Congratulations are in order — your partner got down on one knee, and now you have a sparkling rock on your finger. That’s a good enough excuse to round up family and friends for a much-deserved celebration!
Most folks don’t have experience putting together huge events, and an engagement party serves as practice for the big day. It’s also a fun and relaxed occasion that gives the couple of the hour a breather from the time spent consumed by planning the wedding.
The question is, what important aspects should you have in mind when hosting one of these parties? Browse through the engagement party venues available to get you started.
Traditionally, the bride’s family members plan the engagement party. It’s not a set rule, and anyone close to the bride or groom can throw them a pre-wedding celebration. The couple and their parents typically come together to host the gathering.
Once it’s clear who is in charge of hosting, setting a date naturally comes next. Schedule the gathering a few weeks to a month after the proposal. Like with any other event that brings together a large party of people, you want to give everyone adequate notice.
It’s an even better idea to double the celebration by combining it with an upcoming holiday. For instance, if New Year’s Eve is around the corner, schedule the event on that particular day.
Guests who turn up to your engagement party will conclude that they are also invited to the big day. Working on a tentative wedding guest list isn’t a bad idea because it also helps you figure out who you want to attend your pre-wedding celebration.
The guest list for any event held before the grand ceremony should be limited to a small number. It’s one of the intimate celebrations that should focus on the couple as well as their families.
However, parents should meet way before the pre-wedding gathering, if they haven’t already. An engagement party isn’t the time to make such crucial introductions, and if anything, the groom and bride’s parents should become better acquainted as soon as the proposal happens.
Depending on your preferences, a pre-wedding gathering isn’t necessarily a black-tie event. That means that you don’t need to send out formal paper invitations. Creatively crafted e-vites or texts are fine, but you still need your guests to RSVP. If you are up to it, calls are equally effective and help you get instant feedback on whether or not someone can attend the event.
Gifts are optional but always welcome for engagement parties. Remember that the same group of people will likely also attend other pre-wedding gatherings like the bridal shower as well as the big day. They’ll have to dig into their pockets to get you something for all these separate occasions.
Again, no one ever turns down presents, and you want to leave it up to everyone’s personal judgment. If you have a gift registry in place, share it with the invited guests. However, the unwritten rule is that you shouldn’t explicitly ask for gifts on the invites but instead, you can include a link to the registry.
Again, it’s up to individual couples to decide what type of engagement party they’d like to have. Most lean towards fun and casual events because they want to save the best ideas for the grand ceremony.
The atmosphere you have in mind, and the number of invited guests, impact the location choice. A cocktail bar, restaurant, local park, or your backyard are all great options.
You should have the following considerations in mind to help you settle for the right engagement party venue:
Unless you plan the gathering months after the proposal, most likely preparations for the wedding won’t have started yet. That means that you want a non-restrictive and easy theme for the pre-wedding gathering. On the plus side, it will start giving you ideas for the big day.
Your event doesn’t need a theme, but if you choose one, make it something that reflects the couple’s shared interests. If you are both foodies, love to travel, or can’t get enough of movies; borrow inspiration from these shared traits and hobbies.
The story behind the engagement should weave itself into the party. Have a guest book that includes photos from the proposal or print photos of the couple on napkins.
Engagement parties don’t have to be grand or involve intricate planning. It’s still not a terrible idea to plan some activities for your guests.
Keep it simple and hire a videographer to record special messages for the couple from their guests. You can also have a photographer on board for the event, but just remember that you don’t want to overspend.
It’s a given that you’ll serve guests some food and drinks on the occasion. A cocktail, cookout, or barbecue are easier options but you can make it as fancy as you please. The specific time the event takes place also guides the menu choices.
Don’t get caught up with trying to plan a grand event for a pre-wedding gathering. Keep it simple and let it be an occasion that’s all about celebrating the great news. Don’t turn down offers from close friends or family to host the gathering, and simply focus on enjoying the event.