Welcome to the first episode in our new series here on the Un-Wedding Podcast, What Weddings Are Made Of – From Proposal to Honeymoon.

We’ll talk about all the different parts that go into weddings and explain the purpose of each.

Today, we’re starting with the events that lead up to your wedding. We’ll summarize what they are, some familiar, some specific to Canada, and explain why your may or may not want to include them in your wedding. So what are the things that come before you say “I do” and do you really need them?

Learn more about us and our movement: https://unweddingmovement.com


Corina Waldie 0:11

Welcome to the Un-Wedding Podcast. I'm Corina,

Sydney Spidell 0:14

and I'm Sydney.

Corina Waldie 0:15

We're two neurodiverse wedding planners who are committed to empowering nearlyweds to throw the wedding rulebook, shrink their guests lists and create a meaningful, purposeful wedding experience. We're taking the wedding industry by storm and disrupting the status quo. We're the Un-Wedding Planners and we invite you to join our movement.

Sydney Spidell 0:33

We record our podcast from Treaty Six Territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota, Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others, whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

Corina Waldie 0:57

Welcome to the first episode in our new series here on the Un-Wedding Podcast - What Weddings Are Made Of - From Proposal to Honeymoon. We'll talk about all the different parts that go into weddings and explain the purpose of each. Today we're starting with the events that lead up to your wedding. We'll summarize what they are, some familiar, some specific to Canada, and explain why you may or may not want to include them in your wedding. So what are the things that come before you say I do? And do you need really need them?

Sydney Spidell 1:25

Okay, so one of the first things that comes to mind is bachelor and bachelorette party like that springs to mind immediately when you think about things that happened before the wedding. But there's tons right? There's often like so many different showers and engagement parties.

Corina Waldie 1:45

And then in terms of Canadian specific events,

Sydney Spidell 1:47

Our favourite

Corina Waldie 1:48

The Jack and Jill or the Stag and Doe.

Sydney Spidell 1:50

Yeah, and we're gonna get into apparently why that is such a popular thing here in the Great White North, but, I guess chronologically, number one would be then the engagement party. Absolutely. So what what does engagement party, say bring into your mind when you're thinking of that?

Corina Waldie 2:10

Well, I guess for me, I think about it from the traditional aspects. Usually, you know, it's something that's hosted by a parent of one of the partners. But it really, honestly, can be anybody. And really, it's just something to celebrate the fact that you're engaged and that there's an upcoming wedding. So, but I think one of the most important things that it's important to point out is with all of these different events, it's a great opportunity for the sides to meet each other. Specifically, if they haven't had an opportunity to necessarily meet each other before this engagement, especially like immediate families or close friends. It kind of allows people to get a little bit more familiar with each other. So as we go forward with all these other future events in the coming months, days, and years, after your engagement, people always know who each other are.

Sydney Spidell 2:58

Yeah, there are other like things to be done at those other events, right. And the engagement party is like your little kickoff, you're a little welcome to the we're doing this moment. So it is kind of about being like, Okay, you're going to be going through all of these things now, these two different sides of worlds. And eventually you're going to be sitting in one big space together. So here's who who is and what's going on. It's a really, really great little establishing thing and just a light hearted opportunity to I think celebrate.

Corina Waldie 3:30

Well, you know, like with all of these events, you can be as formal or as casual as you really want. Right? So, you know, my husband and I or Jon and I, we had a, we did have an engagement party, my mom threw it, it was at my childhood home. But it was really casual, like, she made a dinner. You know, that was that. It was rather small. We just basically was like wedding party and then, you know, our pastor and our immediate families. So that was our particular circumstance, but you could have literally another whole party, and then the whole formal party and all with all the things if you really wanted to.

Sydney Spidell 4:04

I love to think about it kind of like Downton Abbey and you know, when any of the daughters got engaged, then they'd all bring or, you know, bring the whole whole town into it because they were the the lording family over that area. So they meant a lot to the whole town. So you can kind of think about it in, in those kinds of ways to be like, Alright, who's the group that would benefit from this news and wants to sort of celebrate this news with you and you can play it, lots of close people, or you can play it sort of just general, it's really super customizable.

