You’re engaged. Congratulations! Now it’s time to kick off your wedding festivities with an engagement party. But don’t stress, thankfully engagement parties involve far few etiquette rules than other wedding-related events, so enjoy it! Whether you’re considering a cocktail party, an informal backyard affair or something a little more formal, here are our top 6 engagement party planning tips.
#1 – Decide Who Is Hosting
Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the engagement party, but these days it’s entirely appropriate for anyone close to you (like siblings, your fiancé, your partner’s family, even you!) to host. Both sets of parents can also host together, or you may decide you want to throw more than one engagement party hosted by different people.
When it comes to planning an engagement party, parents may want to host a formal event just for family, and you and your partner may also decide to host something a little more casual for your close friends. Bear in mind that hosting duties usually involve sending invites, making toasts and paying for the whole affair, so whatever you decide, make sure everyone involved is aware of their responsibilities.
#2 – Pick An Appropriate Date
In terms of engagement party planning, there is no hard and fast rule for the timing of an engagement party. The length of your engagement can be anywhere from a few weeks, to six months or more into your wedding planning.
While an impromptu gathering with family soon after the proposal is a great opportunity to celebrate with some bubbles, it’s probably wise not to plan an all-holds-barred event immediately after it’s been announced. Delaying the event will give you time to decide on the size, style and location of not only your engagement party, but your wedding as well, and allow you to enjoy the moment while it lasts.
#3 – Formulate The Guest List
An important element of your engagement party checklist should be deciding on whom to invite. Probably the most critical factor here is to consider that any guest invited to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding as well.
Throwing a 100-person engagement party doesn’t really make sense if you’re only planning an intimate 50-person wedding. If you’re not sure yet who will attend the wedding, it’s worth keeping the event small and invite only family and friends that you know will be attending, to avoid any hurt feelings later on down the track.
#4 – Choose The Venue
One of the best things about engagement parties is that there are no real limitations when it comes to the style or the size of the celebration you’d like to have (except the budget of course!). However, just like your wedding venue, the location of your engagement party should mirror the formality of the event you are hosting.
For those after a more casual celebration, a local park or one of your parents’ homes can be a great low-key option. A cocktail party at your favourite bar is also a casual way of toasting your upcoming nuptials. Reserve your own space and you’ll guarantee the event is wonderfully intimate as well. For something a little more formal, consider a function room, hotel rooftop or a private dining room in your favourite restaurant (ours of course!) and decide on your menu.
In terms of engagement party ideas, anything from a party on the beach to a champagne-and-canapé affair in an art gallery goes! The event can be as formal or informal as you like, although if you do decide that you’d like to go down the formal route, remember that you don’t want to upstage your actual wedding. So keep it light and fun, not OTT!
#5 – Set The Scene
OK, so you’ve done all the prep, including choosing your venue … now for the fun stuff! When planning an engagement party, food is an important factor to consider particularly if there are a few drinks involved. If you’re planning an evening of cocktails, appetizers and finger food work well. Gathering in someone’s backyard? An afternoon of cooking your favourite fare can add an informal touch. And if you’re planning a more formal event, a buffet-style offering or a formal sit-down dinner will probably suit the style of celebration you are catering for.
To really set the scene for an unforgettable event, don’t forget about theme and décor. These can be as simple or as complicated as you like, dependent on the venue. When in doubt, keep it simple – fresh flowers for a daytime get together or candlelight for a night-time event can really up the ambience. The focus is on celebrating, so do whatever you need to do to enhance that vibe.
To create a lovely segue into your forthcoming nuptials, consider adding a few touches that will hint at your wedding theme. For example, seashells on the tables if you’re planning a beach wedding, or formal accents if the wedding will be a full-blown affair.
#6 – Send Out The Invites!
The type of invitations you send out will depend on the type of celebration you’re planning. And the good news is, there is no need to match these invites to the rest of your wedding stationery, so have some fun and choose something festive that you love!
If you’re throwing a casual affair, e-invites are a great solution and will give you lots of theme options. They are also easy to design – all you need is a laptop and a bit of creativity! Most people also have an email account these days, so it’s often a stress-free option of guaranteeing guests will actually receive your invite.
Formal events may call for a more formal paper invite, however again, don’t go overboard. Invites you can print yourself may suffice, allowing you to save funds for more important things – like the wedding! If you’ve already chosen a wedding invitation designer, ask them if they’ll give you a discount for designing both.
In terms of planning an engagement party, invites should be sent out at least a month in advance (at least six weeks ahead if guests are flying in from interstate or overseas). Make sure you stipulate an RSVP date, and if you encounter guests who have not responded, don’t be afraid to send a reminder. After all, who would want to miss YOUR engagement?
Need a stylish venue for your upcoming engagement party? Contact the experts at Moda Restaurant today!