First and foremost, congrats! If you’re considering having an engagement party, a sparkling sentiment was recently placed on your finger. While an engagement party certainly isn’t required, it’s another reason to celebrate and congregate with some of your favorite people. If you’re considering having an engagement party, here are some tips for pulling it off.
1. Select a Host
Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the party, but anything goes in 2019. Whether it’s a friend or a family member, the host should offer and be excited to do so. Typically the host puts money towards the party and handles the coordination. You can also have more than one host and a roster of friends and family to help out.
2. Set a date
An engagement party can occur anywhere from a few weeks to six months after the engagement. It’s whatever aligns with your schedule and works well for guests. Consider what works best for your schedule first, because you want to be able to enjoy it.
3. Decide on a Location
Do you want to celebrate in the city where you live, your hometown or somewhere in-between? It might work best to consider the location where more of your guests would show up. From there, consider if you want it to take place at the host’s house, a restaurant, a bar, an event space, outdoors, a country club, a rooftop, etc. The location depends on how casual or formal you want the party to be.
4. Create a Guest List
The guest list depends on how many people your space can host and how big or intimate you want it to be. It’s important to note that, typically, everyone on the list should also be at the wedding. The exception would be if you are having a very small wedding and have made this clear.
5. Style Invites
Sending invitations at least a month in advance is ideal. These invites can be much more casual than the save the dates or the wedding invitations. This is a great opportunity to send out e-vites.
6. Pick a Theme
This is the fun part! Remember, the theme of your engagement doesn’t have to relate to your wedding’s theme. Embrace what you love and what showcases your relationship, whether it is a casual BBQ or a formal dinner. For a more casual affair, consider appetizers. For a formal party, a sit-down meal. Think about whether you want it to be a brunch, lunch or dinner. Embrace the seasons: spring — go with an outdoor brunch or tea with plenty of blooming florals; summer — maybe tacos and margaritas under string lights; fall — try a campfire, cider and a Thanksgiving style meal; winter — use holiday festive attire, desserts and champagne.
7. Gifting Options
At an engagement party, you shouldn’t expect gifts. This is primarily a celebration; plenty of gifts will come in the future. But if a guest specifically asks, you can point them to your registry.
8. Gather a Planning Committee
It is wise to ask someone to settle the logistics of the event. While much of this will fall on the host, it’s not a bad idea to seek other friends and family members who might want to assist with setup, cleanup, photos, gift receiving, food, etc.
9. Activities on Deck
Engagement parties revolve around eating, drinking, meeting and greeting. Other engaging activities can include games for the couple, lawn games, photo slideshows, showing a video of the proposal, toasts and more.
10. Show Your Thanks
Whether you give a take-home gift or write a thank you card, you should thank your guests for attending. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but your guests should know that their presence was appreciated and that you are grateful for their love and support throughout each stage of the wedding process.