10 Steps to planning an engagement party
The magical moment of the proposal has happened, you and your significant other are over the moon with excitement, then what? Don’t worry! You are not the only couple to tread these waters. There are parties, and showers, the actual wedding day (oh my!) that all need to be planned. Now, this doesn’t mean there’s any reason to freak out. This is supposed to be an exciting time, relax into it and enjoy the journey! But we did want to offer some advice on how to successfully check off you’re the ticks on engagement check-list that aren’t picking out the perfect wedding bands.
Trust me! I know what you’re thinking, “is this going to be valuable information?” And you’re totally justified in asking, but keep in mind that our main goal at Wedding Bands & Company is to build lasting relationships with all of our customers. When creating relationships, you create the trust that goes beyond engagement rings and wedding bands.
The first event we are going to discuss in this new series is the engagement party. Not every couple has an engagement party and some couples have multiple, and either or anywhere in between is totally acceptable! No matter the amount, size, or vibe if you want to celebrate with loved ones after getting engaged we have some tips and ideas to follow to make it a knock out success.
1- Keep it casual! Allow for family and guests who don’t know each other to introduce themselves and bond with a relaxed atmosphere. Having buffet-style snacks not only allows for movement through the party space but it also can keep costs down and have fun themes to it like, “His, Hers, Our Favorites” snacks, and drinks.
Some couples are even choosing to make all the food at their parties themselves, which if you have the time and will power is a great way to bond as a couple and to say thank you to your friends and family for their support. We also suggest not to have an actual cake, since you will have that at the reception. Opt for cupcakes, mini pies, brownies; really anything that can be easily carried around for mingling purposes.
If you do want to get it catered remember simple is most of the time better. Finger foods, fun dips, and festive desserts keep things light.
A lot of couples are also choosing “themed” drinks as well as food. These can be of the alcoholic nature or something as simple as fancy lemonade or iced tea.
2- Entertainment can be an exciting element, but it can also cost a penny and take attention from the main event, which is connecting with others at the party and pouring love onto the couple. We suggest to keep entertainment to a minimum and if you do want entertainment to keep it focused on the couple. A single musician playing the cello would set a nice mood. It is even acceptable to just have music playing over a loud speaker. Just make sure that it doesn’t get too loud so people can talk with one another.
Music isn’t the only form of entertainment that can be present at an engagement party. You could create and play a slideshow of the couple, have them stand up and tell about how they fell in love and their proposal, or have close friends and family lovingly “roast” them. This would also be a great time to get family photo’s since you will have everyone together.
Also depending on the theme, you could have fun competitions such as corn hole, etc. Just make sure that it is something that can include everyone who wants to participate.
3- Guests lists can go either way, big or small, but do make sure that everyone who attends the engagement party is invited to the wedding itself. This is not an event you want to invite people to that aren’t going to be attending the wedding itself. Make sure to discuss all guest lists with hosts before sending invites out.
There are only a couple of exceptions to this rule. One is if you are having a huge blow out celebration and the host includes everyone on your block or everyone you work with. These days a lot of couples are having multiple engagement parties and some of them are with people they really aren’t close with but were invited because of one common thread, like work in the same office, live on the same block, or they are a friend of a friend. In those cases, it is ok to break the all invitees must also be invited to the wedding.
The other exception is if you are intending on only the immediate families being present at the wedding or if you're having a destination wedding. In both of those cases, it is also ok to have guests not invited to a wedding in attendance.
4- A lot of people don’t know when to have their engagement party and timing is a key ingredient. Unless you want to go straight from the proposal into a party (which can be fun and festive) there is a sweet spot where the engagement party fits in the timeline.
You want the couple to be in that span of time where they are still care-free and ecstatic from the proposal and not quite in serious wedding planning mode. You want to be there because then they can relax and celebrate. After all, this whole party is about them and their love. We don’t want them bogged down with wedding details and deadlines for their party.
5- Traditionally there are no gifts at an engagement party. You may have some people who do bring some sort of happy but it shouldn’t be mandatory, that is what showers and the actual wedding and reception are for.
If you do have gifts presented politely thank the gift giver and put it away till after the party, you don’t want to isolate guests who didn’t bring gifts. And don’t forget, if you do get a present presented to write a thank you note!