Corina Waldie 4:37

Yeah. Well, so I think, you know, one of the things we're gonna touch on throughout the entirety of this series, is that, you know, you don't have to follow rules. We're Rule Breakers anyway, you know, throw the wedding rulebook, shrink your guestlist - that's how we function. But you know, I think it's just an opportunity to really just have fun with people, at least for me in a more casual environment without all the stress and all the pressure that typically comes with it

Sydney Spidell 5:04

There really isn't any other agenda to it.

Corina Waldie 5:06

Yeah, exactly. Now I will touch on the fact that, you know, in terms of traditional etiquette, because, you know, this is a word - etiquette is definitely shifting in the wedding industry right now, there's a lot of conversations happening about what etiquette looks like for the wedding industry, both in the present and moving forward. However, ettiquettely speaking in terms of traditional, you know, you do bring gifts to an engagement party, something just to, you know, congratulations.

Sydney Spidell 5:30

Yes. And speaking, like in Western traditions, specifically, right, because engagement party, engagement parties exist in other forms and other cultures and maybe whatever. Like, traditionally it was a meeting to assign like, yes, okay, you're going to take my daughter, and therefore these lands, right. So if we, if we go back far enough, we're again, going back to a transfer of property rather than people. But specifically in like, Canadian, American, often that North American wedding tradition, that's kind of what you're talking about in terms of like what we see typically in an engagement party where there's that gifting expectation.

Corina Waldie 6:22

Absolutely. So now let's kind of move on a little bit talking about gifts. Yes, we have showers, right? Mostly, they're usually called bridal showers or wedding showers. You know, traditionally speaking, this is when usually a group of women get together, I can tell you, I have a huge extended family, I went to more showers, wedding showers and baby showers than I can count growing up.

Sydney Spidell 6:45

Like, why is it called a shower? It's because the idea is that you're showered with blessings or showered with gifts. So it really is all about the gifts for that one. Unlike the other things where you can kind of fudge it. No, no, this is about presents.

Corina Waldie 7:02

And traditionally speaking, a wedding (shower) was about setting up the household because this is primarily you know, it was before a time when couples didn't necessarily live together prior to getting married. Or, you know, maybe they had lived together if you're younger, but you know, you barely had like three plates. So you know, it was an opportunity to furnish your household. Yeah, you know, to receive home goods, cooking materials, dishes, China, linens - all these sorts of things that you really need to function.

Sydney Spidell 7:29

There's this next step of your life that you're entering because of the engagement going into the wedding. And what do you need to set you up for success in the next stage of life?

Corina Waldie 7:40

Absolutely. And then you know, we're going to eat and play stupid games. We can do that, too. I'm looking at the you know, where you take the bow and you stick it to the paper plate and make the hat or you know, or there's the bikini, have you ever done the bikini?

Sydney Spidell 7:53

With bows?

Corina Waldie 7:54

Yeah, we're taking all the bows off the presents.

Sydney Spidell 7:56

I've not seen the bikini. I seen like the the toilet paper, wedding dresses and stuff like that. And definitely the wedding bonnet. I don't know I kind of love that. I mean, as someone who doesn't adore a whole bunch of extra packaging and plastic and whatnot. I'm not a huge fan of bows and all that shit, but it is fun to try and craft a cute hat out of it. I gotta say it's an interesting challenge, when you're at that party, that's one of the roles I like take on taking on hat constructor, milner

Corina Waldie 8:26

Milner - milliner

Sydney Spidell 8:27

Okay, sometimes I just forget vowels. But yeah, so those showers and then the, again, sort of striding the line between just full on community celebration, and giving you something so that you can take this next step and make it a little bit easier comes that you know, beloved, Stag and Doe, Jack and Jill. What else are they called? Wedding Fundraiser is honestly just another name. So this is very common in Ontario and in Manitoba. And is seen across the country and is seen a little bit elsewhere in the world to particular pockets of the United States, probably just a whole bunch of Canadian expats in those areas. But the concept of this is to gather people together and not necessarily anybody who's going to be invited or even knows the couple too. But just people who want to buy a ticket to a big roaring party, spend some money and that is supposed to go towards the couple's wedding expenses so they don't go into debt planning their wedding. Now what does it say about Canadians that we have a whole event that is stemmed from like, well, you don't want to be in debt for years.

