The holidays are an exciting time of year! Friends, family, and engagements everywhere! With a majority of proposals happening around the holidays, there are many busy wedding helpers working to plan an engagement party to kick off the wedding celebrations. It is a season of celebration! From bachelor parties and hen nights, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, and of course the wedding reception itself. But all of these joyous occasions begin with one major event – the engagement party.
The engagement party marks the beginning of a couple’s life together and is the first step along the path to the wedding ceremony. It is a major gathering of the couples family and friends, and marks the formal announcement of their engagement. Like any wedding celebration, careful planning must be had with plenty of forethought. However, with a few helpful tips the engaged couple will find it easy and fun to plan their engagement celebration.
Setting the Date
The first step in planning any party is to select a date. The length of the engagement will have some impact on this decision. Generally, an engagement party is held within a month or two of the actual proposal. For all of the couples getting engaged during the holiday season, this is the perfect reason to throw a party and start the New Year off with a bang! However, if you are planning a long engagement the party could be held several months after the proposal.
Who will host?
Traditionally, the bride’s family hosts and pays for the engagement party, but with wedding traditions changing and evolving it isn’t unusual for both families to share the responsibility. It helps lesson the logistical and financial burdens, and gives each family a chance to get to know one another.
The Guest List
The first rule of thumb is to invite those that will ultimately be invited to the wedding itself. It is bad form to include a person in the wedding festivities leading up to the ceremony and not invite them to the reception. Start with family and friends, giving special attention to those who will be included in the wedding party and work from there.
The venue you select will very much depend on the size of the party being thrown. If you intend to invite more than 75 guests, you should really consider a professional event space. While the engagement party is one part of a series of celebrations, it should be treated with the same care and attention as any other wedding celebration. It may be tempting to hold the party in one of the couple’s childhood home, but that can be hard on the family and the guests. Professional event spaces give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the event without having to worry about the management of the party itself. And clean-up is a breeze! Walking out the door without having to life a finger makes it all the better.
The Party Menu
This is a celebration! Don’t forget about great beverage to go along with great food. Engagement parties are not as formal as a wedding reception. It is the perfect type of party to promote socializing and is a great way to incorporate hors d’oeuvres and stations so guests can enjoy, chat, and move around. Work closely with your caterer to develop a theme for the menu and remember to include a vegetarian option for those with dietary needs. As we said, don’t forget the cocktails. You’ll want to provide a wet bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Select an invitation that matches the mood and atmosphere of the engagement party. Invitations can be as formal or as informal as you please. Proper invitations are always a must. In the digital age it is tempting to use many of the online invitation services that are popping up, but you’ll be required to have the email of every attendee and live with the hope that the invitation doesn’t end up in their junk e-mail folder. Send out invitations at least one month in advance and include an RSVP so you can place your menu and beverage accordingly.
As we said, engagement parties are not as formal as wedding receptions. However, they still require a great deal of planning. Remember, this is an event to formally announce your intentions to wed, and you want the party to be a memorable occasion for the couple, as well as family and friends. Use these tips as a jumping off for your party plans, and you will be able to host an engagement celebration to remember.