When it comes to planning your wedding, you may know exactly which chapel you want to have the wedding in and you may have been dreaming about your wedding dress for years, but what to do about the engagement party might be lower on the list. Who plans the party, and what happens there?
What is the engagement party?
This is a small affair designed to celebrate the new couple and create a setting for future family members to get to know each other.
Who hosts the engagement party?
The parents of the bride are traditionally the ones to host the party, but it is becoming common for friends of the bride or groom or the future bridal couple themselves to host the party, as well.
Who should you invite?
This isn’t a preview of the wedding. This is usually a more intimate affair, with only close friends and family coming to celebrate. You may choose to send out invitations one to two months in advance, but since the invitees are only going to be close family and friends, emails or phone calls can suffice.
What about the bridal party?
It is common to reveal your choices for the bridal party at this time. If there will be hurt feelings, you may choose to do it at another time, or you could incorporate everyone present by asking friends to be ushers and to help with the bridal shower, bachelorette party, or wedding registry.
Are there gifts?
No, other than the engagement ring, gifts are not commonly exchanged at engagement parties. You may choose to announce where you will be registering for wedding gifts, however.
Where should you have the party?
Anywhere you like! They are commonly held in restaurants or in backyard garden parties, or in meeting halls. Any place that feels celebratory and comfortable to you is the best place to have it.
What should it be like?
This is a time to celebrate each other, to introduce your significant other to family and friends, and to start the process of becoming a family. You can share photos, toasts, and favorite songs, if you like, or it can simply be a night of sharing stories and getting to know one another. The engagement ring is often given ceremonially at this time, though the recipient may have had it for some time already.
How can I make it special?
If you are hosting the party yourselves, this may be the first chance you have to create something together that symbolizes you as a couple to your family and friends. You can incorporate some of your favorite foods, things that represent the two of you as a couple, and things that you hope to celebrate in years to come. If you know the colors and theme of your wedding already, you can incorporate these colors into a small garden party or create simple favors or centerpieces that go along with your wedding’s theme. For garden parties, fairy lights are a nice, simple touch, as are candles and favors. Just make sure to take safety into account when putting those candles and centerpieces together.
No matter what you choose for your engagement party, whether it is as simple as Mets jerseys and hot dogs or as extravagant as black ties and champagne, the point of the evening is to celebrate family, new and old, and forge bonds together that will change and grow for a lifetime.