A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning the Perfect Engagement Party

Despite predating the wedding date, engagement parties are just as important. They’re a great way for two families to come together before the big day.

It can be difficult to know where to start with engagement parties, especially when you’re so focused on planning the actual wedding. Luckily, with 8 simple steps, you can organize an unforgettable engagement party for you and your loved ones.

Choose a Host

First thing’s first: who will host the party? Traditionally, the bride’s parents are the ones in charge of hosting, but just because it’s traditional, that doesn’t mean it has to be done this way. Many modern couples choose to host the party themselves or entrust that role to close friends or anyone else who feels up to the task.

Organize Your Guest List

The next thing you’ll want to do is organize the guest list and choose who will go to the engagement party. It’s important that you do this step early in the planning process because it will determine how you go about choosing the engagement party venue and the date.

How big you want the guest list to be is entirely up to you. While you decide, think about what your goal is for the party. For many, an engagement party is a way for everyone to celebrate the union in a casual setting. For others, the engagement party is a way to gather all the key players of the wedding (like the bridesmaids, priest, and the ushers) and let them get to know each other.

An important part of curating the guest list is deciding early on if any children or babies will be allowed. Some of your guests might not be able to attend unless they can bring their kids with them, so this is something you also need to take into account before you even think about the venue or the food.

Consider your budget and the availability of those on your guest list. Once you have an estimate on how many people who you want to invite, you can move on to the next step.

Pick a Date

The engagement party should be held soon after the proposal. There may be other events that will precede the wedding, such as the bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor party, and the rehearsal dinner, so you don’t want the engagement party to stack on top of these other events.

With the availability of your guests in mind, pick a date where the likelihood of many people making it is high. Some couples choose to mix their engagement party in with other big events, like New Year’s and Independence Day, so there’s a guarantee of many people making it since folks will gather for those events anyway.

If you’re having trouble rallying the guests together, you might want to consider inviting less people. The less guests there are, the less likely it is that the date of the engagement party will clash with people’s schedule.

Pick an Engagement Party Venue

Everything up to this point has been all about logistics, but now, the real excitement can begin: looking at engagement party venues! Engagement venues should match the tone of the engagement party. If you want something casual, a pub, brewery, or even your own home are great places for a party. For something a little fancier, a nice restaurant or even a hotel would work just fine. It all depends on how many people are invited and the vibe you’re going for.

You might want to check in with either your wedding planner or the hosts of the wedding venue. Many of them have discounts for couples who book both the wedding and the engagement party venue at the same time. Many of them have a ‘venues for engagement party’ section on their website, so you can browse locations to get some ideas before you talk to the event organizers.

Decide on the Menu

Depending on where the engagement party will be, you can either choose from the menu that the location provides or hire a separate catering company. If the party will be at a restaurant, talk to the location and see if they have any discounts or special menus for parties. It doesn’t have to be a full-course meal, but it should be enough so that all your guests have something to munch on.

Check in with your guests to see if any of them have any allergies or if they’re on special diets. If children will attend, make sure that the food items aren’t too extravagant since children can be picky eaters.

Find a Professional Photographer

You should be able to focus on spending time with your partner, family, and friends during the engagement party. Hiring a professional photographer that will capture the happy memories for you is a great way to enjoy the special event without fussing over pictures yourself.

Set Up Your Registry

Gift-giving at engagement parties is not mandatory, but if you want people to have an easier time knowing what to get you, you should set up your registry information before the party. Stick to low to mid-budget items for now. You can always add or remove items before the wedding day. You can include a link to your registry on the actual invitation itself.

Send the Invitations

You should send the invitations out about 2 to 4 weeks before the party to give everyone time to clear their schedules. Aside from the location, date, and time, the invitation should also mention the dress code and whether or not children can be taken.

Whether you want to go with physical invitations or digital ones depends on your budget. Physical invitations are a lot more expensive since you have to factor in the shipping costs. However, you might want to send a physical invitation to an elderly relative who may not be tech-savvy enough to know how to click on links or access their e-mail without assistance.

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