January 29, 2011

Planning Your Engagement Party

Image Credit Tiffany & Co.

I am trying to think if my husband and I even had an 'engagement party'. I suppose if I have to think about it, that means that we didn't really do anything formal. I think we got together with some friends and co-workers at our friendly, neighborhood pub. Yup, that sounds like us! I did, however, plan one for my sister who is getting married this coming April.

We had it at a nice, private, restaurant downtown where they play live jazz music on Saturday nights.
It wasn't anything over the top. Just her closest friends invited, maybe a party of 12. We had a nice meal, ordered champagne for the table, and had some cake. As far as wedding touches, I had designed some little place holders with pictures of her and her fiance on the table to make it a little personal, added some flowers, and there were a few gifts given (ours was a wedding album for the couple to be).

If you are tasked with planning an engagement party, I would first recommend to be realistic, and not blow the budget! After all, this isn't the actual wedding - and if ever there's a time for a party, it's the wedding!

Start by picking your venue. While halls and hotel banquets are normally reserved for receptions, an engagement party can be somewhere more intimate, such as a restaurant, a family home, or even a picnic park or somewhere that may have special meaning for the couple.

No worry about hiring a band, or fancy decorations. An engagement party is meant to be an informal, casual event to congratulate the couple as they enter on their new journey to marriage.
It has become popular in recent years to associate a theme with engagement parties, but in a way that doesn't 'over do it'. For instance, if you were to have the engagement party at a family bungalow, you could go for a backyard barbecue theme. Simply add some red-checked table cloths, daisies and a game of horseshoes (or washers, or croquet, or whatever the family favorite is!) If you were to have it at the beach, you could bring some large, colorful beach umbrellas to stick in the sand, plan for a bonfire and maybe a few fireworks that your brother can set off! Maybe you could go to the restaurant where the couple had their first date!

In any event, you don't need to go overboard for this one. If you know what the wedding theme colors will be, simple decor in their chosen colors would work. A few meaningful touches, such as pictures or favorite quotes printed and displayed, will add to the party and make it memorable for the newly engaged couple and guests.

For food, again, simple is best. Maybe appetizers and drinks. Make a special punch. Buffets will always lend to a casual atmosphere. Potlucks are also a great way to keep costs to a minimum and get everyone involved in the occasion.

Don't fret about organizing any big 'games' or activities. Easy, fun things to do at an engagement party can include:
-Having the couple's engagement shots done (for their announcement in the paper?)
-Admire the bride-to-be's gorgeous new ring! (she'll love this! She loves it, and loves it even more to know it is the envy of every girl there!)
-Informal toasts by the Maid of Honor/Best Man and/or family
-Announcing any small tidbits about the wedding itself (where will it be held? Is there a date set? What will the bridesmaids wear? Colors?)
-Tell guests the story of the proposal and how he got you to say yes!

Gifts are certainly not a mandatory thing for an engagement party, if you want to, do. If you don't, that's okay too. Small gestures, such as a photo album, card, or maybe a nice bottle of wine will be most appreciated, but not expected.

No matter the venue, the food or the decor, having your closest family and friends to mark this milestone with y
ou is most important. Take it easy, relax, and enjoy! (and drink Champagne! Congratulations!)

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