Your Ultimate Pre-Wedding Events Checklist and Timeline

Rustic wedding signage: A charming arrow-shaped pancart with 'Wedding' elegantly scripted, adorning a textured stone wall, guiding guests towards the joyous celebration.
Rustic wedding signage: A charming arrow-shaped pancart with 'Wedding' elegantly scripted, adorning a textured stone wall, guiding guests towards the joyous celebration.

This comprehensive timeline and guide for pre-wedding events offer a roadmap to navigate the festivities leading to the wedding day. We cover all of the events from engagement parties to bridal showers to fun nights out for bachelor and bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners. 

This guide outlines the details of these pre-wedding traditions, offering insights into how early to plan the pre-wedding events and when to send the invitations.

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Captivating wedding invitation featuring charming floral illustrations delicately placed on a teal background, radiating simplicity and elegance, perfect for celebrating love's timeless journey

Engagement Party

What Is an Engagement Party?

An engagement party is an event celebrating a couple’s recent decision to get married. It’s an informal setting for well-wishers to congratulate the engaged couple. 

Additionally, casual engagement party themes offer a chance for both families to meet and interact before the formal wedding festivities begin. While not obligatory, many couples appreciate the opportunity to kick off their wedding journey with an intimate, relaxed get-together.

Who hosts an engagement party?

Traditionally, the engagement party is hosted by the bride’s parents. However, in modern times it’s also acceptable for friends of the bride or groom or even the couple themselves to host. 

When To Have Your Engagement Party

Most couples plan their engagement party within 2-4 months of the engagement. However, there are no hard rules here. It could be as early as the weekend after you said yes or a few months later. 

How Soon Should You Send Invitations

Once you’ve selected your engagement party date, begin selecting engagement party invitations. The timeframe for sending invitations ultimately depends on the type of invitations you choose.

One thing to note about Greetings Island party invitations is that they’re extremely versatile. Here’s everything we offer.

  • Order prints – If you’re going a more traditional route, you can order invitations printed on high-quality paper. These invitations come with complimentary envelopes and free shipping.
  • Get a digital download – Get a digital copy of your invitation and download a printable file to your device to print at home.
  • Share virtually – Share your digital download on social media, send it via email, or even share it through text messaging or other message apps.
  • Manage your event – We even give you the option to manage your event. When you select one of our invitations, you have a dedicated online event page to collect RSVPs and manage all the little details!

However you send your invitations, get them to your guests a month before the event. If you have guests traveling from out of town, consider sending them as early as six weeks in advance to provide time for travel planning.

Who is Invited to the Engagement Party?

Invite close family and friends to your engagement party. Keep the guest list intimate as this ensures a warm and personal celebration, allowing guests to share in the joy of the upcoming marriage in a relaxed setting.

Bridal Party Proposals

What is a bridesmaid proposal?

A bridesmaid proposal is when a bride asks friends to be her bridesmaids. It typically involves a simple yet thoughtful bridesmaid proposal card, expressing the desire for their support on the wedding day. This gesture is often a personal and informal way to invite friends to be a part of the bridal party.

If you’re not sure who to include, follow this guide to selecting your bridal party.

How Soon Should You Send Bridesmaid Proposals

It’s customary to select your bridal party 8-12 months before your wedding date. Send bridesmaid proposal invitations as soon as you select your bridal party. This gives ample time for them to consider whether they have the time and monetary means to be a part of your big day.

Save the Date

Couples send save-the-date announcements to inform guests about their upcoming wedding date. This practical gesture helps attendees plan well in advance, ensuring they can reserve the date and make necessary arrangements. It serves as an early heads-up, promoting attendance and making the event memorable for all involved.

How Far in Advance To Send Save the Date

Traditionally, couples send out their designed save-the-date cards at least 6 months before the wedding. If you’re planning a destination wedding, send your save the dates 8-12 months beforehand. 

Wedding Invitations

Choosing the right wedding invitation is crucial as it sets the tone for the event. Consider the wedding theme, formality, and personal style when selecting invitations. Opt for a design that reflects the couple’s personality and the overall vibe of the ceremony. 

When You Should Send Wedding Invitations

The ideal time to send wedding invitations depends on the type of wedding you’re having. Send wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding date. Opt for earlier invitations if you have a lot of out-of-town family and friends.

For destination weddings, send invitations 3 months before the wedding to give ample time for planning. 

Bridal Shower

A bridal shower is a gathering where friends and family “shower” the bride with gifts before the wedding. It’s a tradition that offers support to the couple as they embark on married life. This celebration is also a great time for family members and friends of the bride and groom to meet in a more casual environment before the wedding if they haven’t already.

When To Have the Bridal Shower

The ideal time to have a bridal shower is two months before the wedding date. A bridal shower planning guide is a great resource to help you select the best date for your shower. 

The key is to have the shower late enough in the wedding timeline that a lot of the decisions for the main event have been made. But, also still early enough that attending won’t interfere with the bride’s to-do list. 

Who Hosts the Bridal Shower?

