The perfect engagement party can set the stage for a day you’ll never forget. From the ideal venue to the guest list, here are some tips to plan an inspired event!
When it comes to getting married, organization is key. It’s no easy task to manage all of the moving parts of a wedding! Fortunately, an engagement party can be a great way to throw caution to the wind for a low-key, pre-wedding mixer! Whether you’re waffling on the location or confused about which guests to invite, consider these things when planning your party.
What is an Engagement Party?
The engagement party is a festive event to celebrate a couple’s decision to get married soon. Traditionally, the bride’s parents throw the party to announce the wedding. Nowadays there are also less formal events and so other relatives, friends or soon-to-be bridesmaids and best men organize such a party for the bride and groom. This allows the couple to keep the real reason for the gathering a secret until they announce their good news themselves. This is a sweet idea if you want to surprise your parents, for example.
Do You Even Need an Engagement Party?
From baby showers to birthday celebrations, it sometimes seems like life is one big party! But what better way to enjoy your wedding season than to celebrate with an engagement party? The bride’s friends and family generally host the event, but there’s no set-in-stone etiquette for this get-together.
Just don’t plan it too close to all the other wedding-related hoopla! Ideally, you should plan your party within a couple of months of the engagement. After all, you’ll probably want to show off the sparkler on your engagement ring sooner rather than later!
Engagement Party Guest List: Who’s In? Who’s Out?
Whether you have a small family engagement party or a large group party, the guest list can help you decide on your party’s style. In keeping with etiquette, do not invite someone to the engagement party who you would not invite to the wedding. Exceptions to this rule: if you have a small destination wedding, where only a few people will witness your nuptials, you may want to have a larger engagement celebration. That way you can include family friends who might not be making the trek to your destination.
Without a doubt, the families of the bride and groom are first on the list, even if they’re traveling long distances for the wedding. Ditto for all the bridesmaids and groomsmen in the bridal party. They probably won’t come if they’re far away, but it’s always nice to include them.
Once that’s squared away, add friends, wedding guests, and whomever else you want to celebrate with! Fortunately, the event is usually informal, so you can save money on invites by choosing an evite or sticking to social media.
What’s Your Engagement Party Style?
Given the usually casual nature of an engagement party, there’s really no right or wrong when choosing your style. It’s just important that the event complements and doesn’t contrast the spirit of your wedding. If you’re inviting a lot of guests, you may want to choose a backyard barbecue at your parents’ house or local park.
Or, if money is no object, you might prefer a more elegant event in a private dining room at the Cavalier Hotel, or a favorite restaurant.
Consider the Costs of an Engagement Party!
From the photo shoot to the engagement ring, getting married is expensive! So do your best to minimize costs at the engagement party. A restaurant gathering may not be expensive if you stick with a smaller crowd, but food can cost a bundle.
On the flip side, a casual event, such as a backyard bash means the venue’s free, but table rentals may cost a pretty penny! Of course, a low-key engagement party may also help you save on food. Stick with simple snacks and treats, and your guests will be thrilled!
décor at the party as a way to save money, but certain small touches, such as beautiful flower arrangements, can make a big difference. Trader Joe’s and Costco both have fantastic floral selections that don’t cost a fortune. Or, you can go with a professional like The Wandering Petal, to provide flower arrangements that fit your budget. Even a simple arrangement can go a long way in making your party feel extra special!
Dress to Impress at Your Own Engagement Party
What should you wear? It all depends on the venue. A backyard barbecue may not require formal attire, but an outfit that corresponds with your significant other is a nice touch. (Don’t go too overboard here! Matchy-matchy might look a little over the top! ) Think about what might look good in photos together- so if you’re wearing a pink floral pattern, he might not want to wear an orange and green plaid sports coat.
If you choose a formal setting, however, have fun in a show-stopping gown or dapper suit! Wear a great piece of statement jewelry, or maybe a family heirloom would be a nice touch. Don’t neglect hair and makeup, either! Stop by a salon like Escape Blowdry Bar for a simple blowout or an elegant hairdo.
While the bride will always be the most radiant guest, be sure to stick to the dress code on your invitation. So you don’t upstage your guests! You don’t have to neglect gorgeous hair and makeup, but if your party is casual, you’ll look awkward in your ridiculously cute cocktail dress. Save that one for the rehearsal dinner!
Let’s Get This Party Started!
Who doesn’t love the rush of getting married! And, what better way to celebrate than with a fun, inspired engagement party?
Choose an informal venue or swanky restaurant: the event’s vibe is entirely up to you. With a few simple touches and the right guest list, your party will be the perfect way to kick off your wedding festivities.
Need extra help planning your engagement party? Talk it over with family and friends on FamilyApp!