Although the good news that you are on the way to becoming Mr. and Mrs. has spread quickly that doesn’t mean an engagement should not be celebrated or even formally introduced with a party. Here are 10 steps to plan your pre-wedding soiree.
1. Decide Who Will Host
Traditionally it is the Bride’s parents who host the engagement party however; it is more common for the newly engaged couple to host it themselves. Want to host your own party? Go for it! You can also have more than one engagement party. Your parents may want to host a more formal party for family and you could host your own party for you and your friends. Hosting duties usually include sending the invites, making a toast and paying for the party, so whoever decides to take on the task should keep that in mind.
2. Set a date
Ideally, you will want to have your engagement party soon after you are engaged, while the excitement is still fresh and the serious wedding planning begins. Remember though, that you will want to have already completed your wedding budget and determined how many guests you are inviting to your wedding prior to this party. Once you have those tasks complete, get ready to pop the bubbly and toss the confetti!
3. Set a Budget
Detailed budgets aren’t just for the wedding plus this will give you a chance to practice number crunching as a couple. No matter the size of your celebration having a budget is still a good idea. Knowing your budget will give you a sense of what is realistic to spend, help narrow your venue ideas and the number of guests you can invite.
4. Choose a venue
Most venues work for an engagement party. A restaurant or home is a classic choice for an engagement party, but there’s no reason you have to limit yourself to those two options — and any spot from an art gallery to a wine bar is fair game.
5. Set The Guest List
When it comes to planning your engagement party, there are no rules, except this important one: Any guest invited to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding. This is why it is a great idea to create your wedding guest list prior to sending out engagement party invites. If you don’t have a sense of who will make the guest list yet just keep it small with only your closest friends and family to make sure you avoid any hurt feelings later on.
To invite your guests to your engagement party you can choose to go either informal (email or even a Facebook Group) or formal by hiring a stationer. Either way, your invites should match the formality of the event you are planning. Electronic invites with a summertime theme are great for a backyard BBQ, but for a sit-down dinner at a chic restaurant, you should consider a paper invite.
We all lead busy lives so don’t forget to send out the invites at least a month in advance so all of your favorite people are there to celebrate with you.
If you wish, choose a theme that reflects you as a couple or something that reflects your two families. No need to go overboard, though—the point is to celebrate your engagement. Even just a few small arrangements from your local florist can perk up any space (and it’s a great way to try out a potential florist for the wedding). Even if you want to keep the engagement party low-key, a theme and coordinating color palette are an easy way to tie things together.
8. Food and Drinks
You don’t have to have a formal sit-down dinner (unless you want to of course!) but there should at least be something for your guests to munch and sip on as they mingle. If you’re not serving a dinner you should have your party in between typical meals and make it clear to guests so they know what to expect. For example, your invitation could read something like, “Join us in celebrating Pippa and Max’s engagement with desserts and drinks.” I love the idea of passed appetizers or you could even hire a food truck where guests can mingle and help themselves.
9. Strategy for Gifts
Gifts are certainly not required for an engagement party but there is always the chance that guests will bring you a gift to mark the occasion. On the day of your engagement party, you should have a strategy in place for guests who decide to bring gifts. You will want to find a secure and discrete location so that guests who didn’t bring a gift aren’t uncomfortable.
10. Prepare To Dress The Part
Your first outfit as a newly engaged couple deserves a special outfit but make sure to not outshine yourself before your wedding day. Try and choose a simpler outfit but one that will make you stand out. You may even want to wear white, cream, or ivory as a nod to your upcoming nuptials. There are no rules here except wear an outfit that makes you feel gorgeous.
Are you planning an engagement party? Do you have any tips to add to our list? I’d love to hear from you!
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