Between your engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding weekend festivities, there are bound to be quite a few pre-wedding events penciled into your calendar. With each of these celebrations, you'll likely find a different set of needs that require not only time but money. Before you start to feel like you're in over your head financially, here's a guide to help you decide what you should budget for each pre-wedding party.
The Engagement Party
A close friend or family member will host this party and your only financial responsibility is to show up looking like your best self. As such, you might want to factor in a small budget here for a new outfit or accessories. As this is typically a casual event, you can probably do your own hair and makeup. You'll also want to budget for a nice thank-you gift to the host.
The Bridal Shower
The bridal shower is typically hosted by mothers, aunts, or close friends, and bridesmaids. If you're having a couples shower, the hosts may vary slightly but you still won't plan the event yourselves. Though you won't need to worry about footing the bill, you will want to show up looking your best. A budget for your outfit and hair and makeup may be necessary here, but it's a matter of personal preference.
The Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties
If you're having a local bachelorette or bachelor party, your hosts (typically your bridesmaids or groomsmen, respectively) will cover the costs of your entertainment for the weekend. In this case, you may want to set aside a fund for splurging on a round or two while you're out, or for any shopping or activities you might want to take part in. If you're having a destination event, your costs may include flights and hotels for the weekend, and you'll need to budget for this accordingly.
The Rehearsal Dinner
Modern couples fall into two camps when it comes to budgeting for the rehearsal dinner; some prefer to host this event with their own money while others follow the traditional route of accepting the gift of a set of parents hosting. Regardless of who is hosting the rehearsal dinner, you may want to set aside a budget for attire and hair and makeup. You may also decide you'd like to add some floral arrangements or décor to match your wedding day, which can be budgeted for either by your host or by you as a couple.
If you're hosting your own rehearsal dinner, you'll want to factor in a per-person cost for an evening of food and drink. Depending where your event will take place, this could set you back anywhere from $40-100 per guest. A more casual gathering will often cost less, especially if you're having a small family dinner party or at-home gathering. If budget is a concern, it's perfectly acceptable to keep the guest list small and invite only immediate family and your wedding party.
The Welcome Party
The welcome party is the final pre-wedding event, and it's also the one that's considered most optional. For those couples who choose to have one, the welcome party tends to be a cocktails and canapés style celebration, and all guests are invite. In general, they're most common for destination weddings, serving as an opportunity for guests to gather prior to the wedding day. The budget really depends on how long you'll host, but most couples choose to have a two to four hour party with an open bar and some small bites of food. A reasonable budget might hover around $30-50 per guest, but this can vary greatly based on your location and venue.