Engagement parties often get overlooked, with the main focus on planning for the big day. But an engagement party can be the ideal way to celebrate your decision to tie the knot, especially if your wedding is going to be a long way in the future.
The nice thing about engagement parties is that there is little formality around them. That means you have creative licence to choose which way to celebrate, before getting on with the rest of the things you need to do now that you’ve accepted the proposal!
Timing is Everything
Even though most engagements today are announced via phone, email or social media, engagement parties are still a lovely way to mark the occasion. And they’re most exciting when the news is still fresh – so don’t let too much time pass between the engagement announcement and the party.
Location, Location, Location!
If having all your guests together in the same room is what you want, you might need to hire a hall or private room. For a more relaxed atmosphere, a family member’s home or backyard (weather permitting, of course!) is a great choice.
Perhaps an informal gathering at your favourite bar or a bbq with friends and family will suit you better. Alternatively you may want to go formal and venues from country clubs to community halls and restaurants are all used to celebrate engagements. If you need your own engagement party decorations and party supplies, start shopping now and of course there are a ton of local wedding vendors to help.
Who Should Organize the Engagement Party?
Traditionally the engagement party is organised by bride’s parents, so discuss it with them early on to see if they’re going to be involved, and have your say in what you want!
Who Should be Invited?
Traditionalists will say those invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. But this isn’t always possible and depends on everyone’s individual circumstances, particularly if the wedding is going to be held far away. Do what feels right, and do your best to accommodate everyone who is important to you.
Engagement Party Attire
When you start to think about what you and your partner are going to wear, choose something that matches your party. For example, if it’s a summer bbq go for a summer dress, and the men could even wear shorts. Formal dress or suit and tie are not common for engagement parties these days, unless you’ve specifically opted for a formal occasion. If you have decided to go formal, don’t forget to let your guests know on the invite, so that they can do likewise.
During the Party
Greeting guests as they arrive may be formal, but ensures everyone who attends gets to speak to the engaged couple and their parents, which might not be possible once all the celebrations get under way.
Do promote mingling. This may be the first time the two sides of the family are coming together, so it’s a prime opportunity for them to meet and get to know each other.
Gifts are not a tradition at engagement parties, but some guests may bring them, so have a place ready to keep them all together. It’s also nice for the bride and groom to give the host or the people who have organised the event a gift to say thanks.
As a bride-to-be, don’t forget that this isn’t your wedding day, so don’t upstage the big event, even though you probably haven’t even started planning for it yet. Choose a venue and style that isn’t the same as what you’re thinking of for your big day.
The Engagement Party Timeline
During the party, it’s a good idea to have a schedule. It doesn’t need to be strict, but it’ll help make sure everything gets done that needs to be done! Traditionally, the father of the bride makes the first toast to officially announce the engagement. Other candidates for this job could be mother of the bride, or the groom’s parents. Then the bride and groom can toast the host or key organiser, and thank all their friends and family for attending.
Remember it’s a Party!
Many forget that this is an actual party, so you should consider having some music. A DJ, or a live band will be fun – or you could keep it simple and plug in your iPod! And after that, relax and enjoy your engagement party – this is a once-in-a-lifetime event after all!