How to get your wedding parties to bond before the big day
While once a groom and bride stood at the alter with just one bridesmaid and one best man, now each party can be made up of several people. With friends from school, college, work and general life, as well as close family members, all combined, often many of these people don’t know each other and may even meet for the first time at that very alter. And this is why it’s important to find ways your individual wedding parties bond before the big day.
In the past, bridesmaids usually bonded during the Hen, while groomsmen bonded at the Stag, but now, more couples are choosing to combine both parties in advance so everyone knows each other. Let’s face it – these are the people helping you build your wedding and they can do it a lot better if they’ve all become friends.
Rather than just dragging everyone to the pub, here are some fun, but casual ways for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to mingle and have your wedding parties bond before your wedding.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #1: Bowling
Bridesmaids vs Groomsmen – your teams are ready-made and some friendly competition is a great way to introduce everyone to each other. Keep the vibe casual, so everyone is relaxed and go for some beers afterwards. Pitchers and platters of food in a chilled environment will put everyone at ease and get conversation flowing.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #2: Tag Ruby
If you can get everyone to give up a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, having some outdoor fun is a nice way to have both wedding parties bond. It doesn’t have to be tag rugby – rounders, some kind of obstacle course or a collection of games, like Sack Races, will work just as well. Mix up the teams to get everyone mingled and have some fun.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #3: HAG Party
Have your individual Hen and Stag parties, but do one combination night out to break the ice between groomsmen and bridesmaids. It doesn’t need to be an elaborately planned night – dinner and drinks will do just fine. Organising something a little more special than a gathering in the pub means everyone will be in good spirits and will have plenty of time to chat over food before the drinks really start pouring.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #4: Pot luck dinner
If you want to keep hangovers to a minimum in the run up to the wedding (your Stag do is going to derail your fitness programme enough), throw a pot luck dinner at your place one evening and invite both parties over. Everyone should bring a simple dish to fill out the meal (starter, sides or dessert – the guys can grab something from M&S), while you and your fiancée cook a couple of main courses. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a lasagne and a simple curry will be more than enough to ensure that your wedding parties bond.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #5: Pre-wedding photo shoot
This may seem a little cheesy, but it’s a great way to get everyone feeling comfortable around each other. Wedding day photos look great and are nice memories to have, but they don’t really represent how you see your friendships or relationship on a regular basis. Get the whole gang together for some fun pictures in comfortable clothes and a natural setting. This way everyone will feel more confident posing for your photographer on your wedding day, and chances are you may even prefer these pictures to the official
Wedding Party Bonding Event #6: Karaoke
Few things promote bonding like screaming Sweet Child of Mine into a microphone with a group of people after a few drinks. Book a booth and bring everyone along for some karaoke fun. Lots of people claim they don’t like karaoke, but we have yet to come across someone who doesn’t end up enjoying the experience on a night out. You and your fiancée will probably have to man up and do the first song, so have something prepared.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #7: Cocktail class
Cocktail-making classes are not just for the bridesmaids. Get both wedding parties in on the fun and learn how to make some great drinks while having a laugh. If your group is too sophisticated (read: boring) to flip cocktail shakers in the air, a wine tasting class should be a suitable replacement.
Wedding Party Bonding Event #8: Camping
Not for everyone, but if all the bridesmaids and groomsmen are up for it, why not organise a weekend camping trip? Pitching tents, cooking marshmallows and singing around campfires are classic ways to bond a group. It’s also a unique experience that only these people will have together and a nice way to kick off the wedding celebrations. And since Irish weather is reliably awful, renting yurts or opting for ‘glamping’ is perfectly acceptable.