Typically, the mother of the bride or the maid of honor will host the bridal shower. The host typically covers the expenses, plans the activities, and acts as a day-of coordinator for the event.

Multiple people can host a bridal shower and it’s a great way to divvy up the expenses and the tasks. For example, one person can handle the food, another person the drinks, and a third person can host the bridal shower at their home.

When To Send Bridal Shower Invitations

Send bridal shower invitations four to six weeks before the date of your event. Four weeks is plenty of time, but if you have guests traveling in from out of town you can give them those additional two weeks for planning. 

Who Do You Invite To a Bridal Shower?

The bridal shower guest list should include close friends of the bride, family members of both the bride and groom and female relatives. Consider coworkers and close acquaintances as well if they play a meaningful part in your relationship.

Bachelorette Party

A bachelorette party is the most casual of the pre-wedding celebrations for the bride. It involves socializing, often with close friends, and may include memorable bachelorette party ideas like dinners, drinks, and games. 

Some bachelorette parties are girls’ getaway weekends, a night on the town, or a night in with movies, drinks, and popcorn. The style of the bachelorette party depends on the bride’s personality.

When To Throw the Bachelorette Party

The ideal time for a bachelorette party is within two months and up to two weeks before the wedding. Timing depends on who is invited and the bride’s availability. 

Who Hosts the Bachelorette Party?

The bachelorette party is hosted by the maid of honor. However, it is common for the other bridesmaids to help with the planning. Unlike the bridal shower where the host typically covers everything, costs for the bachelorette party are evenly divided among all of the guests. Use apps like Venmo or Splitwise to make splitting the bill less complicated.

When To Send Bachelorette Party Invitations

If you’re wondering how early in advance to send bachelorette party invitations, the answer is three to four weeks before the event date. 

If you’re hosting a weekend getaway or an event that requires guests to travel, opt to send them four to six weeks before the event. 

Who Gets Invited to the Bachelorette Party?

There are no hard rules for the bachelorette party guest list! Invite your closest girlfriends, your cousins, and even your mother. This party is meant to be fun, casual, and lively. The guest list should reflect that.

Rehearsal Dinner

A rehearsal dinner is traditionally held the night before the wedding. This event provides time for the bridal party to practice the process of the ceremony, ensuring a smooth progression on the day of the wedding.

It also gives the bridal party a chance to bond before the big day. Rehearsal dinners can be as formal or as casual as you’d like, with some held at the wedding venue with catered meals and others taking the form of a backyard BBQ or pizza party. 

Who Hosts the Rehearsal Dinner?

Historically, the groom’s family may opt to host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. But anyone willing to take on the responsibility can carry out the rehearsal dinner ideas for the couple. Sometimes the event is hosted by the couple themselves. 

When Do You Send Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?

The rehearsal dinner is typically the night before the wedding day. Send rehearsal dinner invitations four to six weeks before the event.

If you have your rehearsal dinner venue booked by the time you send your wedding invitations, you can include a rehearsal dinner invitation within the wedding invitation suite.

Who Is Invited To The Rehearsal Dinner? 

This event is usually an intimate affair with the immediate family—parents, siblings, and grandparents—of the bride and groom along with their bridal parties. 

When To Send Post-Wedding Thank You Cards

After the big day has come and gone you can breathe a sigh of relief. But there is still one more task on your to-do list. Send all of your guests thank you cards for attending your celebration and for any gifts that they may have contributed. 

You should send wedding thank you cards within the first three months following your wedding day. Coming up with thank yous for hundreds of people can be daunting, but stick to your three-month timeline with these helpful wedding thank-you wording ideas.

Pre-Wedding Event Timeline Guide

Use this as a resource for planning your pre-wedding event timeline. This chronological list of wedding events is based on a 12-month engagement, but you can adjust it for your timeframe as needed.

8-12 Months Before Wedding

Send Engagement Party Invitations
Host Engagement Party
Send Bridal Party Proposals

Eight Months Before Wedding

Send Save the Date Cards

Six Months Before Wedding

Send Wedding Invitations

Three Months Before Wedding

Send Bridal Shower Invitations

Two Months Before Wedding

Host Bridal Shower
Send Bachelorette Party Invitations

Four to Six Weeks Before Wedding

Host Bachelorette Party
Send Rehearsal Party Invitations

Night Before Wedding

Rehearsal Dinner

Wedding Date

Focused woman meticulously planning her pre-wedding schedule in a stylish calendar, adorned with a delicate ring in a box, a pristine envelope for wedding invitations, accompanied by a laptop for organization, and complemented by fresh flowers.

Pre-Wedding Event FAQ

Creating the Perfect Wedding Event Timeline

This pre-wedding event timeline can be used to help you plan a smooth and well-organized lead-up to your big day. 

By planning these pre-wedding parties weeks—or even months—ahead of time, you’ll give your guests and yourself plenty of time to coordinate venues, invitations, catering, and everything else to ensure everyone has a wonderful time. 

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Photo credits: Photos by Lanty, Samantha Gades, Jess Bailey, Bruno Cervera, Johnny McClung, Sincerely Media, Alexander Naglestad, Kristine Cinate on UnSplash