Recently engaged and wondering the who, what, when, where, and how of planning an engagement party? Or, for that matter if you even need to have an engagement party? Listen, we’re not big on the whole “this is what you need to do!” train over here. But, really, you should have an engagement party. It’s the kick-off of so many things to come in the lead-up to your wedding day. So, we’re going to break down the ins and outs of planning a modern-day engagement party, for our couples who have their own unique brand of flavor!
When to hold your engagement party
Your engagement party should be planned within 4 weeks to 3 months of your engagement. Having your engagement party so soon after your engagement will allow you to actually enjoy being engaged. It’s important to celebrate your engagement while the joy of your news is still pulsing with the energy of excitement.
So often, couples skip over reveling in the next step of their relationship and jump feet first into wedding planning. Yes, it’s super exciting to get right down to the good stuff. But it’s equally important to celebrate the now!
Want to plan a “surprise we’re engaged!” party? We recommend planning it even sooner than the 4-week mark. Chances are you’ll be bursting at the seems to share the joyous news with your squad!
Why should you have an engagement party
Don’t be the aforementioned person that skips over enjoying their engagement and heads directly into wedding planning mode. Take some time to build up to the excitement of wedding planning and just enjoy being engaged! Remember when you were single and often wondered if you’d ever find your person? Here they are making big impactful waves in your life and pretty soon you’ll be merging families. That’s worthy of a celebration, isn’t it?
Here’s another reason why you should have an engagement party! It will allow you to introduce the members of your bridal party to each other in person. From there you’ll be able to open up the talk of wedding attire shopping and other pre-wedding celebrations & events to come!
Who plans your engagement party?
According to “traditional etiquette”, an engagement party is typically thrown by the parents of the bride. But, if you’re more of a modern-day couple with your own unique sense of style, then yes, you can totally plan your own engagement party. Especially if you have a specific vision in mind for how you’d like to celebrate this moment with your squad. Also, if you’re doing the whole “surprise, we’re engaged” thing, then yes, you and your brand new fiance will be planning it yourself.
Who needs to be invited to your engagement party?
Start with you and your partner’s parents. Inviting parents can be a bit tricky right? If you and your partner’s parents have not already met, it’ll be up to you to decide if you’d like to have a special “meet the parents” moment prior to your engagement party. Or does it make sense to your family dynamic to have them meet at your engagement party? Of course, this will totally depend on your unique situation. For example, if you have parents coming in from out of town to celebrate, will they have time for a separate get-together?
The next tier of invites should go out to your other close family members. Such as siblings, and any close aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Then, it’s time to round up your squad! Your closest inner circle of friends and lifelong besties. Don’t forget to include the friends that you’ll be asking to be your bridesmaids, bridesmen, flower dudes, groomsmen, groomsmaids, or bridesmen!
What should and should not be discussed at your engagement party
Ok, we’re going to be super direct with you here, but we assure you that it’s all out of love. Your wedding budget should not be discussed at your engagement party! If parents or other family members are financially contributing to your wedding, that discussion should happen in another place at another time. An intimate dinner with you, your partner, and those who are contributing would be a better way to go about it. As opposed to at your engagement party when other family members and friends are present and things could get really awkward, really fast!
The second matter up for discussion is to keep any potential wedding planning talk light and breezy! Know that from here on out any discussion you open, invites the opinions of those around you. And the only opinions that should be heavily weighed in any of your wedding planning decisions are those of you and your fiance and anyone who is financially contributing to the wedding.
However, it’s still equally important to decide ahead of time what discussions are considered open – Color palette? Choice of signature cocktails? What live band to hire? And what discussions will you consider closed? You know, the heavy topics! Such as who to invite, whether or not to have a religious ceremony, and whether or not your wedding day will be a vibey intimate affair under 100 guests, or you’re taking on the go big or go home mentality and inviting 250+!
Ok, now that we’ve checked off the don’ts on the list – let’s dive into the fun stuff! The must-do’s!
Your engagement party is a great time to “propose” to the people you’ll be asking to be in your bridal party. By proposing to them during your engagement party you’re adding an extra level of excitement for your guests to experience because they are now officially VIPs when it comes to your wedding!
Thinking about bringing your squad along when you go dress shopping? Or jumpsuit shopping, suit shopping, or blazer and sequin pants shopping? Whatever your vibe is, your engagement party will be the prime time to bring up the convo of wedding day attire shopping. Let your squad know a time frame for when you’d like to go so that they can pull out their cell phones and double-check their calendars.
Another great conversation to open is talk of pre-wedding day events. And, more importantly, who should be in attendance at these events. *Ahem* bridal party. The usual lineup of events is wedding showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinner. If you have a specific vision in mind for any of the events they will be planning, you’ll want to communicate that to them in advance!
What is the tone of your engagement party?
Your engagement party should speak to your unique personality as a couple. Look, we could pick out color palettes and napkin swatches with you all day. But is that going to excite you and your guests when it comes time to party and revel in all that joy that is your brand new engagement? Definitely not.
Start with the experience and vibe you want to create for yourself and your guests before deciding on a location and decor. Setting the tone before you go crazy with booking a venue is key to making it feel like you!
Want a beer koozies in hand while your squad tosses around a bean bag playing corn hole and the savory smell of grilled steak fills the air? Then host a backyard bbq engagement party!
Are you and your fiance foodies who enjoy pairing wine with exotic dishes for new flavor experiences? An intimate dinner in a private wine tasting room would be amazing for your engagement party!
Or, maybe your couple style is outdoorsy. Hiking on the weekend, riding bikes at sunrise, and running the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning? Then an engagement party on the beach with a few rounds of beach volleyball or frisbee might be your thing.
Do you and your new fiance pride yourself on being kids at heart? Then a whimsical bash might just be in order! Think, a balloon arch selfie station and an attendant spinning candy floss for your guests. This will allow everyone to relive their youth while celebrating your love story.
It will 100% be up to you to decide the tone that your engagement party will take on, start with the vibe, and then move on to your budget.