Wedding Traditions Canada: Customs with Regional Flavour
In Canada, it is very common and a steadfast tradition to have a pre-marital party to honour the newly engaged couple and to raise money for their wedding, honeymoon or new house fund. Now, depending upon where you live, the term and rules differ considerably. In the province of Manitoba, it is known as a 'social', which is a public dance that attendees purchase entrance tickets. In rural Ontario, it is known as a buck and doe (essentially meaning mixed stag) and the same rules apply - you buy a ticket to attend the event and buy from a cash bar - with all proceeds going to the bride and groom.
In Newfoundland, an informal bridal shower might also be known as a kitchen party or racket, because it is an informal but warm community gathering of well-wishers, friends and family, held in a person's home and everyone gathers to celebrate the bride by playing music and telling fond childhood stories about the bride. Now, an evening event (such as a wedding reception) is referred to as a Soiree in Newfoundland and is generally classified as a large party with food, singing and dancing.
In Ontario and parts of Western Canada, the Jack and Jill Party is still very popular - this means that the bachelor and bachelorette party are combined into one. This negates the 'what did I do last night' day after blues and ensures that everyone has a good time together.
There is also a tradition, generally in Western Canada, known as a Presentation Wedding. If you receive a wedding invitation that says 'presentation only', it does not mean that you must prepare a presentation on your relationship to the bride and/or groom and share it with everyone at the wedding.
Presentation is a nice way of saying that the bride and groom would prefer money as wedding gifts, instead of household items and appliances. Generally, there is a wishing well or other box near the entrance to the reception where wedding guests deposit their presentation envelope.
Although wedding showers are popular across North America, only in the Canadian prairies will you find'dainties'. The word means a collection of small pastries, bite sized cakes, squares, cupcakes and tarts served specifically at special occasions and social gatherings. This is not to be confused with planning a bridal shower in Ontario, where guests may look at you in disbelief if you offer them dainties - which in Ontario means frilly underwear, lingerie and a woman's unmentionables.