Corina Waldie 9:48

Yeah, so let's go raise some money by having a wicked party. And honestly, it depends on how you do it. You can make you know a few for event expenses. Honestly, you could make you know anything from a couple $1,000 All the way on up depends on you know the group and you know how much they want to spend. But you know, when I so I've planned to Jack and Jill and have attended a couple of Jack and Jill's I did not have one personally when I got married, but when we when I planned it for my brother when he got married a few years ago, what we did is we actually rented some games so like they have these things like jail cells, where basically like you would so if you and I are at the same party I might pay to put you in the jail cell Yeah, and then you have to like legit sit in the jail cell until somebody bails you out. Yep. So it's just it you know, I've also seen the penalty box version of this because we've got to be really Canadian.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, we love our hockey for sure.

Corina Waldie:

But you know, there's a cash bar there's usually draws maybe a 50/50.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, tons of raffles and draws it's like or a silent auction. Like usually you have that sort of more passive income generator in addition to then your games which will stir up the toonies and whatnot around the around the place to Yeah, so yeah, big on on offsetting costs, you can get donations often from businesses to go out there to see. I've done so many donations.

Corina Waldie:

Oh really?

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, having had a history. That is a common one. And even honestly, nonprofit to like for the summer camp I ran, we would do that - donate like a month of camp or sorry, a week of camp, to be auctioned off at a stag and doe. So yeah, tons of tons of ways to get stuff to give out there. And then that profit does go to wedding or honeymoon expenses. Now, we can get into whether those are like totally kosher or whatever, it it really depends on kind of the way that we're talking about the other stuff here, we'll get to sort of why you may want one and why you may not. But just keep in mind that is purely about raising money from people that you know, or may not know.

Corina Waldie:

Which actually honestly kind of shifts us on to the last sort of events that we kind of see because sometimes those terms are mixed up. Especially like stag and doe with Bachelor and Bachelorette.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, because in the in the UK, it's a stag night and a hen night. It's not bachelor and bachelorette. Yes. So often. Yeah, if you're especially if you're again, not Canadian, and so stag and doe wasn't really something that you've heard of before those can get kind of convoluted in there.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah. And we all know, you know, we're thinking about bachelor parties specifically, although a lot of there's a lot of these sort of Rites of Passage. Some people associate with it, you know, hiring the stripper, whether you know, it's a male stripper, female stripper

Sydney Spidell:

You can find all the tropes in the Hangover, like watch one movie, or one series of movies, and you're gonna, like get the whole story on what people expect bachelor parties to be.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, very much so. You know, we see a lot of people potentially do destination that's becoming increasingly common. Whether that's going to Vegas, whether that's going down for a few days at a resort somewhere, and being able to just hang out and party but kind of the general theme of it is this, like, last hurrah before you actually, you know, say your I do's you get to go and party one more time. Yeah, I don't think for any of us, you know, the joke is that you're pretending you're single. But let's be honest, you're not single. It's, I think,

Sydney Spidell:

meaning not married. You're, it's your last hurrah before you're officially legally tied to somebody and everything. I say then like boiling it down in the purpose of that. Generally, even if you have just a wedding party, you're not separating it out between your different marriers or whatever. This event is specifically meant to be held separately, whereas the other ones you can really combine. I mean, go ahead and combine this too. But you're again, I mean, call it whatever you want, then it's not really a traditional bachelor, bachelorette, whatever. You can seriously just call it a last hurrah or like group vacation, or whatever you want to call it. But traditionally, the point of this is like, okay, just go and enjoy yourself without your partner. Because you're engaging you're now stepping into this life of like, you are together, you are complete, you are one total package in the eyes of the law. So before that is official, just remember what it's like to be totally you, separate of anything they are. I personally feel like that's such an empowering thing. As long as you do it right you're not going out to pretend you're single and therefore go flirt with people and start things up. Although if you're me, you're probably gonna flirt with people because that's just how you exist. But, um, but you're going out there to celebrate love, but the love that you've developed on your own with no regard for who this person is. They are, they've made you something but it is you, you are the power, you are the winner in that moment. I think that's awesome.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, it's really a great opportunity to I think just to intentionally connect with your wedding party, you know, we're big on mixed gender parties, we're mixed. We're big on, you know, if you're having a wedding party, you have the people on your side that matter to you most. But just taking that opportunity to really go and you know, disconnect a little bit, especially with all the stress of wedding planning, you know,

Sydney Spidell:

you are still an individual like, Yeah, remember your individuality within all of it the same way that we talked about remembering the relationship? Within all the wedding planning, you also have to remember self.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly, yeah.

