• Katie

The A-Z’s of Planning an Engagement Party

Congratulations on your engagement! Getting married is an exciting new turn in life. Planning your engagement party and wedding should be just as exciting as the proposal itself. A lot of people get stressed quickly when they’re in the planning phase, but it’s not meant to be stressful. Of course, there will be tons of decisions to make about decorations and guest lists and cake flavors, and it will get exhausting at some point.

Don’t forget, if you have a maid of honor, she can help out if you start to get overwhelmed. She’s there to support you. If you don’t have a maid of honor, ask your mom or mother-in-law, since they’ve been through it all themselves before. Try to accept really any help that you get offered by friends and family so that you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.

Now, down to business.

Some people go with a traditional engagement party, one that requires formal attire and is hosted by the bride’s parents at their house or somebody else’s. Mostly everyone else makes the engagement party whatever they want it to be. After all, it is all about the bride and groom’s happiness, not about what the parents want, or even what friends want. It just depends on what you value as a couple and how you envision your party.

As soon as you become engaged, you can start thinking about the details of the engagement party. It’s meant to be a fun get-together before serious wedding plans begin, even if those plans don’t begin for another year or two.

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

The first thing to decide on is a date. Do you have any guests or family that would be coming from out of town for the party? If you’re having the party in a rented-out space, what dates are available for you to use it? How much time do you need to prepare for it financially?

Think about these and any other factors that may play a part or that might put restrictions on the time frame in which you can have the engagement party. Most likely not everyone will be able to make it, so don’t try to please everyone. Ultimately, it’s up to you when you want to have it and how rushed you want to be.

Creating your invitations is the next step toward making your engagement party official. The easiest way to invite people is by making a private event on Facebook. Traditional mailed invitations are the more traditional way to go and takes more time and effort, but there’s something about holding the invitation in your hand, with its embossed letters and endearing engagement photo, that makes it all feel a little more real.

A lot of people choose to do both, make the event on Facebook and mail invites. No matter what you do, you’ll need to start making a guest list. Engagement parties are typically pretty small, especially compared to the size of the wedding. The most important people to write down first are those who are in the wedding party: the bridesmaids, maid of honor, best man and groom’s men. They should be included in every event leading up to the wedding.

Everyone else you invite is up to you. Usually, it’s the parents of the bride and groom and closest friends. It’s important to make sure that you communicate with your partner about who each of you wants to invite.

How Should Invitations Look?

A good idea to think about when designing the invitations for the engagement party is including the color scheme that’s going to be used in the wedding; that is if you’ve figured that out yet. Invitations don’t have to be expensive. You can design high-quality invitations online through a store to be picked up, or you can buy pre-made invitations to fill out. The other way to go is through a hired professional if you have access to one.

Engagement party invitations should include the following:

  • Cute engagement photo

  • Names of the bride and groom

  • Date and location of the party

  • Request to RSVP with preferred contact info (if you need a count of attendees for either catering or occupancy of the party location)

  • Website URL for gift registry if you have one

Gifts and Decorations

If you decided to have people RSVP you, use that number to judge how many seats and tables need to be at the party. Always add at least an extra 6 or so people to that number, just in case. It’s very common for people to forget to RSVP, or they fail to inform you of the extra three people they’re bringing with them.

Keep a list written down of who has confirmed with you that they’re coming and how many are in their group, so that you don’t mistakenly count anyone down twice. This number is important to have for catering as well if that’s the route you want to go for food provided.

Designate an extra table, set up to the side or by the entrance, as a gift table. You’ll need to get a sign or a clear label to put on the table so that it’s clear what it’s meant for. You could use a chalkboard sign and some flowers or other decorations to make the gift table a little more festive.

If you lack in the creative sector, go on Pinterest and look at some of the ideas that others have come up with. Having the gift table at the actual wedding instead of the engagement party is an option a well.

Other Ideas for Decorations:

  • Snack table

  • Slideshow with engagement or couples’ photos

  • Party favors

The Engagement Party

Relax and have fun, this party is a celebration of you and your partner’s next big step in your lives together. Guests would love to hear about how you two met each other and about the proposal. Try to greet everyone that you can, at least for a few moments, and then address the whole party at some point in the afternoon to thank them for coming and sharing in your excitement.

If the event planning process seems to be too time consuming or daunting, then you can easily hire a professional party planner to make sure you have a memorable night without all the stress and headaches that may come along with planning the event yourself.

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Springville, Utah