Planning your engagement party is a big deal and it’s understandable that you want to get it right. The good news is it’s simple to do if you take it one step at a time. Here are the most important things you need to know to plan the perfect event, and make sure it’s one of the best pre-wedding parties ever!
To surprise or not to surprise…
When planning the party, don’t forget that there’s more than one way to go about it. You can outright tell everyone in the invitation itself that it’s an engagement party, or — and this can be a lot of fun — you can wait until the party itself to announce the engagement. If you decide to go with the surprise option, you’ll have to come up with a compelling cover story to explain why you’re hosting this event (make sure the reason you give for the party sounds important enough to motivate people to show up though).
Who to invite and where to have the engagement party
Who you invite depends largely on your budget and whether you’re planning an upscale, more elaborate party, or something more low-key and casual.
For example, most people like to keep the engagement party small and intimate, splurging on a fancy dinner out with only the bride and groom’s closest friends and family at an upscale restaurant. Others prefer an easy backyard BBQ — since these are less costly, the budget is less of a consideration when determining how many people to invite.
Everyone who’s invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. And obviously everyone who will be in the wedding party should be included in this event.
Engagement Party Etiquette 101
The last thing you want to do is cause offense to anyone due to a breach of etiquette. Here are some of the most important rules to keep in mind.
Traditionally, the bride’s family organizes this event. However, in modern times many people are okay with a more flexible arrangement, so go with the flow.
Ideally, both the bride and groom’s family culture and expectations should be considered during the planning process. If both families are expecting a black-tie affair, pushing for a picnic at the local park is probably not going to fly and may even embarrass them if their social circles expect something more formal. On the other hand, if both families are casual and easy-going, that same picnic idea might be just perfect. That being said, remember that whether they’re aiming for a formal or informal affair, the size of this gathering has traditionally been kept small compared to the guest list for the wedding itself.
Thank your guests for coming to celebrate with you by giving them each a party favour. It’s a thoughtful detail that’s often overlooked, but can make all the difference.
Lastly, don’t expect your guests to bring a gift for the bride and groom since that’s not customary for this kind of event. However, because some guests may wish to bring a gift anyway, it’s always a good idea for the bride and groom to start a gift registry prior to the party. Any gifts they do receive aren’t likely to be expensive, so they should focus on registering for items in a lower price range for now. As the wedding approaches, they can add pricier choices to their list.
Enjoy a memorable engagement party
Now that you’ve considered all of the most important aspects of planning a party to celebrate your engagement, you’re well on your way to a successful event. The planning process will be fun, and the party will be even better!