Hey lovers! Congratulations on your engagement!
It's time to kick off your wedding celebrations in style. An engagement party is a great way to celebrate the start of your married life and get family / friends together to celebrate before the wedding.
As any event planning, there is much to do and more often than not short amount of time. And questions, so many questions. Hopefully we help answer some of them below!
So join us for the journey and get your top engagement party tips from our Event Designers.
We are going to talk all things Engagement Party from Etiquette to Steps to plan to Best Decor Tips!
Your Engagement Journey
Engagement Party Etiquette
Who is the host?
Traditionally engagement parties are hosted by the Bride's parents, but as weddings and engagements become more modern. It is anyone's game, whether you want to host it on your own or be showered with love by your parents hosting the party.
When should I throw the party?
Most professional event planners will say within 3 - 6 months of your engagement. But we say - WHENEVER YOU WANT! Everyone's situation is different and things happen to get in the way of party (and wedding) planning. Do what feels right for you.
Invitations - paper or e-vite?
It truly depends on your style. Having a formal, sit down engagement? Send paper invitations for an added elegance. Having an informal, casual or cocktail event? Send an e-vite. It is a great money saver and also eco-friendly. In fact, send an e-vite where possible.
There are so many wonderful choices for e-vites and wedding / engagement party websites which are great alternatives. Save on stamps!
Guests - who to invite?
It is polite to invite only those who you will be inviting to your wedding. An engagement party is like a pre-wedding celebration, so your guests will be waiting and holding out for an invitation to your wedding.
There are some exceptions, such as elopements. You may invite all your friends and families to your engagement party but elope in secret. Or when you have a huge engagement party and a small, very intimate wedding. And obviously, things change. Friends may move away, you may make new friends depending on the date. You may decide to invite more than your engagement party, which is totally fine. But it is taboo to invite less than the engagement party.
Just keep in mind that guests will be expecting an invitation to your wedding and it can be awkward when they aren't invited.
Gift registry - yes or no?
Gifts for engagement parties are not mandatory, they may be given by your guests, but certainly not mandatory. Avoid signing up to the registry and avoid including the details with your engagement invitation.
What you can do is: sign up to the wedding registry prior to the engagement. Ensure you give the details to your parents and bridal party. The reason why is this will give them the opportunity to pass the details along if anyone asks those particular people for engagement party present ideas.
Our parents haven't met yet!
If they haven't already, your parents should meet prior to the engagement party in an intimate setting. We highly recommend an intimate dinner. This will allow them to meet and get to know each other without the atmosphere and the background of a party.
Now it is time to discuss the steps for planning an amazing Engagement Party.
Steps to planning an amazing Engagement Party
Decide who is the wonderful host
Before starting any planning, you should decide who will be hosting your engagement party. As mentioned above, this is usually hosted by the Bride's parents. But this is not always the case. And in modern times, your parents may not be expecting to host. It may be your friend, family member or wedding planner.
Make sure you speak with them and identify who will be hosting. This is important for the next step in Engagement Party planning.
Set a budget
Once you have decided who will be hosting, you will need to set a budget. Traditionally, the host would be the bill payer. Again, in modern times, this is not always the case and the host may not be expecting it.
Please ensure you communicate effectively with your host to set expectations. This will help you in the planning process for a smooth and happy planning experience.
The budget is important to be set before deciding on the next steps in Engagement Party planning.
Pick a date
Picking a date or approximate time of the year is important. This will help you set the theme, find your venue and gives you a basis for your timeline. You will need to work all your planning back from the date or time of the year you choose.
So choose wisely. Whether you want a spring, fall or winter engagement party. All are amazing times to celebrate love and can really drive the theme for your engagement party.
We love themes! Can you tell?
Finalise Guest list
Once you have picked the date, you need to write up your guest list. We have generated a free printable flow chart that will help you with this step.
Remember: The etiquette is to invite only those who you will invite to the wedding. This will avoid hurt feelings and awkwardness. And obviously, things change. Friends may move away, you may make new friends depending on the date. You may invite more than your engagement party, which is totally fine. But it is taboo to invite less than the engagement party.
Find your venue
Now that you have your date / time of the year, guest list and budget - you are ready to find your venue! Yay!
Based on those previous steps, you should be able to narrow down your venue choices. Think about the important things in venue finding: Location, Size, Food and Drink Style, Inclusions, Reputation and Date/Time.
Choose a theme
Usually influenced by the venue, next is to choose a theme! Ahhh, so exciting! We love themes!!! .... I think I've already said that, oh well.
Themes are wonderful. They help set the mood, guide you through your invitations, food, decor and so so so much more. Picking a theme is a chance for you to let your personality shine. Personalise your experiences! It is YOUR wedding. About YOUR love. After all!
Send out invitations
Invitations are out! As listed above, your invitation is influenced by your style and whether you are going for an eco-friendly approach. Whatever way you chose. It is time to send out your invitations! And get those RSVPs in. Especially dietary requirements.
When you receive dietary requirements, keep a record of these in a book or spreadsheet. This will be extremely helpful when you are organising food for your wedding!
Food - yum!
Now to plan your menu. You may be sensing a pattern to this whole planning thing. Everything has a cause and effect. But again, your menu is controlled by your venue and limited by the style of your engagement party.
Think about your guests and their style. Yes, the wedding and engagement party is about you. But who wants a bunch of money spent on food no one will eat. No one does, that's who.
Our favourites below are winners for almost all guests. Ensure you have vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options for those RSVPS.
Cocktail: Gourmet Meatballs, Burger Sliders, Mini Desserts and Grazing Tables!!!!
Formal Sit-Down: Grazing Board for the entrée, Steak or Chicken for the main, and individual royal desserts to finish off the night.
Select decor & styling items
One of the most fun parts about planning events is the styling! Who doesn't love picking out colours and decorations?! If you regularly struggle making decisions, then this may not be for you, perhaps consider hiring a stylist. They have the perfect eye to turn your engagement party into a beautiful event.
If you are just as excited as us by picking out colours and decorations to suit your venue and theme, than go right ahead and start selecting your decor. See below for some further tips for 2020 and 2021 engagement parties.
Decide on attire
Most engagements have a cocktail dress code. However, depending on your venue and theme, you may go for a more ball gown or even more casual attire.
If you are steering away from cocktail dress code, it is best to notify your guests on your invitations to ensure they are aware.
I don't know about you, but I hate turning up to an event underdressed or overdressed. It can cause discomfort in those that regularly avoid the spotlight.
Engagement Party Decor
Our engagement party essentials list for 2020/21 decor
We have chosen our favourite trends for 2020/21. Some items double up as functional and decorative! And we love it!! Please remember to stay safe during these pandemic times and follow health guidelines.
Candles, lots and lots of candles
Florals and greenery
Frill Photo Backdrop
Pictures of the lovely couple
- Briana, White Orchid Events