Tips for Planning an Engagement Party
You just got engaged…now what? The perfect way to kick off the wedding festivities is by gathering loved ones together at an engagement party. This is certainly not a requirement, since many couples who plan to get married relatively quickly after their engagement opt out. However, an engagement party could be a great way to get the wedding celebrations started. This event could also allow your family and your partner’s family to get to know each other before the wedding day. This event typically takes place 6 months before the wedding, and a month or two after the proposal, when the engagement excitement is still fresh. Not sure where to start when planning yours? No need to fear, here are 7 tips for planning a successful engagement party!
1. Pick the Host(s) Early On
Traditionally, the bride’s family hosts the engagement party, meaning they would foot the bill for the event. However, these days, there is no such set tradition. The decision is up to you and your fiancée’s family to decide. The most common option is for couples to host the event with their parents and share financial responsibility. Whatever you choose, make this decision early, so you can start planning and avoid rushing and having tough last-minute conversations.
2. Choose a Relatively Simple Theme
When you’re considering a theme, keep the engagement party simple to avoid clashing with the theme of your actual wedding day. It’s likely that you don’t have your wedding theme totally ironed out yet. In the meantime, consider keeping this event simple. This could be something like a rustic, garden party, or modern classic theme. Although it doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top, this celebration should have some sort of organizing theme. This makes deciding on décor less confusing and gives you and your partner the chance to choose something that matches your interests and personality!
3. Start Planning 1-2 Months Before the Party
Planning should begin 1-2 months before the engagement party. At this point, you can begin these few initial steps with plenty of time left before the day:
- Choosing a date and time: Guests typically prefer to celebrate on weekend nights, so they can have fun without worrying about the responsibilities that the next day will bring. In terms of the length of the engagement party, couples typically choose a two to four-hour window. If you do not plan to serve a full meal, it’s best to choose a time frame in between typical mealtimes, such as 2-5 p.m.
- Setting a budget: This is essential to determine early on, since it will help you make later decisions like venue, guest list size, and menu options.
- Picking a venue: This setting will vary depending on your theme and budget. Some popular choices are a family home, a restaurant, or a hotel venue space.
- Sending out invitations: You should send out official invitations for this event and request RSVPs, so you can get an idea of who’s coming for set-up and food orders. This invite does not have to be as formal as the ones for your wedding and can be digital or on stationery. Either way, clarify on the invite if you will feed your guests a meal. If not, include something like “Join us for a toast of champagne to celebrate the newly engaged couple!” Finally, this day is for a select group of loved ones that you will also invite to your wedding. So, it’s a good idea to make a list for your wedding day first and make your engagement party guest list from there.
4. Assign Day-Of Duties
You could assign these duties to either someone that you hire or to a loved one that’s willing to take on some responsibility to help you and your spouse out. If you have a bigger budget, you might want to hire a professional photographer or coordinator. Alternatively, if this is a more modest day, maybe enlist either friends or family members to help set up, collect gifts, organize activities, and take photographs. It’s important to outsource these tasks because you will want to spend your time chatting with guests and celebrating yourself!
5. Have Background Music
It’s a good idea to also plan to have some background music at your event. Although you’ll want this to be at a low enough volume so you and your guests can hear each other, background music is a great way to avoid awkward silences and enhance the vibes of the room. For more formal additions, you could hire a pianist, harpist, or string quartet. For more of a personalized option, consider putting together a playlist with your fiancée of your favorite songs!
6. Plan “Activities”
Talking and chowing down will likely be the centerpieces of your engagement party, but you could also plan some other more organized activities. Some options include showing a video montage, announcing details about the wedding, or hosting games like trivia about your relationship or a guessing game around your wedding date. For a more traditional route, consider making a toast with your partner to thank your guests for coming and to express your excitement about the engagement.
7. Prepare Party Favors
Finally, you might want to prepare some personalized goodies that your guests can take home to commemorate the celebration. These favors could remind guests about wedding details and get them excited about the big upcoming day. Some ideas include engraved chocolates with the wedding date, save the date magnets, or photo coasters with a shot from your engagement shoot!
Now The Real Planning Begins with Knowles Hospitality!
Getting engaged is a big deal, so you will want to celebrate the right way at your engagement party! Keep in mind, though, that there is no specific way to celebrate, and these tips only give you a starting point to begin planning your individual event.
If you’re stumped when it comes to picking out a venue, check out the spaces offered by Knowles Hospitality such as Pleasantdale Chateau! With experience in the hospitality industry that spans six generations, Knowles could be the perfect professionals to help you toast the good news! Contact us today at (973) 731-5600 to learn more about hosting your engagement party with us.