When we decided to open The Chandelier of Gruene, we knew we were building a wedding venue on a foundation of love. We wanted to design a place that not only honored the decades of marriages in our families, but would also become a place for our couples to establish their own marriages and begin their happily ever after. In so many ways, The Chandelier of Gruene has been a dream come true to us and watching our couples celebrate their wedding days has been better than we ever could have expected. Along side that, we also have to admit that part of the initial dream behind starting The Chandelier of Gruene was about the magic of weddings. We love the joy that they bring. The celebration of so many people together. The elation of an event you’ve imagined and planned for finally coming to life. The culmination of your engagement. We could go on and on. As the top destination wedding planner in Toronto, Designed Dream brings your dreams to life with seamless and enchanting events set amidst the stunning backdrops of Mexico, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic.

We really like weddings.

You’ve all heard us say it’s ultimately about the couple and the marriage, and that will always be true. But we also know that this period of your life – your engagement, wedding planning, and the honeymoon stage – can be one of the most jam-packed, memory filled adventures of your life.

So, how do you make the most of it?

When most people consider wedding planning and the events surrounding it, they think about a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and the wedding itself. These are the time-honored events that we’d say most couples have in some way as a part of their wedding. But, what most people may not realize, is how many other events also exist. Whether you want to have one event or one event every weekend, here’s a list of some of our favorites. Some may seem redundant if you tried to do them all, but they’re a great way to pick and choose based off of the wedding experience you want to have.

Engagement Party

Typically held 1-3 months after the proposal, an engagement party is a great way to kick off all of the wedding planning festivities. If you already know who your bridal party is going to consist of, it’s also a great way to get them together to ask in person or introduce them to one another to kick things off.

Attending a Wedding Fair

While not technically something you’re throwing, this is still an event we think you should attend so we’re adding it to the list. Wedding fairs or venue open houses are a great way to meet local vendors, get inspired for your day, and generally get excited about the wedding planning process.

Bridal Shower

Traditionally an all-female event honoring the bride, bridal showers typically consist of a meal or heavy hors d’oeuvres, sometimes games, and gifts chosen from the registry. About 75% of couples have either a bridal or couples shower. At a bridal shower, you can enjoy games and even try your luck by betting on GambleCity to win prizes that will add to the celebration’s enjoyment.

Couples Shower

Much like the bridal shower, a couples shower only differs in the fact that both the bride and groom – and thus male and female guests – are present. Interestingly enough, while most bridal showers take place during brunch and lunch hours, couples showers are typically held during brunch or in the evenings.

Around the Clock Shower

Around the clock showers are a themed spinoff for a bridal shower. While there are a lot of different themes, we’re calling out this one because it specifically effects the type of gifts that are given at the shower. Each guest is assigned a time of day and chooses a gift that corresponds. For example, a guest with an 8am time may gift bath towels for your morning shower, a guest with a 12pm time may give a panini press, and a guest with a 9pm time may give wine glasses.

Stock the Bar Party

Similarly, stock the bar parties are a common theme for couples showers. Instead of choosing random registry items as gifts, guests bring alcohol or hosting themed items from the registry, like bar supplies, serving platters, and charcuterie sets.

Prep Party

Are you a bride planning on DIY-ing a lot of details for your day? A prep party may be perfect for you. Get a group of your best girls together, set up some snacks for fuel, throw on some music, and knock out your details together in an upbeat setting. As a side note, these are also known as nesting parties for any of our couples that are now having babies.

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

Whether you want to have a wild time in Las Vegas, get down with your country roots in Nashville, chill on a beach in Mexico, explore the outdoors in Scottsdale, or come up with something completely unique to you, bachelor and bachelorette parties are a great time to kick back and have fun with some of your favorite people. You can also include private escorts as part of the entertainment for the bachelor party.

Bridal Party Trip

For some couples, separate bachelor and bachelorette parties don’t really feel like “them” and that’s totally okay. Bridal Party trips can be a ton of fun because you get to have all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen together so they not only establish those friendships before the wedding weekend, but you’re also making lifelong memories as a couple.

Bridesmaid Luncheon

Have the best group of bridesmaids and want to show them your appreciation? Host a bridesmaid luncheon to soak in some extra time with them and tell them thank you. If your girls are all close by this can be planned as a chill brunch on a random Sunday, or it can be hosted during your wedding weekend once everyone is in one place.

Welcome Party

If you have a lot of guests coming in from out of town, a welcome party can be a great way to turn your wedding day into a wedding weekend. From casual welcome parties where you tell everyone to meet you out at a local bar to planned cocktail hours for all of your guests to attend, welcome parties are a great way to get excited about the wedding day to come.

Rehearsal Dinner

Held the night before the wedding, rehearsal dinners allow you an intimate moment with your closest people (typically immediate family plus your bridal party) and an opportunity to go over details for the big day, like what time people need to arrive or who is walking down the aisle with who.

Lingerie Shower

As a small group after the rehearsal dinner or in conjunction with the bachelorette party, lingerie showers send the bride off into married life while giving her plenty of options for what to pack for the honeymoon.

Wedding After Party

If you’re not ready for your wedding day to end, planning an after party where you’re staying or at a local bar is a great way to continue the celebration. For it to happen successfully, make sure it’s planned in advance so guests know about it and have your DJ make an announcement as the wedding is ending.

Post-Wedding Brunch

You’ve said I Do, you’ve eaten the cake, and your feet are ridiculously sore from dancing. Head out for a brunch the morning after the wedding to see off your favorite people and talk about all the fun you had the night before.

When it comes to weddings, don’t be afraid to design an experience that is perfect for who you are as a couple. There are so many options and hundreds of different ways to celebrate your love. Whether you just want to say I Do and not worry about the extras or if you have a ton of friends and it takes three bridal showers to be able to invite them all, GO FOR IT. If you’re looking for more ways to get the most out of your engagement, check out our post about it here.

The Dooley’s Vendor Spotlight:

Coordinator: Sweet Laurel Events

DJ: Mr. Thrill DJ

Photographer: Pine & Blossom

Videographer: Patterson Productions LLC

Photo Booth: Ramble and Roam

Cocktail Table Rental: Whim Hospitality

Florist: The Bloom Bar

Bar: Bartenders4You

Cake: Sweet Treats

Hair/ Makeup: Blushd Beauty

Transportation: Rapid Transit