What better way to celebrate your engagement than with a party? Typically a casual gathering, an engagement party is a memorable way to share the good news with your close family and friends. Not only that but it’s an effective way to kickstart the wedding planning process. To help you plan an unforgettable get-together, here are step-by-step instructions on how to plan an engagement party.
Pick a Host
To plan an engagement party you need a host! Sometimes the groom himself will plan the celebration following a surprise proposal. Often a friend or family member will volunteer. This is typically the mother of the bride, however, more couples are choosing to plan their engagement parties. Your choice will likely depend on whether you want to be hands-on or off.
Set a date!
Meant to celebrate your engagement, the party should be hosted as soon after the proposal as possible. When selecting a date, give yourself enough time to prepare. But don’t take so long that people feel left in the dark. Just be sure to share the good news with the most important people to you first, such as your parents, grandparents, and close friends.
Create a Guest List
When selecting the people who you would like to invite, start by choosing people who will also be invited to the wedding. As an engagement party is more casual, it is usually limited to immediate family and close friends. You are welcome to invite people who live out of town, but don’t expect them to attend. Kids are also usually welcome, regardless of whether or not they will be allowed at the wedding.
Choose a Venue
You can’t have a party without first choosing a venue. For an engagement party, your options are endless. Most people will enjoy a small backyard party, whereas others will prefer a more formal venue. However, nothing that would require a black tie! Rather, a venue that offers full service, like a local brewery or restaurant.
Gifts or No Gifts?
Although gifts are not expected at an engagement party, some attendees are likely to bring them anyways. For this reason, we recommend you choose one of the two following options. First, you prepare a small gift registry that will be shared on the invitations. Keep the items low-budget! Second, specify that you are not accepting gifts at this time. Just don’t leave it up to a guest to guess.
Send out Invitations
Formal invitations are not a requirement for an engagement party, but you are welcome to do as you like. If you do send invitations, do so three weeks to a month out from your chosen date. Alternatively, send a short e-mail with details about the event. If you’re hosting an especially small gathering, you can probably get away with a face-to-face invite.
Engagement parties are largely social events, but you’ll still want to offer some entertainment. First, compile a small music selection that can be played in the background. Even if it’s a playlist on Amazon. You might also offer a variety of games, whether board or yard games. If children will be in attendance, we also recommend a designated kids area and table with appropriate games.
Plan a Menu
If you’re hosting a casual engagement party, then it only makes sense that the food would match. Consider hosting a backyard barbeque or having the event catered with deli sandwiches and vegetable or fruit spreads. If you’re hosting a more formal event then you might choose to order food from one of your favorite local restaurants.
Decorating for your engagement party doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, most engagement parties are minimally decorated. At most, you might invest in some decent table cloths and a balloon or two. Most of your funds will be spent on food. Granted, if you want an over-the-top event, feel free! Just remember, whatever money you save on the engagement party can be spent on the wedding or honeymoon.
You’ve done all of the hard work to plan an engagement party and now it’s time to celebrate. Enjoy this time with your family and friends, and soak in all of the love. Utilize this time to see who is willing to help you throughout the wedding planning process, and to narrow down candidates for your wedding party. Above all else, commit these memories with your fiance to heart!