The Party Before the Plan
By Morgan Winter
In the weeks following your proposal, you’ve probably announced the good news over social media and called everyone you know. But, you may still want to go that extra mile and have an engagement party, or someone close to you may offer to host one.
The months leading up to the big day are stressful and you don’t want to schedule the engagement party in the middle of all that planning. The best time to schedule your engagement party is before all the aspects of wedding planning besiege you.
Traditionally, the bride's parents’ were responsible for the engagement party. Now, friends of your parents, the groom’s parents, your friends, or even you can throw an engagement party. Some couples hire an event planner for their engagement party.
If you are having an engagement party, they can range from barbeques to catered events. Your invitations indicate the level of formality. For example, if you’re having a small gathering with friends, then an event on Facebook suffices. If it’s a catered event at a winery, then physical invitations with RSVP instructions are more appropriate. All guests invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. Customarily, gifts are given at engagement parties, but you can indicate on your invitations that you would not like gifts or for your guests to just bring themselves. If they do bring gifts, a handwritten thank-you note is required.
With all the choices of theme and timing engagement parties provide, it may be difficult to choose one. For instance, a “Two in One” party is an option. If you or your fiancé have a birthday coming up, you can easily announce your engagement there. If you throw get-togethers on holidays, guests can know this is an engagement party through your invitations. You can also base the theme of your party around one of your hobbies or interests.
The food at your party has the same range as the theme. You can ask guests to bring dishes pot-luck style or it can be catered. The food should be a reflection of the formality of your party.
By no means are you obligated to invite everybody to your engagement party. However, all your invitees should be invited to the wedding. Think of it as inviting a percentage of your wedding guests, not all. The party is a good opportunity to introduce you and your fiancé’s families to each other, as well as your other guests to each other. It is also common courtesy for you and your fiancé to introduce guests who don’t know each other.
Engagement parties should be low stress compared to weddings. They celebrate this new era in your life. Engagement parties are a reflection of the people you and your fiancé are.
Congratulations on your engagement!