before

What to do the Night Before

Oh, puh-leese, try and refrain from giggling. It’s not what you think. Besides, it’s highly doubtful that many engaged couples do that the night before anyway, especially after living together for a number of weeks/months/years. No, this is actually a serious subject that has brought endless debate over tradition and evolving customs.

The problem in today’s current society is that there are three things that everyone believes should be done the night before. In the beginning it was the custom for the groom to have a bachelor party hosted by his groomsmen. Believed to have originated in Sparta, it was a formal farewell to a man’s single days. Today, reflecting the equality of the sexes, the bride and her bridesmaids have their own party, known as the bachelorette party.

These two events compete with the age-old tradition of the Rehearsal Dinner. Eons ago the Rehearsal Dinner was known as the Bride’s Parents Dinner as they were the ones who hosted the event. As they were already at the breaking point financially and emotionally in planning their daughter’s wedding, it evolved to where the groom’s parents now host the dinner.

By the groom’s parents hosting the Rehearsal Dinner, the bride’s parents (who up to this point believed that the groom’s family was getting off scott-free) could now smile at their counterparts when they dictated that Aunt Millie definitely had to be invited. Concurrently, the groom’s parents now had the opportunity to exact revenge on the bride’s parents for limiting them on the number of people they could invite to the wedding.

The Rehearsal Dinner is a wonderful concept, the most popular, and has etiquette’s stamp of approval. By having one, it generally ensures that all members of the wedding party actually attend the rehearsal. This brings some peace of mind believing that everyone knows the responsibilities of their station on the day of the wedding. It’s also a great way to tying up the evening of the bride and groom whose nerves are already fraying around the edges or are in a state of numbness realizing that the big day is almost upon them.

Rehearsal Dinners are to include all members of the wedding party and their spouses/domestic partners/significant others. Guests should also include elderly relatives and those who have traveled great distances to attend the wedding. Can that add up in size and cost? You bet, but remember, this is a time to be socially generous, welcoming family and friends that are now and forever an extended part of your life.

Preferably, the bachelor and bachelorette parties should be held at a time other than the night before. This gives the groom and bride the opportunity to recover from celebrating their last days of “singledom” and sleep-off any aftereffects. If it must be held the night before, it is to be done after the Rehearsal Dinner and with established common-sense guidelines. After months of time and energy spent in pulling together all the components in creating the perfect day, the bride should be glowing with radiance and not like a droopy wet rag. The groom should be standing tall with pride and not nursing a hangover.

Our advice: don’t party-hearty the night before – the real party is being held when everyone celebrates the wedding of the happy couple. Wait and you’ll enjoy it that much more.