Great Engagement Party Ideas
He's proposed, and most likely you're flashing your new engagement ring. Now it's time to plan the celebration, but where do you start?
Here's our guide to planning the perfect engagement party, with plenty of engagement party ideas.
- Engagement Announcement
Traditionally, the groom asks the bride's father for her hand in marriage.
If you've decided to break with tradition, it's customary to announce your engagement to the bride and groom's parents first.
An engagement party is a delightful way to announce your engagement to close friends, colleagues and family, but if your exciting news can't wait, just tell everyone you wish!
Many couples like to announce the engagement in their local newspaper or community magazine. You can usually choose how you would like the announcement to appear.
Once upon a time, etiquette dictated that the announcement should be worded similarly to this:
Mr & Mrs Smith wish to announce the engagement of their daughter Susan Mary to John Edward Jones, son of Mr & Mrs Edward Jones...
Nowadays many of the formalities of the past have been discarded in favor of a less formal approach, so it's quite acceptable to announce your engagement as follows:
Susan Smith and John Jones are delighted to announce their engagement...
- Who hosts the party?
These days there are no set rules about who hosts the engagement party. Traditionally, it was the role of the bride's parents, but often the groom's parents like to be involved, or the bride and groom may wish to host their own celebration.
- What style of engagement party would you like?
An engagement party is the perfect setting for the families of the bride and groom to meet each other if they haven't already done so.
Social, regional and family traditions may be a factor in deciding what style of engagement party you choose, otherwise, the event can be as formal or as casual as you wish.
You can celebrate in style with a swanky black-tie cocktail party, or a formal sit-down dinner, or maybe a casual serve-yourself buffet is more your style.
Engagement parties are usually held at the home of the bride's parents, but this depends on who is hosting the party. Or you may choose an intimate dinner party at a restaurant or hotel. If you want to go casual, a beach or poolside party is a great alternative.
Many couples like to choose a theme for their engagement party. You can choose a 50s, 60s or 70s party, depending on the decade in which you were born, or an Hawaiian or Mexican party for something more exotic.
A great idea to get everyone into the swing of the party is to give each table a Discount Engagement Party Camera. That way you'll get an assortment of photos of your engagement party and guests at a discount price!
- Engagement Party Invitations
The guest list usually includes family members of the bride and groom and close friends, but the party can be as large or small as you like, and your budget allows.
The engagement party is an ideal opportunity to invite guests who may not be able to attend the wedding, either because of previous commitments or simply because you can't afford to invite everyone you would like!
Once you've decided on who you're going to invite, it's customary to send out invitations. We've found a great place to order beautiful engagement party invitations at eInvite.com.
If the party is being catered, don't forget to include a section on the invitation for a response so you can keep track of numbers.
It's also a good idea to let your guests know what standard of dress is appropriate.
- Engagement Gifts
The giving of engagement gifts often depends on social, geographical and ethic traditions. Etiquette suggests that engagement gifts should not be expected, but there are no hard and fast rules these days.
If you specifically don't want your guests to bring gifts, it's polite to mention it in the invitation.
Wait until after the celebrations are completed to open any gifts you receive, so you can catalogue them and send a thank-you note.
For some great gift ideas, visit our unique engagement gifts page.
- Engagement Party EntertainmentEntertainment always seems to enhance the mood at a party, although it's not a necessity. A quality sound system and some lively CDs are certainly enough to raise the spirits of party-goers.
If your budget allows, you can hire a pianist or a string quartet to provide pleasant background music. If you'd prefer something a little livelier, how about hiring a juke-box, a DJ or maybe you'd prefer a mariachi band. Or you could hire a karaoke machine and invite your guests to contribute to the entertainment!
Set aside an area for dancing, then start everyone off with a special dance for the newly engaged couple. It's a great way to prepare you for the wedding waltz.
Your choice of entertainment should match the tone and theme of the party, so make sure you choose the kind of entertainment that appeals to your tastes and makes you feel comfortable.
- What kind of food do you serve?
Your choice of food will depend once again on the tone and theme of your party, and the number of guests you've invited.
For a cocktail party, a selection of hors d'oeuvres and finger foods is appropriate. A sit-down dinner is a more complex operation, so if you intend inviting more than 10 guests to dinner, you may need to consider hiring caterers if you don't want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen. Hiring staff to serve food and drinks takes the pressure off you, but if that's not within your budget, ask family and friends to help out. It's a great way to meet and mingle.
For a more casual affair, choose a buffet, barbecue or a potluck where guests bring along a small plate of food.
Party shops stock a fabulous array of disposable cutlery and plates these days, and they'll save you time at the kitchen sink.
If you choose to hold your engagement party at a restaurant, club or hotel, you can plan the meal according to your tastes and budget. The catering manager can also help you select a menu that's within your price range and suits most people's tastes.
- Beer, wine, spirits or fruit punch?
Like the food, your choice of beverages will depend on the style of party you are planning.
Unless you're having a formal cocktail party and intend serving cocktails and mixed drinks, most people steer clear of spirits these days. They usually involve preparation, you need to provide a variety of different mixers, and they can work out to be very expensive.
A couple of good quality brands of beer, good quality wine (white and/or red - the choice is yours) and a range of mineral waters and soda generally satisfies most palates. A self-serve bar works well at an informal gathering, or if you prefer, you can hire professional staff to prepare and serve drinks.
And don't forget the champagne if you intend having toasts.
- Engagement Party Favors
Engagement party favors aren't necessary, but if you would like to present your guests with a small gift, something with the date of your wedding is a good idea. A decorative tag or sticker with your wedding date can be attached to a small candle, a gift box filled with chocolates and candy, or individual scented soaps.
For great engagement party favors, shop online at ShindigZ. They have a great range of personalized items and party favors.
ShindigZ are offering a special discount on all their merchandise until 30 September, so join in the fun!
- Engagement Party Decorations
Choosing a theme for your engagement party will make it a memorable occasion. Once you've selected a theme, you can decorate accordingly.
For a 50s, 60s or 70s retro look, decorate with lime green, purple, hot pink and yellow. If you'd like to go Hawaiian choose lots of bright greens, yellow and blue. For a Mexican theme, choose gold, purple and blue and have a pinata filled with candies for a bit of fun.
Balloons, streamers, party poppers, confetti, and candles are an inexpensive way to decorate with style.
For a romantic theme, choose pastel colors and use tulle or organza to drape the tables, chair backs, stair railings and ceiling. Scatter rose petals and sparkles on the tables and light the area with twinkling fairy lights.
Party shops have a fabulous array of party items and disposable plates and cutlery available these days, so let your imagination go wild and select items that match your theme.
For all your engagement party decorations and personalized accessories, shop online at ShindigZ. From invitations to personalized napkins, you're sure to find everything you need at ShindigZ.
There is no set formula or rules for hosting an engagement party, so just remember to make it a fun-filled and happy experience and enjoy yourselves!
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