Christmas and New Years are over, and we know that means one thing…there were a lot of engagements happening over the holidays! If you’re one of the lucky ones who got engaged over the holiday break, congratulations! This is an exciting time for you, and you’re likely excited to start making your wedding plans.
One of the first events after you get engaged is usually an engagement party. If you’re hosting an engagement party for a couple soon, here are our tips for planning and hosting a great engagement party.
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Hostess with the mostess
The first step for engagement party planning is deciding on who will host it. Most of the time, a family member or close friend will volunteer to host the engagement party for the couple. If you volunteer for the job, be prepared to be open with the couple about what you have in mind for size, venue, budget, etc. Honesty is the key to keep expectations and realities in check when you offer to host.
It’s a date
Ask the couple to provide a few dates to you that work for them. It may be helpful to remind them that if there are special guests
Who to invite to an engagement party
Before you start to plan anything else, I suggest getting a rough guest list from the couple. This will help you decide how big
An engagement party is normally a more intimate affair. Encourage the couple to keep the guest list smaller and only invite close family and friends. Only people who invited to the wedding should be invited to the engagement party.
Once you select a date, the next most important decision is picking a venue. If you’re opting to host the engagement party at your home, this won’t play into other important factors like booking a location, renting linens, utensils, tables, etc. However, if you’re hosting a larger engagement party, be sure to check into venue availability first and foremost before you begin your other planning. This is important for several reasons:
- You want to make sure the venue is available for your chosen date
- You need to find out if you need to hire other services, such as a caterer, table and chair rentals, etc.
- You want to make sure your venue can accommodate the number of guests you’re inviting
Send customized invitations
Once the venue, date and guest list are sorted out, it’s time to start sending out invitations! We have several customized engagement party invitations that we can tailor to suit your needs. Since the guest list for engagement parties is usually smaller, we highly recommend sending out printed invitations for a personal touch; however, all of our invitations can also be attached or embedded in an email if you want to send them out electronically.
Hire the right people
Depending on the size of the engagement party and the location, you may or may not have to hire certain services for the event. If you need to book a caterer, secure this around the time that you book the venue. If you want to give the couple a lovely engagement gift, consider hiring a photographer to come to take photos during the party, even if it’s only for a portion of the event.
If you’re hosting the event at your home, sometimes it’s easier to hire a caterer to bring platters/food, rather than worrying about preparing and setting out all the food yourself. We also suggest hiring a bartender as well to help you enjoy the party.
Engagement party decorations
The lovely thing about engagement parties is that unlike other wedding-related celebrations, like bridal showers and bachelorette parties, you don’t have to necessarily worry about seleciting a theme. Choose elegant, gender-neutral colours and keep the decor simple – a few flowers to brighten up tables, signs in picture frames and photos of the couple are some simple, yet impactful, ideas.
Food and drink
The time of day and venue will impact your food and drink choices, but we suggest keeping things simple. If you’re hosting the event in your backyard, do a casual barbecue. Hosting the party in the afternoon? Do some small bites for guests to snack on without getting too full.
In terms of drinks, keep things simple as well. Some basic alcoholic spirits (wine, beer, vodka, rum) and some mix are really all you need. Have some champagne on hand to toast the couple.
For a cute touch, decide on a signature drink and name it after the couple (a la Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their drink, “When Harry Met Meghan”).
Make a little music
Make sure you put together a great soundtrack for background noise using a streaming service like Amazon music (you can try it out free for 30 days!), iTunes or Spotify. They all also offer their own playlists that are usually great, too, for any type of occasion.
Activities and things to do
Sometimes, it’s fun to do a fun little game or activity. Since the party will be introducing different sides of the family and friends to each other, it’s fun do a little ice-breaker game at the beginning so guests can get to know each other.
We also like the idea of keeping things light-hearted and focused on the couple, so a couple’s quiz game (sometimes called the newlywed or nearlywed game) is always a fun idea, too. Just make sure to print enough and have pens on hand for your guests!
Make way for presents
People will often bring cards and small gifts to an engagement party, so be prepared to have a small table or space set aside with a card basket and area for guests to put presents down.
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