Here at Ready To Ask, we’re firm believers that you should celebrate as much and as often as you can, and this is definitely true in the runup to your wedding. That’s why we’re big fans of engagement parties, even though there’s no requirement or pressure to have them. But, if you are thinking of having one, today we’re sharing our top engagement party tips, from how to plan them, to where to host them, to who to invite to celebrate alongside you!
Why might you want an engagement party?
This one’s a pretty simple question to answer – to celebrate, of course! Your nearest and dearest will be so excited for this new chapter for you, and an engagement party is the perfect way to celebrate the news.
Plus, if you’re planning a longer engagement and your wedding is a while away yet, it gives you something to enjoy sooner, rather than later.
Getting started with engagement party planning
Traditionally, it was the role of the bride’s parents to plan and host the engagement party, but nowadays anyone can host them – in fact, it’s most popular for couples themselves to do so.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to plan it all by yourself: engagement party planners do exist, and they’re there to help (some wedding planners even offer it as part of their services, and may include it as part of their full planning fee).
Whether you’re planning it yourself, or you’re looking to call in a professional, there’s lots of exciting things to get started with!
Firstly, engagement parties can be as formal or as informal as you like. You may want to celebrate your engagement by gathering your friends in your favourite bar and dancing the night away, or you might want something slightly more structured, more akin to a milestone birthday party or event.
You also might want to plan more than one, particularly if you’re both from different places: it might not be possible to get everyone to travel once for the engagement party and then again for the eventual wedding, so multiple engagement parties in different locations for different groups is quite common too.
Then it’s time to get into the more logistical side of things…
When to plan your engagement party
No matter how long you want your engagement itself to be, your engagement party should happen as close as possible to when you actually get engaged. This way, everyone’s still caught up in the fresh excitement, the whirlwind of the novelty of it: like when you raise your hand to your face to brush hair out of your eyes, for example, and then catch sight of your ring glinting in the sun, and you giggle and think “Oh yes, I have a fiance now!” Plus, planning your engagement party for the first couple of months after you’ve said yes minimises the chance of wedding planning stress causing any interference (because hopefully, you should have none!)
In fact, some people plan their engagement parties straight after the proposal, as a surprise for their unsuspecting other half; family parties can very easily become engagement parties, too, if they happen to be the setting of your proposal. However, of course, these should only be considered if you’re 100% sure your partner is going to say yes!
Who to invite to your engagement party
Just like at a wedding, the guestlist is also a hugely important part of planning an engagement party. You’ll need to decide on how many people you want to invite: do you want to invite a small, selective group of people, for example, or do you want to go big? Pick whichever option feels right for you.
Something to definitely keep in mind, however, is that the general understanding of engagement party invitations is this: if you’re invited to the engagement party, you’ll be invited to the wedding. Remembering this when you’re sending your invites out should prevent any awkward situations further on down the line.
Alternatively, of course, if you’re planning on having a super small wedding, an elopement, or maybe a wedding abroad that won’t be feasible for the majority of your loved ones to attend, an engagement party is a great way of celebrating your love with them in person: just make sure it’s clear that that’s what you’re planning to do.
What happens at an engagement party?
The running order of your engagement party will depend entirely on the formality of what you’re planning: some engagement parties are nothing more than celebratory after-works drinks at a bar, and they’re perfect in their simplicity. However, if you’re planning something bigger, you might want to say a few words to everyone gathered there. You might also want to use the opportunity to introduce members of your families, if you haven’t done so yet.
It’s also likely to be the only time you have all of your wedding guests together in one space other than on the day itself, so you can use it as an opportunity to gather any words of wisdom or messages from your guests, which you might want to turn into anecdotes in your ceremony, speeches, or even as a super creative part of your wedding decor.
More Engagement Party Details
Engagement party themes
Planning an engagement party also offers up an excellent opportunity for something a bit quirky. Though you should absolutely throw the wedding that you want, and not the wedding that anyone else wants, it can sometimes feel like weddings have to be timeless, because the photos will be on your mantelpiece forever. But, for example, if you love the idea of throwing a party with a theme, but don’t want a themed wedding – why not do it at your engagement party instead? It’s the perfect chance, and can be loads of fun too!
Engagement party outfits
There’s no set outfits for engagement parties: traditionally, to mimic the wedding, brides would wear a white dress; but of course, there’s no right or wrong. What we would say, though, is take the opportunity to wear something you feel fabulous in; it’s not every day you get engaged!
Are you planning an engagement party?