Congratulations, you’re engaged! With all the excitement of the proposal and whether you’re having a long engagement or getting hitched quick, the best way to celebrate is by throwing an engagement party. Bring your friends and family together with these ten steps to plan the ultimate celebratory get together.
With celebration and excitement in the air, it can be too easy to overspend. No matter who hosts, traditionally it would have fallen to the bride’s parents, the day’s events will more than likely be bound by a budget. If you are planning on hosting and funding an engagement party yourself, do remember that you also have a wedding to save for too. You don’t want to go too big at the engagement party as this can result in you having to tone down the wedding ceremony due to lack of funds. Set yourself a realistic budget that’ll let you have the best engagement party that’s fit for purpose. A party that helps celebrate the beginning of your magical journey together.
2). Set the tone
Deciding on how formal you’d like the occasion to be will help you choose your venue, guest list and stick to your budget. Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a small family party with lots of delicious homemade food, a few casual activities, surrounded by your loved ones. Or, you may want to through a full-on engagement bash where formal dining and dancing are on the cards. However you wish to celebrate, make sure your guests know the general tone of the event. Mainly so they can be prepared, plan accommodation and find appropriate outfits.
3). Set a date
The date, guest list and venue will be influenced by each other. But, although you may have a rough idea of when you want to have your engagement party, with lots of people’s busy schedules to think about, it can be easier to find a venue first. If you’re having a long engagement that spans a couple of years you may want to keep up the momentum and throw a large engagement party. This will need extra time and planning. Planning a party is meant to be fun so do leave yourself enough time to enjoy it. By nailing down a date and a venue far in advance you’ll also give your guests enough time to plan their schedules.
4). Guest list
Just like you shouldn’t assume that everyone you invite will be able to attend, you shouldn’t feel that you have to include everyone you plan on inviting to the wedding. Who you invite is up to you and your partner and it can be a nice opportunity to get the immediate family and close friends together. To help you plan the venue, it can be a good idea to ask around, or send out some save the date cards ahead of time to get a general idea of how many people you should expect to attend. A party is a good excuse to reconnect with close friends and family and what a better excuse for some festivities than celebrating your engagement.
5). Find a venue
With the guest list underway, you can find an appropriate venue to match the formality of your engagement party. A venue that is too big will make your party feel empty with no atmosphere, but a venue that’s too small can be overcrowded and stuffy. If you’re keeping it low key at home, you can still make it a party by organising your furniture into zones. Remove anything you won’t use and set up areas for food, dancing, chatting and activities. It’s good to get the balance just right, so whether you’re going out for dinner or want to dance the night away, finding the right venue is key to the success of the party.
6). Are you going to serve food?
Nothing makes a crowd happier than a party with food, but what food you serve will depend on the formality of the party. A buffet is a good idea for a casual at home party or one where dancing is expected. A sit-down meal is ideal for something more sophisticated. Maybe you just want to stick to serving up dessert? Nothing says let’s celebrate like a spectacular engagement cake such as the sugary masterpieces from Anges de Sucre. Do make sure you get any allergies or dietary requirements in advance to help you prepare and stay on budget. On the invitations, it’s a good idea to mention if you’re going to serve food to let your guests know if they need to fill up before arriving.
7). Music and activities
Music at any party is important. It helps set the tone and even if you don’t expect people to dance, music in the background creates a nice atmosphere and covers any awkward silences. If you’re not going to have a DJ or a band, create a playlist of your favourite songs that represent you both as a couple. The next thing you may want consider is any activities or games to keep your guests occupied on the day. Keep this low key, such as sending a comment book around as no one will expect anything too outrageous.
8). The decorations
Let your creativity run wild; use bunting, signs, glitter and colour to decorate your venue. Decorations are a great way to add a sense of your personalities into the party. If you plan to have a theme such as an art deco, murder mystery dinner party or a Las Vegas casino theme, you can really let your imagination run wild. At the engagement party, it’s a nice idea to share the date of your wedding with your guests. A save the date magnet, for example, is a simple yet effective party favour for your family and friends to take home.
9). Bring the two families together
Formulating a plan to bring the two families together is often forgotten about at many engagement parties or it’s left up to the guests to mingle. You should remember that even though you may have previously met your partner’s families, it’s uncommon for the wider families to meet before the wedding. An engagement party is a great way for your friends and families to bond. You could organise a lighthearted team game to quiz both families about fond childhood memories or about how you two met. But, this doesn’t have to be too organised, or a party with a formal, activity-driven schedule. It can just something casual, like creating a seating plan or taking a group family photograph.
10). Relax and enjoy
On the day of your engagement party, it’s a good idea to get all the niggling jobs out the way in the morning. Wake up, grab a coffee, get actioning the tasks on your to-do list and then, once finished, enjoy a hearty brunch. It’s no doubt that family will be arriving and requiring both of your attention throughout the day so you don’t want to leave too much to the last minute. Give yourself enough time to get ready and put on that fresh engagement outfit and enjoy the excitement of your two families meeting and beginning your life together.