Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Engagement Party
words by // Jamie Birdwell-Branson
The question has been popped, the ring has been sized, and now you’re ready to let loose with all your friends and family! One of the best ways to celebrate your upcoming nuptials is by throwing an epic engagement party.
Engagement parties are outside the realm of the Emily Post-type etiquette rules for weddings, which means this wedding event can be focused completely on the fun. But because there aren’t any set “rules” for this type of soiree, you’ll need to be diligent about the planning process.
Here’s everything you need to do to plan an engagement party that properly kicks off your betrothment.
Decide on a Date
Since this is a party that celebrates your recent engagement, you definitely don’t want to wait too long to throw it. There’s no set amount of time to throw an engagement party, but anything later than three months after the engagement is announced might fall a little too close to your actual wedding events.
Figure Out Who’s Hosting
In the traditional world of weddings, the bride’s family usually “hosts” (although this is rapidly changing in the era of couples paying for their own weddings), but with an engagement party, it’s not as clear-cut. So, who will the hosts of your engagement party be? The two of you? Your parents? Your significant other’s parents? Your sister? Your best friend? Determine who will be hosting so that you can properly coordinate on location, food, and invitations.
Draft a Guest List
Guest lists for engagement parties can be tricky. You don’t want to invite everyone who will be attending the wedding, but you don’t want to offend anyone either. A good rule of thumb is just to make it family and really close friends (i.e. your bridal party). Whatever you do, make sure that anyone who is invited to your engagement party is also invited to the wedding!
Choose a Venue
The venue will set the tone for the rest of the party. Are you going to for a kitschy tropical theme with laid-back appetizers or do you want your event to be an elegant seated dinner? The venue you choose will help you determine what to serve and what type of invitations to choose. Typically, an engagement party is a little more casual than the actual wedding and can be hosted at your favorite neighborhood bar, a quaint restaurant, or even a friend’s home.
Send Out Invitations
There’s no need to break out your calligraphy—just yet. Unless you really want to fancy it up at your engagement party, a simple printed invitation or even an e-vite is more than appropriate.
Plan the Menu
What will you serve your guests? Will your party include small bites? Or are you wanting a buffet or even a plated meal? If you’re envisioning a plated meal, be sure to include meal preferences or dietary restrictions on the invitations and ask for an RSVP by a certain date so that you can inform your caterer.
Decorate—but Don’t Go Overboard
An engagement party is a perfect opportunity to test out the wedding décor that you’ve been thinking about. Put together some bouquets of wedding flowers you are considering, candles for each table, and a few pictures of the two of you!