How to Plan an Engagement Party

How to plan an engagement party

Some of the best things in life are at their most enjoyable when they’re spontaneous and free-formed. However, engagement parties, for all their joy and significance, do tend to benefit from some structure, planning, and attention to detail. After all, you have a lot of options to weigh up, and there are no rights or wrongs.

If you’re looking forward to sharing your recent engagement with those you hold most dear, our engagement party planning checklist below will help you plan an engagement party to remember.

Engagement party checklist

Wondering where to begin with your engagement party preparations? Follow these simple steps in the lead-up to your special day to make sure your event is well in hand.

Pick a host

There are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing a host. The most traditional approach on how to host an engagement party is to allow the bride’s parents to host the first celebration. But, with such a broad spectrum of families these days, it’s entirely appropriate for whoever’s closest to the happy couple to take on the hosting role - and often jointly too.

If desired, you can even have more than one event hosted by different loved ones, with each gathering geared towards the different expectations of the couple’s relatives and friends. Whoever agrees to take on the hosting role should be aware that their hosting duties will usually extend to inviting guests, making toasts, and paying suppliers.

Choose a date for your engagement party

Typically, an engagement party occurs within three months of becoming engaged, but there's no reason to put undue pressure on yourself or others when choosing your date. After all, there are many calendars to bring into sync: your host, the venue, close friends and family who might need to travel, and of course, your own availability.

Finding and booking suitable suppliers may be time-consuming and somewhat stressful, so give yourselves time to sit back and enjoy the significance of your engagement.

Pick your venue

Whether it’s at your parents’ home, a restaurant, your favorite bar, or an art gallery, the venue you choose should reflect how formal you want your party to be. 

You certainly don’t want to upstage your actual wedding, so why not create an entirely different mood with your engagement party instead? Perhaps a more relaxed picnic in a family member’s backyard to complement a weekend destination wedding, or a more formal dinner at the restaurant you went to on your first date. The choice is yours.

Decide if it’s to be a formal or informal soiree

Part of the fun of planning an engagement party is having the freedom to tailor it to your own and your partner’s unique vision without the traditional expectations of a wedding. 

Some people choose formal events and dress codes, while others feel more at home opening up their backyard to friends and loved ones for a more informal afternoon soiree. The most important thing is that it’s catered to your wishes, so if someone else is hosting, make sure you’re all on the same page first to avoid surprises for both yourselves and your guests.

Create an engagement party guest list

Usually, whoever’s invited to celebrate your engagement is also invited to your wedding, so when creating your engagement party guest list, work backward by adding everyone you'd like to see on the big day. 

Communication is key if you’d like to manage your way around this engagement etiquette. Explain your wedding wishes to friends and family, and have more than one engagement party (an intimate celebration with family and a much more informal party to share with friends) to remove the pressure from your wedding list.

Whether or not to include children on the guestlist for both events is entirely up to you, but the most proactive way to avoid potential rumblings is to be consistent. Either invite everyone’s children or create an adult-only event.

Send out engagement party invites

While spreading the word exclusively via social media can seem time and cost-efficient, the fleeting, digital nature of this kind of correspondence seems to enable some people to be vague in their commitment to attending, let alone formally RSVPing. 

By all means, set up a social media page to keep people informed and updated, but be sure to also post each of your guests a handwritten invitation. These will not only serve as a more concrete, definite reminder, they’ll also add a charming sense of occasion that such an important event deserves. 

Tips on engagement party toasts

One of the most enduring ways to profess shared love and support is by raising champagne glasses at the end of a heartfelt speech.

At an engagement party, it’s often the hosts who stand first to share what’s in their heart, before inviting everyone else in attendance to join them in drinking to the happy couple.

Gifting the bride and groom with a set of crystal champagne flutes exclusively for them is a lovely and unexpected way to provide a physical remembrance of both the occasion and the words spoken during their celebration.


Engagement party table decor ideas

Dressing your key tables with strategically-positioned crystal vases, bowls, candlestick holders and other light-capturing decorations will not only spark admiring ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, they’ll also inspire lively conversation and set an effervescent tone for your special occasion. Explore our article on more crystal-inspired wedding table ideas that will make you swoon.


Engagement party gifts

While presents are not customary at engagement parties, it’s still not unexpected that some guests - especially close family - will arrive with a gift. If you’ll be hosting an elaborate engagement party and know you will be receiving gifts, you might want to consider organizing a gift registry beforehand. This will make the entire gifting process so much simpler for your guests.

Looking for more inspiration? Explore more ideas on engagement gift ideas

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