Engagement parties are a fun way to announce and celebrate your engagement, but not everyone knows how to plan one. There is an etiquette surrounding engagement parties that vary but here are some simple steps to keep in mind as you plan an engagement party.
Traditionally, the bride’s family throws the first engagement party but often the groom’s family likes to share in the festivities by co-hosting the affair or holding a second engagement party. Nowadays, any friend of the couple can offer to host the bash or even the couple themselves like to take the duty.
Pick the Date
Generally, the engagement party is held three to four months after the proposal. Whether it’s your engagement party, or one that you’re throwing for a friend, make sure to coordinate your calendars with the VIP guests ( parents, relatives, and close friends) so they all can make it.
Pick a Venue
Engagement parties are most often held at home or at restaurants, anywhere there is plenty of places for guests to sit and eat, and an area to store gifts. But you are welcomed to be creative, there’s no rule against hosting the party on the beach, on a boat, at a vineyard, or anywhere else. Just keep in mind the number of people you’ll be having and the kind of mood you’d like to set.
Consider all of the elements of the party: the invitations, the food, the drinks, the entertainment, and the decor; and come up with a budget. Keep in mind that some of the nicest engagement parties can be laid-back at home affairs.
Compile a Guest List
Keep in mind that everyone invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding ceremony and reception as well. If you are not sure how large you want the wedding to be? Then it would be a good idea to keep your engagement party relatively small to avoid any complications in the future.
Plan a Menu
Whether your party will be held at a restaurant or a private home, you should be mindful of any allergies or food specifications of your guests. If you’re having an at-home party, consider making it a potluck and inviting each guest to bring a dish. If you decide to hold the party at a restaurant, they can estimate exactly how much you need based on your guest list and come up with a creative menu that suits your party’s theme. As for drinks, when it comes to at-home parties, consider buying drinks in bulk at discount.
Entertainment and games
Entertainment can set the mood at an engagement party. You can consider having live music such as a pianist or a band or you can make your own soundtrack for the engagement, whatever works best with your theme. Call different musicians to request their tapes and compare costs before hiring one. Also, consider fun, simple games that involves everyone. This helps to get your families and friends acquainted.
It may be a surprise but gift giving is not mandatory at an engagement party. If you’ve already set up your wedding registry, remember that it’s still never appropriate to include gift information with the invitation. Guests can ask your close family and friends about your registry if they’d like to bring a gift.
Decor and Centerpieces
Choose a theme that reflects the couple or something that reflects the two families. No need to go overboard, though—the point is to celebrate your engagement. Flowers are great additions to any party and you can create some simple centerpieces or hire a florist to do some for you. Keep things elegant and don’t go overboard with party shop supplies.
The Day Of
Don’t stress over the last minute details! Whether it’s your own engagement party or one you’re planning for a close friend, keep your hosting duties under control by delegating simple tasks and involve the members of the wedding party ahead of time to help you set up.
Need some theme ideas?
Brunch Engagement Party
Host the engagement party at the couple’s favorite brunch spot. Maybe it’s French restaurant where you can serve mini bottles of champagne, macaroons and quiche. Or go more rustic with homemade granola and blueberry pancakes. Match the theme of the engagement party with the theme of the restaurant!
Wine Tasting Engagement Party
Is the couple a pair of wine lovers? Have each guest bring a bottle of wine to share for the party. Have plenty of wine glasses on hand, along with food options for pairing. Have a spread of cheeses (fresh, aged, soft and hard) and baguettes. Hire a sommelier to guide the tasting, or rent out the back room of a local wine bar or winery for a private tasting session.
Craft Beer Tasting Engagement Party
The couple are not fans of wine? Instead, have a craft beer tasting engagement party. A twist to the original wine tasting party but with beer! You can even go the extra mile and rent out the back room of a brewery for a private tasting session.
Backyard BBQ Engagement Party
Looking to keep things casual? Nothing is better than a relaxed BBQ. Grill up some corn and let people unwind and have fun. Create a signature cocktail, prepare some lemonade and chill those beers; all great ways to satisfy everyone’s tastes and compliment the burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken. You can even invite friends to bring their best BBQ sauce and host a contest!
Masquerade Engagement Party
For a more glamorous couple, throw a masquerade engagement party! You can pretty much host this party anywhere that fits your theme. The key to making this party more elegant than Halloween-inspired is narrowing your theme down to a particularly stylish era or fashion statement, from “Great Gatsby” to “Louis XIV Versailles.”
Carnival Engagement Party
This can be an easy and creative theme to work with! Tons of candy, pie pops, cracker jacks, ice cream such as dippin’ dots and much, much more! The list will never end! Have fun carnival games for the guests and if you want to go over the top, hire vendors that could make fresh popped popcorn, snow cones or even cotton candy for the guests!