3 Fun Wedding Weekend Festivities to Consider

If the traditional wedding parties (rehearsal dinner, Sunday brunch, etc.) aren't enough celebrating for you, here are some ideas for filler events, whether held to thank a group of people, to honor out-of-town guests, or simply to keep the party going through the wedding weekend.

The Appreciation Party: Instead of trying to schedule a series of luncheons and bachelor/bachelorette parties, a couple might host one big appreciation party instead. Invited are attendants and anyone else who has given generously of their time and ideas to help make the wedding wonderful. The appreciation party is often a casual affair, a barbecue or picnic, especially if the rehearsal dinner is to be formal. It is usually held just before the wedding, when everyone has gathered, and is another opportunity for the bride and groom to give their attendants gifts of appreciation. This get-together can also be held after the couple returns from their honeymoon if their attendants and special friends live close enough to attend.

The Pre-Wedding Luncheon: For a late-afternoon wedding, a small luncheon for the bridal party may be given by friends or neighbors. This takes the burden off the busy mother of the bride to host yet another entertainment on her daughter's wedding day. It may be as simple or as elaborate as the host and hostess wish, but laid-back and relaxing may be just the ticket to put an excited and nervous bridal party at ease. The bride and groom are absolutely not required to attend, however; it depends on their schedules and energy levels.

Parties for Out-of-Town Guests: A lovely gift from relatives or friends is a party for out-of-town guests and early-arriving wedding attendants. This, too, relieves the bride's parents of extra work before the wedding and gives guests a chance to spend time together in an informal atmosphere. Invitations should be sent well in advance so that guests can plan their travel itinerary accordingly. Often the party is given by multiple hosts, who share the expenses and work. These parties may be held at a home or in a club or restaurant. Guests may include the attendants, the couple's families, their close friends, and friends of their parents. Outings, too, can be arranged rather than parties — bowling, miniature golf, hiking, visits to local tourist attractions. It's a great way for visitors to relax and explore the area before the wedding.

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