Engagement Parties are a fairly new tradition in the getting married game. Since the dating game has changed so exponentially, Engagement Parties were created in order to bring the families of the bride and groom together under the same roof to meet and mingle. We are a generation of celebration. Any kind of accomplishment is a reason to party, so an accomplishment in finding a soul mate is DEFINITELY a reason to party.
There are a lot of gray areas surrounding Engagement Parties because none of them are the same. Some common questions are:
When should the engagement party be?
Give yourselves a minute to revel in your newly engaged bliss. However, it's absolutely up to you. Some couples have their engagement party two weeks after they get engaged, while others wait up to three months after the engagement. It all depends on what kind of details you wish to share at the engagement party. You'll get asked a ton of questions that you might not be able to answer two weeks in.
Do people bring gifts to an engagement party?
They most definitely can! Again, it's all about how long you wait. Some couples have the engagement party and are already registered. Some party guests can use your registry as a reference to see what they can get you. However, some other parties have more congratulatory gifts (gift cards, bottles of wine, etc) or just cards.
Who should be invited to the engagement party?
If they are invited to the wedding, they should be invited to the engagement party. If they are not going to be invited to the wedding, it may be awkward to have them at the party. However, if you want all of your friends and family to be there, but you know you're only going to have a small wedding, inform the guests of that. "Hey, we want a very small wedding of only twenty people, but we still wanted to share this special time with all of you. I hope that's okay." People will understand, and they will appreciate feeling included.
Where should the engagement party be?
Depends on what kind of party you are thinking to have, who is throwing the party, how many people are going, what time of year, etc. More often than not, the parents of the bride or groom host the party. That way it's a literal welcoming the other family into their home. However, couples can host their own parties, or even rent a venue.
What actually happens at an engagement party?
Have you tracked a theme here yet? EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THE COUPLE. So, here are a few Engagement Party themes and ideas to make your celebration FANCY.
Classic Engagement Party
You can't go wrong with a classic. This includes the bride's parents hosting the party--which luckily takes a lot of pressure off of the bride and groom to plan party details.
The party will be a nice dinner at the brides' parents' house, at a restaurant or perhaps even at a venue to fit the amount of people on the guest list (which the groom and bride should consult on). Be prepared for a lot of questions during this event. Announce your bridal and grooms parties at a designated time in the evening for a personal touch.
Holiday Engagement Party
I am obsessed with Christmas. What some people call a problem, I call holiday spirit. So it made sense that I wanted to have a Christmas themed engagement party. Luckily, my fiancé and I got engaged in October, so it was perfect timing to wait until December to host the party. The party is a mash up of engagement and Christmas themes.
The music and decor are a combination of congratulations, wedding and Christmas.
The Bridesmaid Proposals
I bought these giant ornaments at Dollar Tree, along with the stockings. My bridesmaids will be wearing custom Boot Bling to match their dresses, so I wrapped the Bling around the stocking to present it to them. This way, the proposal is personal for me, and it's something they can keep forever--both the ornament and the Boot Bling.
You aren't just limited to a Christmas engagement party though. You can do a theme for any holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, etc). Doing a holiday themed party allows you to kill two birds with one stone: you can celebrate the holiday with your friends, as well as this special time. It also makes shopping for decorations, food, drink, and games much easier!
Murder Mystery Engagement Party
Please don't actually murder someone for this party theme. However, there are a ton of fun ways to play a murder mystery game with your guests. Come up with a super fun narrative, or download a game and template online! This is a fun and classic way to engage your guests, and get to know the people in each family.
Throwback Engagement Party
Remember the 90s? How about the 80s? 70s? You've probably been to a retro party where everyone dresses up in mullets and tie-dye, but this party is actually about nostalgia for an era that you participated in beyond pooping your pants for the last few years of that decade. This allows for you guys to relive your childhoods or teen years together, but this time as a soon to be Mr. & Mrs.
90s, 80s, high school, elementary school, summer camp, college, etc. Have everyone dress up from that nostalgia period and bring things to really set the mood: photo albums, other clothes, vintage items, music, yearbooks, toys, etc. Bring it all together and go back in time for a night. Include mementos from your pasts specifically so that you and your future spouse and reminisce (or cringe) at your previous selves. You're about to reinvent yourselves for a future together, take one last look back before you do.
The actual theme, decorations, food and drink of your party entirely depends on which nostalgic time you select. For a 90s party you might want to go with grunge, movie posters from that time period, run some old Nicktoons in the background, etc. If you go high school, bring back your school colors, mascot, and leave the cliques at the door.
Fairy Tale Engagement Party
Let everyone become the prince and princess they were always meant to be. You can go Disney themed, to straight up classical fairy tale with knights and shit. Give out little plastic tiaras to the women of the party, and the men can get foam swords. This is your happily ever after.
Luau of Love Engagement Party
This theme depends on where you're hosting the party and when you are hosting the party. If you are having a summertime engagement, then this is perfect! Get your beach bunnies together for a luau of love! Celebrate your love "by the beach" with these fun luau ideas.
Flip Flops made from frosting and Nutter Butter cookies on some graham cracker sand.
Buy some new sand buckets to use as serving dishes. Twizzlers make for cute pool noodles!
Make a sandy beach cake with graham cracker sand, and blue frosting sand. Carve the initials of you and your fiancé right on the "beach."
Everyone can get "lei"ed at this party.
Give out treat bags as party favors, or even utilize this super simple DIY design for your bridesmaid proposals.
Game Night Engagement Party
Gather for board games, video games, hide and seek, and more! Get together for a night of friendly competition. Get your friends and family members to bring their favorite games to the party, surf online for fun engagement party games (like the ones here, here, here and here) or take a game that you know and love and make it into an Engagement Party game!
A Bar Engagement Party
Yes, you could all just go out for drinks at your favorite watering hole, but this is not the kind of bar I'm talking about. This party theme is set up around bars:
Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Keep the options open to a variety of people and flavors, and let your guests serve themselves.
A Night At The Movies Engagement Party
Do you and your spouse love Netflix? Binge watching? Going to the movies? Then have a movie themed Engagement Party! Feature popcorn and boxed candy as the main snacks for the party, give everyone name tags that correspond with a famous movie or TV character, make fun banners featuring the best, romantic movie lines, and more. Transport the party to the silver screen for the night, and feature your Oscar winning romance story.
Your Engagement Party is about you and your soon to be spouse. No matter what kind of party you choose to throw, who is going to be there and so on and so forth, the most important part of the event is that you two get the opportunity to celebrate your love with the people you both care about the most. Have fun!