Congratulations on your engagement. Follow these steps for planning the perfect celebration.
There is a bit of etiquette surrounding engagement parties. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the first engagement party. If not, duties would fall to the groom’s parents. Nowadays, those rules don’t apply. Any friend can host. Just be sure you’re not stepping on any family toes.
Have the talk
If you’re throwing an engagement party, make sure you complete this step first. Talk with your engaged friends and their parents and make sure they’re not planning something.
A very important date
Whether it’s your engagement party, or one you’re hosting for a friend, coordinating your calendars with the VIP guests is essential.
Pick a spot
Engagement parties are most often held at home or at restaurants. You can still get creative. There’s no rule against hosting the party on the beach, on a boat, at a vineyard or anywhere else.
Dollars and sense
Come up with a budget and stick to it. Write down the elements of the party: the invitations, food, drinks, entertainment and decor; and come up with a realistic estimation. Keep in mind that some of the nicest engagement parties can be laid-back, at-home affairs.
The guest list
Keep in mind that everyone invited to the party should ultimately be invited to the wedding. Not sure what you want the wedding to be like yet? Then keep your engagement party small to avoid any hurt feelings in the future.
Please join us
The invitation should set the tone, but it can be as creative as you like. Don’t forget to proofread before sending.
Eat and drink
A pro can estimate how much food you need and come up with a menu that suits your theme. Consider asking the caterer about a package for your engagement party, rehearsal dinner and wedding. For at-home parties, consider serving only wine and beer. (And don’t forget to buy lots of ice!)
The father of the bride-to-be is generally the first to toast, followed by the groom and then whoever else wants to say a few words. Start your toasts about two-thirds of the way through the event.
How about someone playing that piano in your living room? Or consider a Mariachi band, lounge singer or steel band. Request tapes and compare costs before hiring.
Flowers and decor
Flowers are great additions to any party. You can create some simple centerpieces or hire a florist.
Despite what people think, gift giving is not mandatory and you should not be offended if people don’t bring something. It’s never appropriate to include gift information with the invitation. Guests can ask friends about your registry.
The day of
Don’t stress! Whether it’s your own party or one you’re planning, keep your hosting duties under control by delegating and having a few friends help you set up. As the host, make introductions so people don’t feel left out and everyone has a good time.