One of the first steps after getting engaged is celebrating with an engagement party! While it can seem overwhelming to be thrown into event planning so soon, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. These tips will walk you through the engagement party planning process.
Who Should Throw an Engagement Party?
Tradition is that the bride’s parents will host the engagement party. That being said, do what works best for you and your new fiancé. Either of the couple’s parents could host the celebration, a close friend could throw the party, or you can do it yourselves!
Now, on to a few tips for throwing an engagement party.
Pick the Right Date
You generally should plan to host an engagement party within a few months of getting engaged. In general, if you are planning on a longer engagement, you don’t have to worry about being too prompt with the party. However, couples who are choosing a quicker engagement should throw an engagement party as soon as they can. That being said, you should keep the availability and location of the most important guests (besides yourselves) in mind. If either or both sets of parents live far away, you’ll want to give them ample time so that they can plan to travel for your engagement party.
Determine Your Budget
This is a good time to start sharpening your budgeting skills before the big celebration. Determine how much you (or whoever is hosting) are able and willing to spend. This will help you narrow down your choices in terms of venue, party size, and food and alcohol.
Craft Your Guest List
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your guest list is that everyone invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. If you aren’t quite sure how big your wedding will be, it is best to keep this celebration on the more intimate side to avoid an awkward situation! If someone else is throwing the engagement party for you, you should also work with them to see who they’d like to invite.
Choose the Venue
You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to an engagement party venue, since it can be as formal or as informal as you’d like. You could host it in a private home. Some other popular options are a private dining room at a restaurant, a bar or cocktail lounge, or a garden space.
Establish the Theme and Style
The theme for your engagement party doesn’t have to match your wedding, so have fun with creating an aesthetic or theme for your party. Your venue and the number of guests you invite will likely influence how the party will feel. You could have a backyard lunch BBQ party, a sit-down dinner at your favorite restaurant with your closest friends and family, a cocktail hour at a great bar, or something else entirely – anything goes!
Create Your Menu
You’ll likely want to have some food available, especially if there will be alcohol involved. If you are hosting at a restaurant, you’ll obviously work with the coordinator to establish a menu for the event. For other locations, determine if you’ll want appetizers for guests to enjoy, or even just desserts for a late-night celebration. Choose a menu style that works best for the formality of your party and the venue.
Send the Invitations
Your invitations should match the formality of the event so that guests have an idea of what to expect. Either printed or emailed invitations will do. In addition to the obvious details, be sure to include the dress code on the invite. You’ll also want to add whether you’ll be serving appetizers, a full meal, or desserts, so that guests can eat beforehand if necessary.
Gifts or No Gifts?
Some guests may want to bring a gift to congratulate you on your engagement, although it isn’t a given that they will. You could create your wedding registry prior to the party to give guests ideas – but don’t worry, you can add to it as the actual wedding date gets closer. If you’d prefer guests not bring gifts, you can write that on the invitation.
Do What Works Best for You
Keep in mind the fact that there are no strict rules you must follow when it comes to throwing an engagement party. Maybe you’ll just have drinks with local friends to celebrate the occasion, and then have a more formal engagement party (or two parties!) with your parents in your hometowns. Or, maybe you’ll opt out of hosting a full-blown party and just go out to dinner with your family. Do what works best for you logistically and style-wise, and just have fun celebrating!
If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you to connect with wedding vendors in Georgia and the Southeast. These impressive professionals of all talents will help bring your wedding vision to life!