How to Organise an Engagement Party
Whether you’re organizing your own engagement party or you’re organizing it for a close friend, be prepared for all the elements and details that come with planning such a party. Traditionally, the main event of an engagement party was the father of the bride announcing his daughter’s engagement, which was a surprise for many of the guests. Today with modern engagement parties the guests know of the engagement beforehand and everyone attending is eager to celebrate and congratulate the couple. An engagement party is a time to bring the families and friends of the bride and groom together and have introductions for those who haven’t met. It’s also an ideal time for the bridge and groom to announce the date of their wedding.
If it’s your first time planning an engagement party, don’t fret. Here are some guidelines to follow as you organize the party:
This conversation is inevitable but luckily the days where one side of the family paid for everything is over; now it’s a collaborative effort. Every situation is different but the bride and groom are usually the ones who host and pay for the event. If the parents decide to chip in and help it only benefits the happy couple and their joint bank account.
Find out when and where to have the party.
In terms of the timeframe, the engagement party should be within a few months of the proposal. For the engagement party to not hinder with the wedding planning, it should be a year to six months before the actual wedding. As for the venue, this would depend on the budget and how many people will be invited. A more formal party would entail reserving an events hall or a section/room in a restaurant. A more informal party can be held in a house or a daytime outdoor venue. The engagement party may require some of the guests to travel, so this should also be considered when choosing a venue.
Know who to invite.
The people invited to the engagement party are often invited to the wedding as well. To avoid issues with this, only invite people whom you would like to have at your wedding. However, there may be instances where some guests can only make it to the engagement party and not the wedding. If the parents of the bride or groom insist on having an engagement party that includes a large number of extended family, do your best to accommodate them by being aware of the increased cost and the capacity of the venue. An experienced event planner knows that it’s important to be flexible and expect things to change.
Carrier pigeons may not be available or within your budget so it’s best to keep the delivery and design simple and casual. Keep in mind that the invitations don’t need to be as flashy as your wedding invitations. However, be creative if you wish and pick a color palette or a beautiful design to spice up the look. If the engagement party has a theme then an invitation to match would be ideal and fun to create together as a couple. In the invitation, be clear about whom you are inviting and what is expected of guests (gifts, dress code, etc.).
Set the scene.
Remember: the engagement party shouldn’t rival the actual wedding! However, it’s important to make sure the event is memorable so take the time to consider your options. Setting the scene means creating an event that matches the personality of the bride and groom, to have a setting that’s fun and comfortable for all guests to enjoy themselves. Possibilities can include an outdoor barbeque, a garden party, a themed extravaganza in an event hall or a formal dinner with dancing. Whatever is decided make sure it’s a party to remember and a great lead up to the big day!
To gift or not to gift?
Typically the bride and groom don’t declare that gift giving is a requirement at the engagement party since its expected to occur on the day of the wedding. However, if a guest decides they want to bring something for the bride and groom, a low to middle price range should be enough. Generous guests are never turned away but hopefully the engagement party gift doesn’t outshine the one brought to the wedding! Toaster anyone?
To help you simplify everything you need to do to plan the engagement party, use this checklist as your handy guide:
Two months before the party
- Agree on who’s hosting or chipping in for the party.
- Set and reserve the date, venue and theme.
- Set the guest list.
- Get the gift registry settled (if applicable)
A month before the party
- Prepare the invitations. These often take some time, especially if they’re custom-made.
- Send out the invitations.
- Decide on your party décor
- Plan the menu (however, this is usually settled on if the venue also comes with its own catering service.)
- Prepare the activities for the party. If the party has a unique theme, make sure the theme-related materials are prepared or reserved beforehand.
A week before the party
- Make sure the attire the bride and groom will wear is complete such as any alterations.
- Purchase any additional needs for the party such as souvenirs, thank you cards, and other accessories.
- If you’d like to ask any close friends to help you out during the party (such as ushering, handing out souvenirs, etc.) make sure you tell them a week in advance.