Once the news of your engagement is out, everyone you love will want to congratulate you and celebrate the big news! An engagement party is a great way to celebrate you and your soon-to-be spouse and is also a great way to bring the two sides of your family together, especially if they haven’t had a chance to meet yet.
Your engagement party is the first of many events you’ll get to partake in to celebrate your upcoming marriage. For many couples, this is their first time planning a party, so we’ve put together some tips on how to plan an engagement party everyone will love!
Engagement Party Planning Basics
Similar to planning your wedding, there are a lot of details to consider when planning your engagement party. In many cases, this is like a practice run for the big day and gives you a taste of what wedding planning will be like! Here are some of the details you should consider during the planning process.
Determine Who Will Host
Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the engagement party, however together many couples choose to throw the party for themselves. In some cases, both sets of parents will contribute to the event and host jointly. The bottom line here is to forget about the rules and do what’s best for you and your fiance. Furthermore, if your families live far apart and can’t travel to a mutual location it may even make sense to have two parties so you can celebrate your engagement with both sides.
Prepare a Toast
One thing to keep in mind while planning your engagement party is that you and/or your fiance should give a brief speech or toast. Unlike your wedding where the best man or maid of honor will make the toasts, this is your turn to welcome your guests and thank them for celebrating with you. It doesn’t need to be long, just something to show your appreciation to your family and friends and how you’re looking forward to celebrating again at your upcoming wedding. If you have set a wedding date already this is a great time to let your guests know when that will be as well.
When to Have Your Engagement Party
Depending on the intended length of your engagement, you may choose to throw a party anywhere from a few weeks after the proposal to six months after. If you’re planning on having a small intimate, family-only gathering you can celebrate with a dinner at a restaurant. However, if you want to plan an all-out affair at a banquet hall, you may need a few months to plan out all of the details. Also, keep in mind that the more guests you plan to invite, the more lead time you need to give guests. If you are planning on having a larger affair, try to give guests at least 6 weeks’ notice.
Where to Have Your Engagement Party
Where you’ll have your engagement party depends largely on when you plan to hold it, and how many people you plan to invite. Engagement parties can range from a backyard barbeque to a dinner in a restaurant to a formal event at a reception venue. The location will also depend on how formal you want your party to be and how much work you want to do yourself. A backyard party will require you to either cook or have it catered and will leave much of the set-up and tear-down on you. However, a venue that offers in-house catering, beverage service, and valet parking will allow you to simply show up and enjoy your big night!
Planning a Menu
Planning a menu also largely depends on where you are holding your engagement party. If you are having it at a restaurant or venue that offers catering you’ll be able to choose items from their pre-determined menu. However, you will likely have the option to serve food buffet-style, family-style, or as a formal sit-down. For a DIY engagement party, the sky is the limit when it comes to your menu and can also be a part of your theme should you decide to incorporate one.
Who to Invite to Your Engagement Party
When it comes to your guest list there are a few ways to approach this task. You might choose to limit the invite list to family and close friends, or you may want to have a larger affair and invite everyone you plan to invite to your wedding. Or you might want to do something in the middle and include family and friends but no coworkers or acquaintances. Some people also choose to invite people to their engagement party they may not be able to invite to their wedding as a way of including everyone in the celebrations.
Give Your Guests Ample Notice
If you’re planning to have a small event you don’t need to give guests too much of a heads up, but if you’re planning to have a formal event or your party at a location you should send out invitations at least 6 weeks in advance to give guests a chance to add it to their calendar. Some couples choose to have their engagement party invitation to double as their engagement announcement killing two birds with one stone!
Engagement Party Theme Ideas
There’s no requirement that says an engagement party needs a theme, but many couples decide to have one to showcase their particular interests or just to have some fun. Maybe there’s a fandom you love, or you want to have a seasonal party that is themed to go along with the season that you’re celebrating in.