When most people think of bachelor parties, they think of wild, crazy nights barhopping and partying. But before you upset your fiancée, there are several, more innocent options for partying with the guys.

The tradition of the bachelor party, or stag party, originates from the Romans where the groom-to-be was honored with a dinner and other scandalous activities. But most of all, it was a time for the groom to spend with his friends bonding and celebrating the last night of his “freedom.” Traditionally, bachelor parties were celebrated on the eve of the wedding. Considering that this is the most important day of your life, consider planning the party days, weeks or even months beforehand.

Party rentals come in handy especially if your wedding is at an outdoor location. They can offer everything for your big day from chocolate fountains to dinnerware and linens.

When planning a wedding and reception, it’s easy to overlook the necessities like dinnerware, chairs, tables, candles, lighting, tents, runners, and even coffee makers. Make sure to find out what your location provides, if anything so you can be prepared. If you have a wedding planner, they will provide you with the party rental company they prefer. Usually this is someone they depend on so you will have no worries for the big day.

The rehearsal dinner is a time when family and friends of the bride and groom come together to celebrate and prepare for the big day. Usually the rehearsal dinner follows the ceremony rehearsal. A run-through of the wedding takes place and the bride and groom may practice their vows. The attendants are shown what to do and what to be prepared for.

Following the rehearsal is the dinner where everyone comes together to celebrate and relax before the wedding. Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the expense and its events. But with weddings becoming increasingly expensive, the bride and groom or even the bride’s parents may chip in. Be sure to send out personal invitations to friends and attendants who will attend the dinner.

Churches

Most area churches are available only to members and their families for weddings, although a few will perform the ceremony for non-members for a fee. If you decide you want a traditional church ceremony, contact the church office to inquire about availability and any special requirements. Some ministers will ask that the couple participate in one or more pre-marriage counseling sessions.

 

Home or Home Away from Home

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Lowcountry, your own home could provide the perfect setting for your wedding—a staircase, your backyard, a garden, the pool deck…

When shopping for your wedding flowers, again ask friends and relatives for anyone they can recommend. Get some ideas assembled before you begin meeting with florists, so you can use your time more efficiently. Cut pictures out of magazines to show your potential florist what type of theme and look you want to create.

You should select your bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses before you select your florist. This is done to be sure the flowers accentuate the dresses. If you can, bring in material swatches or photographs of the dresses.

You should also have your ceremony and reception sites chosen before you pick your flowers. Some churches and even reception sites have particular rules about flowers. Ask about these rules ahead of time so you can notify the florist.

A Wedding Breakfast or Brunch

This is the perfect choice for couples who are planning an early morning wedding. Popular choices for an early morning celebration include: croissants and jams, smoked salmon, elegant quiches, fruit salads, omelet and/or carving stations, a variety of teas, juices, and coffees, and mimosas. Some will also offer Bloody Mary beverages or an espresso bar. A delicate white cake, or even Angel's Food cake, can offer a nice, light way to finish this type of reception. Weather permitting, a beautiful outdoor area – ex. resort oceanfront or lush gardens – can serve as an ideal setting for a wedding breakfast or brunch.

A Cocktail Reception

This is a delightful party, which lends itself to ample mingling. If you’re a social butterfly who loves to meet and greet everyone, this could be the reception for you. At a cocktail reception, you’ll see hot & cold hors d’oeuvres, caviar, iced raw bars, single-serving soups, wines, etc. Some cocktail receptions may even feature elaborate ice sculptures or bars carved entirely out of ice, or specialty drinks, such as pomegranate martinis and peach bellinis (champagne with peach purée).

Catering experts can help you pull together all the best elements of your wedding and express them at the wedding reception. For example, if you are having a theme wedding or an ethnic-style wedding, your caterer will be able to help you select the appropriate kinds of food and drink to tie everything together.

Remember that food, in itself, is considered by many to be entertainment. Guests are happy when their appetites are satiated with delicious cuisine. Making it appealing to their eyes, as well as their palates, will help you create a positive and memorable experience.

When interviewing caterers, be sure to get references, photographs, menus, and a taste test of their work. Be sure you know your budget and where the reception will take place before you begin the caterer search. This will save you time and aggravation later.

Music is a huge part of the wedding festivities. It is important to understand what you and your fiancé want, and what your guests enjoy. If you plan to marry in a church, be sure to speak with the minister and have him involved in planning the music for your ceremony.

Besides conveying the essential information (who, what, where and when), your wedding invitation is a preview of your big day. Make sure it makes the right first impression and that it reflects the tone and formality of the event so that guests know how to dress and what to expect.

The options for paper, printing and embossing can be overwhelming, and you’ll find many sources, including stationery stores, independent stationers/printers, graphic artists, department stores, mail order catalogues and online stationers.

A professional stationer can help guide you in paper selection, print styles, wording and more. Stores will have samples to help you get ideas. Most online stores will also provide free samples upon request or offer them at a very reasonable price.

The first impression guests have of your wedding day begins the moment your wedding invitation arrives in the mail. Couples have many choices for wedding stationery. There are traditional papers in white or cream, and contemporary-style invitations, and almost anything in between.

The good news is since there are so many styles and choices available, wedding stationery can be customized to fit any budget. Couples can keep it simple, and have the ink match the main wedding color, or get elaborate by having invitations hand-written by a calligrapher.

Floral Selections

Close your eyes and think of your favorite flower. Picture the delicate petals; take a deep breath and remember the sweet fragrance. This could be the starting point of your floral selection. If you don’t have a favorite flower, an imaginative florist can help inspire you with ideas.

Because flowers will require a substantial portion of your wedding budget and because they will appear in almost every wedding photo, selecting the right florist is a top priority. Start by asking friends and family for referrals. If you have recently attended a wedding with particularly exquisite flowers, ask the bride what floral designer she used. Once you have a list of several reputable florists, make appointments with each one to talk about options and view photographs.

When you have chosen a florist, ask if he or she has done weddings at your ceremony and/or reception sites before. If so, this person will be knowledgeable about what sizes, shapes, and colors work in the space. If not, the designer may want to visit or, at the very least, view photos of the venue to get a feel for the space.

You’ve gathered together some of the most important people in your life to be a part of your wedding. Naturally, you will want to give each one a token of thanks for his or her role in your special day. Some brides offer to absorb the cost of the bridesmaids’ gowns; this is particularly appreciated if the gown you selected is expensive. A spa day is another great gift. Arranging facials, manicures, pedicures, massages and even hair and makeup services for your attendants prior to the wedding is a magnificent treat and, at the same time, a way to ensure that everyone looks her best. When considering other gifts, think of activities and interests you and your attendants share, and let that guide your choice. When applicable, add engraving or personalization for a special touch.

We are all familiar with the typical wedding traditions, “something old, new, borrowed, and blue,” the throwing of rice after the ceremony, not seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding, even the tradition of the bride wearing a white dress. But what many may not know is where or why these rituals originated.

The Ring’s: Ever wonder why there is both an engagement ring and a wedding ring? Well that would be because of Pope Innocent III, who required a waiting period between engagement and marriage. He also required that a ring be used in the wedding ceremony.

The engagement ring symbolizes the couple’s promise of a future together. The diamond engagement ring has been around since the 1400s, and sometimes stood as a “payment” for the bride.