Sydney Spidell:

So then the big place where we start to go in for a little dance here, we should have made the mouse a little closer to you. Where we structure then and when we structure our mindset of okay, is this something that I want to include in my wedding? Is this something I even need? Is this something that I totally need to change? The purpose of, so it reflects better? What actually works for me? I think probably the very first thing to consider is where are you at in your life, like, what's your demographic, and what is the demographic of the people that would be coming to these events?

Corina Waldie:

Yes very much so.

Sydney Spidell:

If you are somebody who's older, and has more disposable income, that is going to change maybe the level of requests that you're going to make on any sort of gift registry and stuff, it might change your need to have a gift registry at all. Maybe you're going to take out the shower, maybe you're going to not do a stag and doe because there's no need for you to raise gifts or presents

Corina Waldie:

Very much so.

Sydney Spidell:

Awesome gifts or presents

Corina Waldie:

Well, especially if you have a lot of disposable income, and you've already established your household. Or if you're coming into a second relationship, or you know, where you're getting married for a second time. And you've already have all the household establishments from a previous, your previous relationship, right? You've already combined households with that person. So all of this, like the shower, and the gifting and all this other sorts of things probably might not be necessary for you. I will add a caveat a little however, though. Sometimes it's nice if depending on the age of your things to do potentially still have maybe something small, just to replace some things because things do age.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah. You know, absolutely. I think I think yeah, if you have, again, if you're looking at that, okay, we've got everything that we need. That's, that's number one. Number two is Who are all these people coming? And do they have the ability to support us, because if maybe you are doing quite well, and you are very well established, and you don't need a whole lot, but it'd be nice to have some things. But all of the people in your community are not financially very stable, or don't really have the ability to contribute something, that's a pretty good indicator, just to skip that and provide that for yourself. Because again, it's asking the other people so we go back to this grander idea of community. All of these events are about including community and things. Who is your community? What can they handle? And how can you be respectful of them?

Corina Waldie:

And your community, really, let's just quickly define who your community is. So we're talking about your family, we're talking about your friends, we're talking potentially about any sort of religious institution, you're part of, you know, in the community that you might have within that we're talking about colleagues, and we're talking about, you know, maybe acquaintances, or people that you work with on a daily basis. These are all people who may at some point throughout your process, throw you a shower or throw you something, you know, just to

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, we're both Southern Ontario church going girls, so we've seen the showers.

Corina Waldie:


Sydney Spidell:

We've seen the stag and does, the jack and jills and often on the side of the showers thing, it can very much be like at your church, or multiple events at a church even, depending on how many groups within and how big your church community in. It could be that your work is throwing you one. It could your mom wants to throw one for her friends from bridge, beause they talk about you all the time so they all feel like they know you. Like there are all those communities and showers and that stag and doe are really like that perfect place for those people.

Corina Waldie:

Absolutely. And you know, I think that does raise a point though is if that's the sort of thing that you are having if you do have a community around you who does want to give you showers and I do think it's important to register somewhere, whether you know that's a Bed Bath and Beyond, whether that's a Hudson's Bay, whether that's even freakin Amazon, I don't care - but having that some kind of list and when you build that list, talking about you know, making sure you have things at various price points.Because you know, earlier on in my life when I was younger and you know, not as well established, I wanted to go to a shower, I wanted to give something but I didn't want to buy a $500 pot and pan set or $200 worth of linens. So you know if you are creating a registry, if you're going through that it's really important to make sure that you have various things at different price points for various people in various different economic situations.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, economic situations and also relationships to you right? Absolutely. Because if they're someone distant and they just kind of want to do this just to be nice, but they don't know you're too well and whatever then Like, give them that little bit of emotional distance by taking some of the price component out of it. Right? Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, like, hugely, it comes down to any of these events are totally expendable. Like, you don't need any of them. Yes. So permission to not do them granted, right? If you want to totally redefine that leading up to your wedding process and be like, Okay, it's kind of an engagement party. It's kind of a shower. It's kind of a Bachelorette. Except it's both of us with all of our friends. And we're all going to a cottage and we're opening up a cottage for the week, cabin for Albertans. We're opening up that space for a week, and it's kind of dropping, and people are just going to come hang out and celebrate, like, why not? There's nothing stopping you from doing that. Think about that purpose. How do you want to inform your community? How do you want to include your community? What does your community want to do to support you? How can you facilitate that? So it works for you and doesn't become a stress? Or doesn't just feel like it's totally off base from your wedding purpose?

