Regional Wedding Traditions: Stag and Doe Parties

Previously: Cake Pulls and Cookie Tables

A stag and doe party is a regional tradition found mostly in certain areas of Canada. The purpose of the party is to be a fundraiser for the wedding.

The basic premise is that the bridal party (including groomsmen) will throw the party, which charges an admission fee, charges for drinks, and has games and raffles and things, also for a small fee. The funds raised should cover the cost of the party and leave plenty left over for the bride and groom. The guest list is open to anyone, not just people who are invited to the actual wedding.

Despite my general hatred of people expecting their wedding guests to give them lavish presents, cover their plates, pay for drinks at a cash bar, money dances, and all other kinds of greedy wedding hoopla, I…actually think this is a pretty great idea if it’s already common in your social circle and people know what to expect (ie don’t spring it on your New York City friends who have never heard of such a thing.) Here’s why: while the event is connected to the wedding, it’s not thrown by the bride and groom. Also, I imagine this kind of thing might be more common in areas where there’s not a whole lot of nightlife, so this is probably a good way to get out of the house, have some fun, have some drinks, maybe win a raffle. However, not all Canadians are fond of this tradition.

Of course, like anything, there are polite and rude ways to go about doing it:

  • The party should always be thrown for the bride and groom, not by them.
  • Use it as a substitute for other wedding events, not in addition to them (say do a Stag and Doe but skip the engagement party. People get burned out on attending many events for the same couple)
  • Make it a really fun event that people WANT to attend so they don’t feel like it is just about the money. Have actually fun games and nice prizes.
  • Charge for booze, but have plenty of simple food and drinks for free.
  • Keep the ticket price fairly low or make it by donation.
  • Thank people for coming- maybe even do a big announcement during the event
  • Only only only have such a party if they are already what your social circle does. This is not going to come off well to people who don’t know what it’s about.
  • By no means pressure anyone to come or to spend more money than they are comfortable spending
  • If you are attending the party, keep in mind that it is a fundraiser, so come prepared to spend at least a little bit of money. Don’t just pay the entrance fee and then gorge on the free food/music/dancing.

For places where Stag and Does are attending by the whole community, it seems like a really nice way for everyone to support the couple, even if they wouldn’t be invited to the wedding, while getting a fun time in exchange. And honestly, it sounds way more fun than a shower where you are also spending a bunch of money, but instead of dancing, drinking, and playing games, you are sitting around politely watching someone else open presents.

Please tell me about other regional wedding traditions! Either in the comments or!


Regional Wedding Traditions: Cookie Table

Previously: Cake Pulls

This is a regional wedding tradition I can get behind- a cookie table!

This tradition is regional to southern Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh and some other industrial East Coast cities that have large Catholic populations of Italian or Eastern European groups, says Wikipedia. I can’t remember where I first read about it, but it always struck me as a particularly nice tradition. In addition to your usual wedding cake, there is a table full of cookies at the wedding for the guests to enjoy. The great thing is that the relatives of the couple bake the cookies, giving it a great community feeling and something that hasn’t been totally Pinterestified like it’s cousin (and another favorite of mine- the candy buffet). Supposedly the tradition started before wedding cakes were a big thing and it was a way to spread out the cost of the reception between many family members.

These cookie tables aren’t playing around, either. I read about one wedding that had 500 dozen cookies! ┬áThat’s 6000 cookies, and unless these weddings have a thousand guests, that’s an awful lot of cookies per person. This wedding had 200 guests- which is 30 cookies per guest. That’s so many! Even a sweet fiend like me would have a hard time with that. Luckily, you get to take them home to enjoy at your leisure.

There is a bit of etiquette involved- are you really allowed to take them home (apparently these days it’s all good and some families even provide containers)? When can you start eating them, from the beginning of the reception or do you have to wait until dessert time (definitely not until after they’ve been revealed, but it depends on what the couple wants)?

So, let’s definitely bring this tradition to other weddings because unlike cash bars, who doesn’t love a good, homemade cookie?

Regional Wedding Traditions: Cake Pulls

Cake pulls or charms is a tradition that is found in the South, most prevalently around New Orleans. The idea is simple- after the cake is baked, a number of “charms” are inserted into the cake, leaving an attached ribbon trailing out. At the wedding reception, the bride gathers her bridesmaids or other special friends around the cake and each takes a ribbon and pulls out the charm. Each charm has a meaning that will predict that woman’s future. Sometimes if a bride wants a particular person to pull a specific charm, it will be marked in some way. Often, the bride will give her bridesmaids charm bracelets as their “bridesmaid gift” so they can put the charm on the bracelet.

Some examples of charms and their meanings:

  • Baby bottle/high chair: next to have a baby
  • Four leaf clover/horseshoe: good luck
  • Airplane/Eiffel Tower: future travel
  • Heart: love
  • Rocking Chair: long life
  • Thimble/button: Spinsterhood (!!!!!)
  • Ring/bells: next to get married
  • Butterfly: eternal beauty

This can be a really fun and beautiful tradition, but of course has some pitfalls:

  • Do not under any circumstances give someone a charm that says they will be an old maid, WTF, that’s just mean.
  • Try to be sensitive about other problems- like a baby charm to someone who is infertile or is staunchly child-free
  • Leaving people out- try to stick to only bridesmaids lest you hurt someone’s feelings who feels like she is a close enough friend that she should be up there (unless you can get ALL your girlfriends involved- that’s great too!)
  • Make sure they are all out before the cake is served so no one chokes on one!