BY MADISON FREDERICK
While June is a very popular wedding month, it is also a popular month for showers and wedding parties for those summer weddings. At this stage in my life, I have enjoyed wedding parties in every role but grandmother of the bride or groom (and I am looking forward to those roles, too, just not very soon).
This month, my girlfriends and I are planning a party for a very special young bride. We are currently in the menu-planning stage, having completed the difficult navigation of choosing a time and location. Of course, you must do this planning in a prescribed order, or you have a big mess on your hands. You cannot decide to have a brunch and then discover that the bride can only be available in the evenings. And, most often, today you must consider the groom, as well. What is a good time for him?
As we are wrestling with the important details, it occurred to me that wedding parties (notice I did not say “showers”) have really changed. Showers in my memory were times when women would gather to talk and enjoy chicken salad sandwiches, nuts and cake squares; all washed down with fruit punch. It was a time to give advice to the bride, play bridal bingo and construct a paper plate bouquet made from all the gift bows to be carried at the wedding rehearsal. Didn’t we have fun?
Today’s wedding party is very different. Dare I say, much more sophisticated? We are currently deciding whether to have beer along with red and white wine. Oh and yes, of course, the men will be there. It is a couple’s party, honoring both the bride and the groom. There will be no “silly” games (only “silly sports talk”). The food must also be much heartier because we want the guys to feel comfortable and well fed. (Forget the delicate cups and plates.)
I believe today’s wedding parties that celebrate the couple as a unit and not just the bride are a good thing…an advancement in our culture. I guess today’s bride being older and more independent does not need the special time with just her female support network. But, in advancing our society’s etiquette, I hope we don’t lose some of the valuable practices from the past. It is very difficult to erase from my cherished memories how special I felt as a young girl being included in the showers my aunts often gave. And, those strong “female” memories cannot be replaced by the current bachelorette party practices. I still believe there are times when a bride, young or old, needs the comfort and wisdom of all ages of females in her support network. It makes her feel part of a continuing cycle. Inclusion in the sisterhood of females is empowering at any age.
So, I will continue to honor both practices. I love parties! I will host couples’ parties and enjoy the fun of celebrating a new couple. But, on occasion, I will still enjoy throwing a bridal shower with the “girls,” complete with punch cups and chicken salad.
Now, where did I put that bridal bingo game?