Marriage customs and traditions – Bachelor Bachelorette Party Bridal Showers


Then:  Pre-Marriage Lunch/Dinner invitations

Upon conclusion of the formal engagement and a wedding date fixed, the soon to be bride and groom would be invited for lunch or dinner by their respective friends, relatives and neighbours, not together but separately.

18202163-beautiful-girl-with-flowers-in-hairThe girl was dressed up nicely for the occasion and put red flowers in her hair and was sometimes invited by her hosts to stay overnight and a bath was prepared for her. These invitations expressed the loving sentiments and respect the hosts had for the girl and her family.   Close family relatives could not easily excuse themselves from these invitations, which were expected to be returned when a wedding was to take place in the family of the hosts.

Family dinnerI do recall my elder sister who got married 39 years ago, being invited for a meal hosted by our Aunt and I had accompanied her as I was her brides-maid. Some of our other relatives and neighbours too may have also invited us but can’t recall.


Not sure if the above mentioned beautiful and sentimental custom is being followed due to present day busy lifestyle.

downloadThe custom now though is the Bachelor/Bachelorette also called hen-do-clipart-17‘Hen’ parties or ‘Bridal Shower’ hosted by the bridesmaid and groomsmen or close friends which signifies a farewell to his bachelor days and her spinster days.  These parties are based on Western traditions and are to some extent ‘wild’ parties giving the guests an opportunity to let their hair down, so to say, especially the bride and groom to celebrate for the last time their spinsterhood/bachelorhood.

However, in order to throw some light on these western inspired customs, the origin of the Bachelor party was in actual fact a black-tie images (4)event hosted by the groom’s father to raise a toast in honor of the groom and his bride.

Bachelor party is also known as Stag Party, Stag Night, Stag Weekend and takes place shortly before he enters marriage.

Bride-Image-900x675Equivalent to the Bachelor is the Bacholerette party for the bride which is also called Hen’s Night (Europe), Stagette (Canada).


To keep celebrations ‘sober’ and trim costs, it is becoming increasingly common to have “Stag & Doe”, Jack & Jill, or Stag & Hen parties, i.e. a joint Bachelor/Bachelorette party.

Hen & Stag Party

images (3)






Bridal Shower (celebrated mainly in U.S. & Canada) is as the name suggests, a gift-giving party for the bride to shower her with gifts.  It is said that bridal shower originated out of earlier dowry practices in Europe (and I thought dowry system existed only in India) when a woman’s family could not provide a dowry or if the father did not approve of the marriage, the friends of the woman got together to bring gifts and provide financial assistance so she could marry.  Bridal Showers are bridal-shower-300x300held 2 to 6 weeks before the wedding and traditional gifts are for bedroom or kitchen to help the bride start her new home, but nowadays the usual gifts are personal items for the bride, like sexy lingerie or sleep wear.

Bridal Showers usually take place in the afternoon (lunch) or evening (if only snacks are served) and all invitees are expected to bring a small gift for the bride and hosting is done by a close friend or one or more bridesmaid/s or the maid of honour.  Guests would typically be the bride’s close female friends and family members. In general, those who are invited to the bridal shower would also be invited to the wedding.  Opening of the gifts is done with some pomp, either before the meal or after and not during the meal.


There is nothing wrong in having both a Bridal Shower (2 to 6 weeks ahead of the wedding) and a Bachelorette (couple of days before the wedding). Much planning goes into these parties today so that the bride and the guests have a great time playing games, dancing etc. and there are numerable ideas and themes available on the world wide web.

Previous Post: Reading of Banns                   Next Post: Wedding Garments & Jewellery

References: Severine Silva and Stephen Fuchs & Victor D’sa, S.V.D.: The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India, Wikipedia


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: