Socials Manitoba: The Manitoba Social: It’s a Prairie thing!

The Manitoba Social: It’s a Prairie thing!

The Manitoba Social

What do you get if there’s Ukrainian-style rye bread (KUB) on the tables and a spread of kubasa  sausage with other cold cuts, and hot sauerkraut or pizza (optional), some pickles and cheese cubes, and maybe some Tim bits in the equation? Well, it’s most probably a buffet table that’s being set up as a late night snack for a social in Manitoba!  More often than not, it would be a pre-wedding party that is meant to raise money for an engaged couple to help cover their upcoming wedding expenses and to a lesser extent to pay for their honeymoon or a down payment on the house. 

The bridesmaids and groomsmen to be are very important party aides for this event. They can enlist DJs and friends in the know to help plan the event, sell tickets, seek donations, and contribute cash to get some creative theme baskets going.  These baskets then make for some awesome raffle prizes and silent auction items. The couple’s parents can assume responsibility for the door and grand prizes.  Dress can be informal, and theme parties like Star Wars or those that incorporate occasions, colors or seasons are not unusual anymore.

The bar is stocked with liquor, the silent auction table is all set up and the list of prizes these days is probably longer than Santa gets! The charming couple greets everyone at the door, friends and strangers alike.  The latter group does not get invited to the upcoming wedding. The wedding is reserved for close family members and friends.  That is why the social is open to everyone.

Door prizes are seemingly more expensive at these events, and the presence of cash cubes are growing in popularity too.  As long as all ticket sales, raffle draws, and door prizes meet the social occasion raffle licensing requirements of the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, you are good to goThe music at these socials varies with the tastes of the couple and family members. DJs will play everything from country to classic rock, or the World Latin charts right up to the top40s to keep the dance floor hopp’n after midnight.  

Wedding socials (Stag and doe parties) and zabavas (Evening Dances) are still the familiar forms of entertainment in the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Food choices may vary somewhat when that buffet table rolls out before midnight and may even be enhanced for more elaborate affairs. A live band and taped music is typically used at zabavas but a DJ tends to be more successful and cost efficient for socials.

All the same, these practices are quickly evolving to include any charitable event or fundraising social. So, a charity social can be held for someone who recently lost their home. Or, a fundraising event can help reduce the financial costs of someone’s life-threatening illness.

The meaning of a social has changed somewhat over the decades. It has expanded and grown to include charitable events and parties other than just a wedding social. What is more, the social is a colorful and relatively inexpensive form of entertainment when compared to club hopping which is why it probably retains much of its appeal. In the end, the return on investment may make it worthwhile to host one. Love it or hate it, it’s a Prairie thing. So, when is yours?


Written by: Ihor Cap, Web Author and Dad.

List of Scheduled Socials


Socials Manitoba Videos: Quick Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials