Engagement Party Planning Basics
Whether you are planning an engagement party or you yourself is recently engaged, there are always a few questions about the pre-wedding party. Long story short, an engagement party is exactly how it sounds: a party to celebrate the engaged couple and their upcoming wedding. It can be the official kick off to your wedding festivities. It can be the first of many chances to raise a glass to the soon to be newlyweds. Here are a few ins and outs about planning an engagement party.
WHEN TO HAVE IT
The engagement party typically happens within a few months of the proposal. Kind of right in the sweet spot between enjoying the new engaged life and the start of the wedding planning. You will want to give guests about one month’s notice (or longer depending on if you are inviting long-distance guests).
WHO SHOULD HOST IT
Traditionally, the bride's parents are expected to host the first official celebration, and then the groom's parents can throw their own party. It is totally acceptable to have more than one engagement party! But you do not have to choose the traditional route. Both sets of parents could come together to co host this celebration. Or the couple can throw one themselves or friends of the couple can do the honors. But, if the couple is doing the inviting, then it is their responsibility to foot the bill. Your friends might volunteer to host before you even ask. But if you are thinking of asking them to host, be conscious of the financials of hosting before doing so.
WHO SHOULD BE INVITED
Old-school rules says that everyone invited to the engagement party must be invited to the wedding. But nowadays, the formality of this event had evolved and more couples are living and/or getting married far from their friends and family. So because of that, engagement party guest lists have changed. In some cases, an engagement party can include people who will not be coming to the wedding. Or if your friends or parents friends want to host a party in your honor, let them invite mutual friends or business associates you might not have room for at the wedding. But, if you two or your parents are hosting, the old-school rule sticks.
WHAT TO DO
Unlike a bridal shower, an engagement party is not typically revolved around gifts (some guests might want to send or bring one). Which means you will probably not want to devote any time to opening gifts in front of anyone. Instead, this celebration is all about eating and drinking, catching up with old friends, and introducing your families and different friend groups to one another. A toast is not required but it is not uncommon for the host or one of the couple’s parents to say a few informal words. You could also play a few games like wedding bingo or a version of The Newlywed Game. If the party is outside, you could set up some lawn games or a DIY station to keep everyone entertained.
WHAT TO SERVE
There is no need to go all out and plan a five course meal with a four hour open bar. Anything from potlucks, appetizers, or a buffet style or cookout will work. You can get creative and serve up dishes that mean something to you. As for dessert, serve it if you would like but it does not have to be an expensive cake. You could do gourmet ice cream sandwiches or assorted baked goods or seasonal sweets.