How To Plan An Engagement Party

If the big question has just been popped and you’re wondering how to plan an engagement party, we’ve got you covered! Engagement parties are a perfect way to celebrate your love, introduce your friends and family to each other and share your happiness with those closest to you.

Although planning an engagement party can be a lot of fun, it can also be stressful. There are so many things to consider, from the guest list to the venue and even how much you should spend. Above all, it needs to represent you as a couple, your style, your vision, and maybe even give your family and friends a little insight into what the big day will be like!

Here are some tips on how to plan an engagement party that will make it stress-free for you and still be memorable for everyone.

Pick a Host

The first step for how to plan an engagement party is to decide who will be hosting. It could be you and your partner, your respective parents, or even your maid of honor and bridesmaids. Anyone can host an engagement party for you! Depending on the size of your party, you might want to check out planners to give you a hand. In fact, if you’ve already picked a wedding planner, they might have extra events such as engagement parties, bridal showers, or rehearsal dinners as part of their package.

Pick a Date

Next, you’ll need to choose when you’ll be celebrating. Most couples will throw their party within the first few months of getting engaged. The excitement is still fresh but you’ve also had enough time to tell everyone. It also helps to have your engagement party before the wedding planning process really starts!

Choose a Location

The location you choose will depend on a few factors. One is the size of your guest list. If you’re having a small party then you could go for an intimate venue such as your home, or your favorite restaurant or rooftop. However, if you’re going to be hosting a big celebration, then consider a bar, large restaurant, a beach resort, or a private event space. Another key factor is the style of your event. Do you want it to be laid back and low-key? For example, a backyard party can be the perfect choice. Or are you looking for a more formal event, in which case a boutique hotel might be an option? If you want something extra quirky you can even choose a museum or art gallery!

how to plan an engagement party
Photography: Lorin Kelly | Planner: Level Events | Flowers: Evebloom Floral

Put Together a Guest List

Usually, engagement parties are smaller than weddings. Couples tend to invite only their bridal party, family, and closest friends. Not everyone will be able to attend, especially if they’re from out-of-town. If someone else is hosting make sure you let them know who you want to be there. You’ll need to send our invitations at least a month in advance and give guests time to RSVP. Your engagement party invites can be less formal than your wedding invitations so, you cab even go digital with an e-vite to save time and extra costs!

Decide on a Style

Another important step when thinking about how to plan an engagement party is your style. Start with your vision. Do you want to give your guests a taste of what’s to come, and a peek into your special day style? Or do you want to try something totally different? Perhaps you prefer a minimal approach just centered around being with your loved ones. Whatever style you choose, make sure that it represents both of you, and aligns with what your dream vision looks like.

Plan Your Decoration

After choosing what style you want to go for, it’s time to consider what details you want to include. The decoration for your party can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. Depending on your style, put together a list of vendors you’ll need to supply decoration. From flowers and lighting to unexpected elements. Keep it simple with some small floral arrangements, and a few accent pieces around your venue. If it’s a formal theme go for a show-stopping flower installation or backdrop. And if you’re hosting a garden party, embrace natural elements. You can never go wrong with fairy lights in this setting either.

engagement party decoration
Photography: Hannah Forsberg | Planning & Design: Simply Charming Socials | Balloons: Mom’s Kloset Balloons

Choose Your Menu

There’s no set rule for food and drinks at engagement parties. You can host a formal sit-down meal, or it could be a more casual affair with light snacks. But if there are drinks, then your guests will probably get peckish. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to plan ahead and make sure there’s something for everyone. If your party is a bar atmosphere then go for appetizers and crudités that guests can pick at as they chat. For a casual celebration, a buffet with homemade favorites is a great way to go. Or if you’re hosting your event at a restaurant, you can give your guests a selection of your favorite plates to share.

Decide on Activities and Entertainment

Typically, engagement parties don’t have a lot of entertainment. The aim is to mingle and talk about the excitement of the impending nuptials. But you’ll probably want some music to complement the evening. So, create a selection of your favorite songs to get everyone in a party mood! Make sure that there’s a mix of both upbeat and romantic songs. Also, you can include some activities for some light-hearted fun. For example, a couple’s quiz, a video of your story, or getting your guests to give advice for the happy couple.

Gifts or No Gifts?

It’s common for guests to want to buy the happy couple an engagement gift. So make sure to register ahead of the party. Include a range of prices for different budgets. However, some couples prefer not to receive gifts. But add a note to your invitation to let your guests know. Or you could ask guests to donate to an important charity or your honeymoon fund. You’ll also need to think about gifts for your guests. Favors are more common for weddings, but you still might want to give them a small detail to say thank you for being with you to celebrate.

engagement party tips
Photography: Gina Brandt

Assign Duties

It helps a lot to assign duties as you plan your engagement party and during the event. Even if you’re hosting a small gathering, an extra pair of hands is always appreciated! You’ll need help creating any DIY decor, setting up, collecting gifts, and more. If you don’t want to dip into your wedding budget too much, then consider asking talented family and friends to carry out any duties. For example, taking photos of the event. Or if you know a pro-baker ask them to prepare some homemade treats. But make sure you choose someone that definitely knows what they’re doing!

Choose What to Wear

Last but not least, when it comes to planning your engagement party it’s essential to plan what to wear. It’s your first moment to celebrate the upcoming nuptials so have fun with your outfit! Is there a dress you’ve been longing to wear? Or you could look at rentals. Make sure you match the formality of the event. If it’s casual then you don’t need to wear an evening gown! Some brides also choose to use this as an excuse to start with their white-themed wardrobe. If you don’t want to opt for all white, you can go for subtle white elements such as flowers or neutral tones.

Enjoy Yourself

Finally, and most importantly, make sure that you enjoy yourself! You’ll have your friends and family gathered together to celebrate you and your partner. So, capture memories, spend time with your loved ones, and relax. Everyone will be very excited for you so make the most of the moment and take it all in!

how to plan an engagement party
Photography: Breahna Crosslin

For more tips about wedding planning head over to WedBoard. You’ll find help and inspiration for every aspect of your special day, including The Perfect Wedding Day Timeline, A Guide to Mother Of The Bride Duties, and 12 Tips for a Perfect Intimate Destination Wedding.

Featured image: Grace Jayne

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