#FeatureFriday: Throwing Your Engagement Party
If you just got engaged over the holiday season, you could already be in wedding planning mode or you may want to hold off on getting married right away and enjoy your engagement period. Either way you will most likely want to celebrate this important piece of your life with your family and friends. You may want to throw an engagement party to celebrate with everyone all at once. You will be able to feel the immense love and support that surrounds you and celebrate the love you have for your partner.
First you will want to figure out who will host this celebration. Traditionally, the bride’s parents would serve as the host but in current times it is perfectly acceptable for any close family or friends to host the festivity. The bride’s parents and the groom’s parents could even co-host the celebration!
This celebration could take place a few weeks after your official engagement if you plan to have a short engagement. If you plan to have a longer engagement, the engagement party could take place up to six months following the proposal. The longer you wait to hold your engagement party the more time you will have to envision your wedding. Those who are invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding so having that extra time to formulate a guest list will be more helpful when planning the party.
After choosing the date you will want to determine a budget for the engagement party. Whoever is hosting will want to have a goal for spending. They will want to stay as far under budget as possible and it will help to keep the spending under control. A budget will also help you choose a venue and create the guest list while staying within the pre-established budget.
After selecting a budget you should finalize the guest list. The guest list will give you an idea of how big or small your venue should be. It will also help you to decide how much food you will need. Therefore, the guest list is one of the most important things to do after the budget as it helps to decide everything else. When creating the guest list, make sure there is no one on it that you wouldn’t want at your wedding. Everyone who is invited to the engagement party must be invited to the wedding. This way no one is let down when they discover that they were only invited to the engagement party.
When choosing your venue you will want to ensure that the party will not upstage the actual wedding. One way to do this is to have two completely different locations for each. If you are planning on a formal wedding you may want to hold your engagement party in the backyard, at the park or at the beach and have a buffet to establish a more casual setting. Hold the party in a tent to keep your guests covered from the heat or the cold. Have lawn games outside of the tent to increase the casual feel.
If you want a more formal engagement party, you can still hold it in a tent. Just add a starry night package to illuminate the tent, cover the tables with elegant linens and choose garden chairs instead of Samsonite chairs. Add sashes to the chairs to increase the elegance of the room. Use uplights to add a gentle hue to the room, increasing the intimate elegance of the event.
The menu should be next on your list. It is not a necessity to have a five course sit down meal. You can have a buffet or just serve appetizers or desserts if you please. Another great idea is to have a food truck cater your party. If you do not plan on serving a main course, let your guests know on the invitations so that they are prepared to eat before or after the party.
After selecting your menu, you should send out your invites at least one month in advance, six weeks if you have multiple out of town guests. Make sure that you create your invites with the theme of the party in mind. Don’t send out winter themed invitations for a cookout.
Now is the time to think about the decorations for your party. There is no need to go overboard with the decor. Simple flower arrangements always liven up the room. Try your hand at some DIY decor to prepare for planning your big day. Hint at your wedding plans with decor that matches your theme.
Prior to the party you should come up with a plan in case some people bring gifts and others don’t. Gifts may not be necessary but there is a good chance that at least one person will bring a gift. If you would like to get gifts at your engagement party you should start to build your wedding registry. Add the link to your wedding website with the link to the registry on your invitation so that your guests will find it with ease.
If you would prefer that guests don’t bring gifts or you would rather your guests donate to a charity then include a note on the invitation to make it clear. If some of your guests do bring gifts on the day of the party have a secure place to put them out of sight so your other guests do not feel guilty for not bringing a gift. Wait until after the party to open presents as that will keep them out of sight until you leave.
Before the day of the event you should think about asking some family members and friends to take on certain roles such as setup, collecting gifts and taking photos. This will make it so the day goes smoothly and you will have photos to look back on later on.
Choose the perfect outfit for the party. Select something that goes with the theme of the event but also something that allows you to stand out from the crowd. The groom should have the same level of formality as the bride so that they entire the affair as a duo rather than looking separate.
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