Lifestyle: How to Host an Engagement Party

closeup of beautiful wedding decorated on beach wedding setup

Throwing an engagement party is a great way to show a relative or close friend how much their happiness means to you. It’s also a great opportunity to get together with family and friends to celebrate a milestone event in your loved one’s life. Here are a few little tips and tricks you can follow to help keep the engagement party you’re hosting stress free, simple, and just plain fun.

Delegate Fearlessly

Of course, no matter how far in advance you start planning a party, there’s no escaping the fact that there is always lots of stress and rush involved. As you start to move on to the stages of venue selection and hiring a catering company, it’s important that you learn to delegate appropriately to help prevent some stress before it has a chance to start. So, if someone offers their home or some other services or favors, don’t hesitate to accept. It could end up saving you tons of time, stress, and money.

Figuring Out the Right Ingredients

One of the most important aspects of throwing an engagement party is figuring out what type of party is going to be best for the happy couple. However, there are some expectations and conventions that go along with engagement parties that you will want to know about as you try to figure out exactly how you want the party to look.

  • The people who attend the engagement party will most likely expect to be invited to the wedding, so don’t wait to throw together a guest list at the last minute without any forethought. Sit down with the bride and make a careful evaluation of the guest list. Make sure she has control of this aspect. If the couple is planning on having a destination wedding and they expect that a fair number of invitees won’t be able to attend, they should let guests know in advance. This will give them an appropriate amount of time to bring gifts and even treat the engagement party as a wedding celebration, if they feel so inclined.
  • While you obviously want the engagement celebration to be special, you don’t want to accidentally end up upstaging their actual wedding. A good way to approach this is to figure out in advance what sort of wedding celebration the couple would like, and either have the engagement party act as a precursor, or have the engagement party as something totally different from the wedding party. For example, if they plan to have a fancy, upscale, black tie wedding celebration, you could complement this theme with a cocktail party for the engagement party, or you can contrast it with a casual backyard BBQ party. Again, discussing this with the couple might be a good idea.
  • Figure out some things that will make their party stand out from the crowd of other engagement parties. Again, you don’t want to upstage their wedding, but you want the party to reflect their personalities and be really special. For example, you could surprise their friends and family with a flashy or silly event like a rented moonbounce or a fireworks show. You should hand out some fun engagement party favors for everyone to remember the night by. For example, order etched champagne bottles, shot glasses, or wine glasses, with the engagement party date and location inscribed.
  • Figure out the destination for the party that makes the most sense for the couple as well as their friends and family. If they live in California, but their family and many of their friends live in New York, it might make more sense for you to host the engagement party in a location where it’s easier for more guests to attend. Again, talking openly with the couple about this will decide where the party should be held. Chances are, they already have a general area in mind. And as the invite list for engagement parties is usually smaller than that of a wedding, you will probably mostly invite family and old friends, which may help you limit yourself to a smaller geographic range.
  • You will also need to consider how you envision the party happening. Do you want everyone in one place? If so, you should rent out a room at a restaurant or reserve a private event night at a bar. Or do you want a more casual celebration like a house party? Would it make sense to do something a bit wild, like take everyone for an air balloon ride? What best suits the couple’s interests? What is your budget like? These are all important factors to consider.
  • Consider suggesting two smaller parties if you need to. If you know that the bride’s elderly grandparents won’t be able to fly all the way to California for a party, but she really wanted some of her California friends to be able to attend, it might make sense to have two separate celebrations. You should, obviously, only be in charge of one though. Planning two different parties in completely different locations is just too much.

Throwing the perfect engagement party for someone you care about does take some planning and skill, but mostly it just requires time and energy. Remember to keep yourself from getting stressed and overwhelmed with party planning and ask for help when needed. After all, this is just one of many events in the months leading up to the wedding, and the couple is likely already very grateful to you for hosting a party for them.

More about Aprill

Aprill Coleman is an award-winning beauty, lifestyle and wellness blogger and freelance writer based in Jackson, Mississippi.

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