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, very much. So. And I think, you know, we talk a lot about this just even within the scope of the wedding, too. You're really allowed to do what you want to do. Right? Yeah. And you know, I do will have one word of caution, though, especially bachelor parties, and bachelorette parties that are destination in nature. Because these are super, super common right now. So a couple things. One, you know, we have talked about economic situation of the people that are in your wedding party, but also kind of keeping that price of that event in mind with all of the other things that you're going to be adding to that like attire, and hair and makeup. We're gonna get into all of this in future episodes in this series. But it's making sure you're really conscientious that if you are going to be asking them to join you down south, that you're either a keeping that kind of in check with all the other expenses involved, or you're paying for it yourself,

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, build yourself a table, just kind of estimating the ranges of prices that everybody in your wedding party, or any of your attendants might be asked to spend or feel, or feel obligated to. Or even the slightest bit pressured, add them all up and just take a look at that big number because it's gonna be bigger than you think. Yep. And it might inspire you to adjust your expectations a little bit and potentially even spare some relationships. I thought you were gonna say when you talked about warning, I thought you're gonna say don't do your bachelorette the night before.

Corina Waldie:

Oh, I was gonna say that at some point. Yeah, I just kind of thought about it. And I was like, Okay, I'll come. Yeah, but yeah, please, from your wedding planner, please do not have a bachelor bachelorette party the night before your wedding and show up hungover. First off...

Sydney Spidell:

Let's draw attention to the hangover. Like you could get kidnapped. So that's a pretty great reason.

Corina Waldie:

You know, I think through the media, especially and even, you know, back in the day, when that really used to be Yeah, kind of way of things. You know, there's so many of the like, oh, yeah, groom showed up to the noon wedding. And he was barely standing up, because he got so wasted the night before.

Sydney Spidell:

And this is partly the expectation of that you're not spending the night before your wedding together. So you're going to be separated, because you can't see each other before it. Yep. And you shouldn't be you shouldn't be spending the night before together. So you're going to be separated by your people anyway, which means theoretically, you're going to be with your people. So you're probably going to celebrate, and it all just kind of devolves from there.

Corina Waldie:

I think, you know, whether you choose to spend your wedding night together or not, and we're going to talk about that, I think in some future episodes. But you know, I think it's just really important that no matter how you celebrate that night, whether you're together, whether you're separate, limit the alcohol, from your wedding planner, and from any other planners or people running your wedding. Also, you know, just think about the amount of investment you've put into this day. And you want to be able to enjoy it and you don't want to show up feeling, you know, the raging headache and you know, not able to enjoy things. Yeah, do your bachelor party a week before, a month before. Like, you really there's nothing saying that it has to be the night before your wedding? Nothing. Yeah, the very bare minimum, I believe the weekend before.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, like give it seriously, especially if you're, you know, above the age of 25.

Corina Waldie:

Apparently, I know.

Sydney Spidell:

Hey, Oh, not that. Hey, little fire in the studio. So perfect time for us to wrap up our episode here. So we hope today's conversation has shed some light on what all of those pre wedding events are, and maybe even give you permission to ditch some of them or, you know, maybe even all of them. Next week, we're talking about the events that happened In the days before and after your weddings, so your weddings I pluralized it because I was just worried about the potential fire here. The days before and after typically referred to as the wedding weekend, though we know you may not be getting married on the weekend. So if you can't wait until next week when we talk more about this, then you can find more details about us listen to other episodes of find our website unweddingmovement.com Or check us out follow the movement on TikTok, on Instagram @unweddingmovement. And until next week, cheers.

Sydney Spidell:

You can find us on the internet at unweddingmovement.com or on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest at Un-Wedding Movement. Our podcast episodes are released weekly and available wherever you like to stream.