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Wedding Party Parties

Today, with families being spread geographically over large areas, going to a wedding is an event in itself. Because of this, most wedding celebrations are no longer limited to just the wedding ceremony and reception, but have become a series of parties.

Unofficially, the bachelor and bachelorette parties kickoff a week long celebration. They are often held simultaneously at separate venues; one for the guys and one for the gals. These are often seen as "one last fling" for the bride and the groom before entering into the 'bonds' of matrimony.

The next wedding party on most schedules is the rehearsal dinner which is held usually on the night before the wedding ceremony and reception. This party is usually hosted by one or the other sets of parents. In this case, hosted means paid for by one or both parents. In some larger family groupings, the aunts, uncles, or older siblings of either the bride or groom may volunteer to host the rehearsal dinner. There is very little rehearsing done at the rehearsal dinner, although sometimes the officiant does want the wedding party to walk through what will be expected of them at the wedding ceremony. The participants at the rehearsal dinner are usually the immediate families of the bride and groom and the wedding party.

The celebratory wedding reception is next, and will be dealt with under separate cover.

The final wedding party, is often held on the morning after the wedding, and is hosted, by the other set of parents; those who didn’t pay for the rehearsal dinner. The participants at the wedding breakfast are the bridal party, immediate family, and very often guests who have traveled far to attend the wedding ceremony. There are regional and cultural variations of this schedule, but ordinarily, this constitutes the obligatory feasting at a wedding.

In addition to the festive meals and parties, there is the issue of housing of guests who have traveled far to attend. These days it is customary to arrange for a group rate booking at a local hotel in exchange for an agreement that at least one of the events of the wedding be held in the hotel. Some weddings are large enough that two or more hotels may be needed to meet the needs of the invitees.
No matter what the case, if you know that a large part of your wedding party will be at a certain hotel, it is customary to arrange for a hospitality room at the hotel for your guests. This room provides snacks and a gathering place for your guests, and takes some pressure off the general hotel facilities.

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