Some couples like to put on the invitations, “no gifts please”, but some choose not to dictate that leaving it up to the participants to decide, and just take it in stride if they receive something.
6- Although not mandatory, it is highly suggested that the couple and hosts should have some party favors for the attendees. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but preferably something with the wedding date and location on it, if the couple is that far along in their planning.
Some people do gifts like magnets, bottle openers, or even cute bags of specialized candies. Succulents are also another great and inexpensive item to pass out as favors at the end of the party.
Another favor that has become popular to do is passing out the actual save the dates at the engagement party. Helps the couple save on stamp costs and you won’t have to worry about anything getting lost in the mail, which unfortunately happens more than we’d like to think.
7- Going back to themes, the party should have an over-all theme. Some couples choose to go with a simple “celebration vibe” and let that dictate decisions, while some choose to be a little more specific. Some couples like to use this party as an opportunity to try out color schemes and patterns that they might use at the wedding and that’s a great way to tie them together but also keeping them their own celebrations as well.
Do keep in mind that where the party is being held is important for themes. You don’t want to have a pearls and bowties theme if you’re going to be barbequing outside. Just like you don’t want to have a “fun in the sun” theme if you are hosting the event in the evening. Just know the parameters of location when choosing a festive theme. Some unique themes that we have come across are: a cooking class party, a beachy clambake theme, chocolate and champagne theme, around the world party, movie night/cinema party, and a festive bonfire theme.
Whatever you decide, just remember, simple is the way to go. Keep it fun and authentic to the couple being celebrated!
8- Even if you do decide to tie the theme of the engagement party with the wedding and reception together, which we wouldn’t suggest, don’t celebrate both in the same place. Keep the reception location for the big day and pick something a little more low-key for the engagement party.
It could be a friend or family members house, at a local brewery or winery, or your favorite restaurant. Wherever you choose, make it some please special and intimate.
Some couples like to have their engagement party where they first met or even where they were engaged. This would be another great way to celebrate at a special space for the couple.
9- The question of who should host the engagement party comes up more often than you think. This is one of those questions that has a traditional answer, but in recent years that tradition has morphed into many different takes on it. The engagement party is traditionally put on by the bride-to-be’s family. However, there are many ways to go about it these days.
Sometimes the groom's family wants to host and sometimes the families come together to host the event in a joint effort. Friends and other family members can also fill the shoes of host for engagement parties.
Some couples even have more than one engagement party because they have more than one group of people that want to help them celebrate. Theirs no set limit of who can host or how many hosts you can have. There also isn’t a limit on how many parties you can have to celebrate. Plan accordingly and take all the extra love that can be showered on you, wedding planning can be tough and have an engagement party can be an awesome reminder of how fun the wedding and reception will be once you get there.
10- Lastly, DON’T FORGET THE INVITATIONS! This seems like a no-brainer, but it has happened and you wouldn’t want to plan this perfect celebration of your love and not have your loved ones show up.
The first thing to remember is you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to create something festive, theme-forward, and fun. The invitations should be a representation of the party, but not THE party. Make sure to save most of your spending on food, drinks, and celebratory decorations.
Of course, for the big day you will want to go out with beautiful custom invites, but for something with a more laid back vibe simple paper invites or even an email invite is appropriate for some parties/couples! Although make sure that if you are sending e-vites that every one that is invited frequently checks their email and that they don’t get lost in their spam/junk folder. There is nothing worse than having sent out invites and people not receive them. Keep it fun and within the theme and you can’t go wrong!
EXTRA TIP: You’re going to be doing this a lot during the season of your wedding planning, but make sure to always write thank you notes to your host or hosts for their help in the preparations of the engagement party. Get those hands ready for some writing and pick some beautiful personal cards or stationary and start writing!
We hope this article has guided you on some common questions or inquiries about where to start once the big proposal moment happens! All in all, have a blast and enjoy the ride. This is a special time in your life, and it’s a pure joy moment that will never be forgotten. Let us know what engagement or wedding topics you’d like us to educate you on next. As stated earlier, we are looking to expand our content and discuss everything engagement and wedding!
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