Having an engagement party is not mandatory, but if you decide to indulge in yet another way to celebrate your engagement, here are some ideas and guidelines for engagement party planning.
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The engagement party is a mix of a celebration of the couple and a way for them to announce their engagement to all their family and friends. This is the first party the couple will have related to the wedding.
No. This is certainly not a mandatory party. These parties are better for longer engagements, couples whose weddings are at least a year away. If the engagement is going to be relatively short, six months or less, most people do not have a party. Between all the planning that needs to be done for the wedding, bachelor and bachelorette parties, a bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner, engagements that last less than 6 months are already a little rushed, so planning another party (including the added expense) is usually not done.
Unlike many other wedding events, there is no hard and fast rule or timetable with engagement parties. However, they are usually relatively quick after the proposal. This could be from a few weeks to a few months after the engagement has started.
Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for the engagement party, which is often held at their home. However, times have changed, and either set of parents could host, as could the bride and groom themselves or anyone else close to them. No matter who throws this party, this should be worked out before you get too far in the planning stages.
There are two schools of thought on this, so it is up to you to decide what works best for you and your situation. The first is that whoever is invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. That said, it is vital to have the final wedding invitation list done before an engagement party occurs. The party should be close to the actual engagement, so the bride and groom do not have much time to decide who is and is not going to be invited. This should be taken into consideration if still deciding whether or not to have a party.
The second school of thought is that the engagement party should be a scaled-down version of the final wedding list; it should only include nearby people and those closest to the bride and groom.
Traditionally, Most weddings are black tie events and very formal. Engagement parties can be either formal, like the upcoming wedding, or casual. If you decide to make the party more on the fun and casual side, you may want to send handmade invitations instead of ordering them. The invitation will help set the tone of the event.
If the invitation is handmade, with, say, a funny picture of the couple on the cover, the guests will be less inclined to believe it is strictly a black tie event. The invitation should specify whether or not it is a black tie and any special things that the partygoers need to be aware of.
Themed engagement parties can be a lot of fun. There is no reason why a theme cannot be used, even if it is not carried over into any other part of the wedding. However, a theme does not have to be used. Themes are more consistent with casual parties than black tie events. So, if you decide on a theme unless it fits in a formal setting, ensure the theme fits with the clothing and attire being worn. Either way, make sure the theme is made clear in the invitations.
Many couples decide to give out engagement party favors. This is an excellent way to thank your guests for celebrating your engagement. Party favors can be anything from kitchen tools (measuring spoons, pizza cutters), home accessories (coasters, koozies, bottle openers) to snack and sweets grab bags. The choice is really up to you.
The guests do not have to bring gifts, but it is possible. Since it is not traditionally required, the invitation should not mention gifts. It should have no mention of where the couple is registered. However, some guests will want to bring gifts, so even if the bride and groom do not have a full registry done yet, they should have a small one or two started, and the parents should know where so if guests can and inquire before the party they can pass on the information. It is also a good idea to have a wedding website or a social media page set up with links to your registries, this way, people can find these registries without having to call and text your parents.
Since the gifts will be an extra treat, not a central part of the party, any gifts received will be put aside until after the party ends. Once the party is over, they can be opened, and thank you notes should be sent.
Now that the big questions are out of the way, it is time to plan the party! Here are things you will need to do along the way!
Do you want to have a themed engagement party? These types of parties are popular because they can be a lot of fun. Here are a few ideas (or 42) to start your brainstorming process!