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Congratulations on your engagement! Among all of the excitement, social media engagement announcements, an onslaught of attention and the beginnings of wedding planning, friends and family are already starting to ask about your engagement party!
First, take a deep breath and soak in this moment. You’ll only be engaged for a short amount of time, and trust us on this one, it flies by in the blink of an eye.
Second, buckle up and get ready to start planning. With your friends and family anxious to join in on the celebration, an engagement party should be in the works! Here’s everything you need to know in order to throw, host, or delegate throwing a successful engagement party:
1. Decide on who will Host Your Engagement Party
It’s customary to have the bride’s parents throw the engagement party. However, in the past couple of years, you see more grooms and brides parent’s pairing up to host or even a friend jumping into foot the whole expense.
If no one is stepping up to the plate, this is the time to take a step back and evaluate if you want to host the engagement party yourselves. You’ll need to plan out a budget and stick to it because while you can plan an affordable wedding, it is still a large investment.
Photo Credit: Steve Steinhardt Photography
2. Save the Date (Again)
At this point, you’ve either chosen a date or have an idea of when your wedding will be. While that can be a stressful decision, we promise that setting the date for your engagement party won’t be nearly as stressful. The most important part is that you, your fiancé, and your host are in town that weekend. Keep in mind that it should be anywhere between 1 month – 6 months post engagement!
Photo Credit: Katie Parra Photography
3. Choose your Venue
Similar to choosing your wedding venue, this is where you have to decide if you want something more casual or formal. Will you be able to utilize your host’s house, local park or beach, or will you need to rent out a venue space?
Photo Credit: Patricia Lyons
4. Create a Guest List
Traditionally, anyone that you will invite will be invited to the wedding as well. It is an opportunity to celebrate with your closest family and friends in an intimate setting. Think of it as the calm before the storm.
Another option is to invite some of the people you know you won’t be able to invite to the actual wedding. Think family friends, neighbors, etc. This gives them an opportunity to celebrate with you, make them feel special and included, and take some of the pressure off of creating your final guest list for the wedding.
Photo Credit: Studio Atticus Photography
5. Pick a Theme
You know your location, your budget, and your guest list. Time to pick a theme! This is the fun part. You will use it to dictate the attire, menu, decor, and favors (if that’s something you decide to do). For example, if you want it to be a Hawaiian theme, you can have everyone wear their tropical best, make it a casual backyard barbecue and hand out leis, flower crowns, or even some creative island drinks.
Photo Credit: Matthew Land Studios
6. Send out Invites
With your guest list and theme finalized, sending out invites is next on your to-do list. In the effort of keeping your wedding and wedding planning budget friendly, use an online invite system such as Paperless Post. It’ll save you money and make it easy to keep everything in one place. If you do happen to have a wedding website already make sure to point guests in that direction.
Photo Credit: She-N-He Photography
7. Come up With an Engagement Party Gift Strategy
Gifts are not a requirement when it comes to engagement parties. While many people will want to shower you with them, don’t make it an expectation. The best way to handle your engagement party gift strategy is to send them to your wedding website that includes a registry that you have created. Don’t stress, it doesn’t have to be a complete registry, but at least give them a couple of options to choose if they decide that’s the route they want to take.
8. Give a Toast
As the host, a toast is customary. As the couple, it is a nice addition to have a quick thank you toast planned. Whichever one applies to you, make sure you prepare. While it may not be a formal party, you will want to ensure that you get the point across and thank all the people that you need to thank.
Photo Credit: O’Malley Photographers
9. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Much like the wedding, the last thing that you need to worry about is day-of logistics (unless you’re the host of course). Don’t be afraid to assign day-of duties and a timeline. Nothing has to be set in stone, but it will be a good guideline to make sure that the event goes off without a hitch!
Photo Credit: Natalie Franke
Last but not least, enjoy yourself! Your engagement will fly by in the blink of an eye and the best advice I ever received during wedding planning was to soak in every moment. Very few times in your life you’ll have all of these people in one room. Take pictures, make the rounds, laugh, and check in with your fiancé to make sure he or she is doing the same!
Photo Credit: Becka Pillmore
How did your engagement party go? Was there anything that helped you in the planning process?