When a friend gets engaged, there’s lots of events that lead up to the big day. These events, usually the engagement party, bridal shower and the bachelorette party, take some planning and each have their own specific goals.

If you’ve been tasked with the honor of planning any one of these parties (or even all of them!), you should know what each of them are!

This way, you can plan the events to perfection and execute them successfully. Here’s all the differences between an engagement party, a bridal shower and a bachelorette party!

The Engagement Party

engagement-party
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Right after the couple gets engaged, either side of the couple’s friends and family will host an event for everyone to celebrate their engagement.

Whether they host a dinner, a cocktail party at a local bar or have a fun potluck at someone’s home, it’s a great time for everyone to get together and congratulate the couple on their engagement.

Most of the time, the bride will show off her engagement ring (though more and more brides are opting for silicone rings instead of diamond engagement rings).

If you’re hosting the engagement party, you’ll want to invest in a few decorations, such as:

Letter balloons: String together some letter balloons to say “Congrats” or “Engaged.” Hang them across a focal wall at the engagement party venue so guests can take pictures under it. If the couple has their own table they’ll be sitting at, consider hanging the balloons above their table.

Flowers: Put some flowers on the tables in unique arrangements for a picturesque engagement party. While many people think of flowers only at weddings, you can use them at a variety of events! Fresh flowers look beautiful, but don’t hesitate to use silks if any of the guests are allergic to fresh flowers or you’re on a budget.

Picture props: An engagement party is the perfect opportunity for friends and family of the couple to celebrate and show them off! Invest in a set of picture props the guests can use as they take pictures with the couple. Props also help to get guests actually taking pictures. Some people don’t like taking photos, so having props to guide them can be a huge help.

The Bridal Shower

Bridal-Shower
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Bridal showers are the step between the engagement party and the bachelorette party. Instead of a co-ed party for both the couple and the friends, the bridal shower is typically for the bride, her close friends and the female members of her family.

You’ll play games, shower the bride in gifts (hence the name!) and spend some quality time together before the big day. If you’re planning the bridal shower, here are some essentials for the event.

Pens and paper: A lot of bridal shower games involve people writing things down. Get some pens and paper for everyone to use as they write down their answers or guess how many M&Ms are in the jar. A pen and paper is also good to have on hand to keep track of the gifts that are given to the bride, such as a set of women’s stackable rings or a professional blender. That way, the bride can write specific thank you notes later on and adjust her registry as needed.

Food and drink: Bridal showers typically take place in the mid to late afternoon. While in-between meals, many bridal showers still provide light hors d’oeuvres and some refreshments for guests. From pigs in a blanket to petit fours, there are lots of things you can put on the menu for the bridal shower. However, when you send invitations, request that guests provide you with their dietary restrictions. This way, you can ensure that the guests feel comfortable and enjoy their time at the party! In regards to drinks, consider whether you want to have some light cocktails or do a dry bar of non-alcoholic drinks for the event.

Favors: Favors are important for any event, including a bridal shower! Send your guests home with heart shaped measuring spoons, personalized wine stoppers or any other love-related item that’s both practical and unique. You’ll want to highlight the happy couple in your favors, and showcase them in a unique display either by the door or at each person’s place setting.

The Bachelorette Party

bachelorette-party
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Arguably one of the most fun parts of the pre-wedding festivities, the bachelorette party is a way for the bride and her squad to enjoy her “last night of freedom,” if you will. It’s a celebration of her upcoming wedding and the death of her single life.

From bar hopping to risque entertainment, a bachelorette party is usually filled with tales of fun and wild nights, so it’s important to keep the guest list small for this one. Here are some necessities for a fun bachelorette party!

Sashes: Get sashes for the bride squad to wear for the night out! The bride obviously gets a white sash, and the bridesmaids should all wear sashes of another color. Consider getting sashes that identify who is who in the squad, such as the maid of honor or the bridesmaids. Wearing them might get you a few free perks, such as drinks or food, at any of the different places you visit on the night out.

Itinerary: An itinerary is essential for a successful bachelorette party. While you can keep the events a surprise for the bride, everyone else should be on the same page as to what locations they’re visiting and events that are happening. This way, everyone can budget accordingly and also bring the proper wardrobe for the weekend! Of course, be open to throwing the itinerary to the wind and just going with the flow the night of.

Energy drinks: It’s going to be a long night, so stock up on some energy drinks! You should also have some hangover recovery kit items in your bag ready for the next morning, especially if you all have to catch planes back home.

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