A modern US wedding: Before the ceremony

In the US, a series of events and rituals often take place between the engagement and the big day itself. Here are a few of them.

hope_chestHope chest

American women traditionally collect items of clothing and household linen in a special wooden chest called a hope chest in anticipation of their later marriage. 



Bachelor party

A bachelor party or “stag party” is usually organized for the groom by the best man, and attended by the groom’s friends. Traditionally it is held the night before the wedding, but to allow those attending time to recover, the event is now often held several weeks before. Originally involving dinner, drinks and "adult entertainment" designed to give the groom his last taste of freedom, bachelor parties have now given way to weekend getaways, often with organized “manly” activities such as fishing or rafting.



Bridal shower

Many brides hold a bridal shower before their wedding, to which the female guests are encouraged to bring gifts to help the bride set up her new home. It is usually organized by the chief bridesmaid or maid of honor. Bridal showers in the USA are generally fun and informal events.

The custom is said to originate from the times when a woman’s family did not have money to provide her with a dowry, and relied on her friends to bring gifts that would help her set up home.


Bachelorette party

The bride often has a bachelorette party or “hen party” before the wedding, organized by the chief bridesmaid or maid of honor, and attended by the bride’s close women friends.

Traditional activities in the 21st century include a spa visit, dinner and drinks, with weekend breaks becoming ever popular. Bachelorettes often dress up with themed outfits, with the bride often wearing a veil, and entertainment may be somewhat “risqué”!



Wedding rehearsal dinner

The rehearsal dinner is usually held after the wedding rehearsal the day before the wedding. It is traditionally paid for by the groom’s family, and is a good way for family and friends of the couple to meet and anticipate the Big Day.

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