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Getting engaged can be one of the most exciting and anticipated events in a young couple’s life, and everyone who loves you and loves love is going to want to celebrate. Calling every relative and sitting down for coffee with every friend individually can sound like a daunting way to jump into engaged life, so the best way to celebrate your love story and show off your new sparkle is by throwing an engagement party! Because really, there are only so many times in your life when you get to be the center of attention, so why not enjoy it for all it’s worth and drink some champagne while you’re at it.

Not only is an engagement party a fantastic way to, cough cough, celebrate the engagement, it’s also a perfect time to introduce important people in your life who may not know each other yet. Connect Mom with your soon-to-be mother-in-law ASAP if they haven’t met already, and make sure all the friends in your anticipated wedding party can get along (preferably before the bridesmaid proposals happen). Taking care of these introductions during a party atmosphere paves the way for a smooth engagement, relaxing wedding day, and a very happy couple.

So what do you need to know about planning an engagement party?

Who’s Hosting?

Traditionally, the parents of the bride will host the engagement party, but for those who love breaking from tradition, anyone with a willing heart can take care of this fun soiree. While you can host the party yourselves, there’s enough on your plate with the beginning of wedding planning, so we suggest passing this baton off to a close friend or family member who enjoys planning events. Bonus points if they have a home that will accommodate the guest list.

 

When’s it Going Down?

Remember, you’re celebrating the engagement rather than the marriage, so ideally the engagement party should be no more than three months after the proposal. Giving your guests some time to put the party on their calendar is great, but if your friends and family are the spontaneous sort, consider celebrating just a few weeks after the engagement – or surprise guests with by announcing your engagement during the party.

 

What Kind of Party are we Throwing?

Before you can figure out where to throw the engagement party, you have to figure out your style – is it a formal affair, a backyard bash, or the classic cocktail party? Remember, you want your wedding to be one of a kind, so the engagement party shouldn’t feel like a pre-wedding – switch up the style, theme and décor preferences so each event is a standalone celebration.

 

What Roof are we Raising?

Okay… that was pretty lame. Besides, not every venue has a roof (hello, rooftop gardens). But picking the venue for your engagement party sets the stage for the feel of your party. We strongly suggest opting for a low-cost spot to save as much as possible for the wedding, so a friend’s home or backyard, local park or favorite restaurant are all great options. Choosing to go all out? The sky is the limit, so more power to you.

What’s the Décor Plan?

Let me say this plain and simple – your life does not have to look like a Pinterest board 24/7. We all love Pinterest, but those highly decorated scenes cost money, and you would way rather have a Pinterest-worthy wedding. If you have the means, or someone planning the event for you who WANTS to go all out, enjoy it, but adding some simple, personal touches is really all you need. After all, the only thing people want to see is you, your fiancé, and that sparkle on your hand. Aaand maybe some photos of the proposal if you have them.

 

Who Makes the List?

The guest list for the engagement party should be significantly smaller than the wedding list, but remember that you don’t want to invite anyone to the party that won’t get a wedding invite – unless you’re eloping and want the engagement party to bring together everyone you would have invited to a bigger wedding. Focus on bringing together the key family members and friends who will be a part of your engagement process, such as bridal party members, parents, and that aunt who wants to help with everything.

 

How Do We Tell Them?

Invitations can be as formal or informal as you want, as long as they match the party formality. For this bash, formal paper invitations in the mail are great, but so are e-vites and phone calls if that’s what floats your boat. And don’t worry about making sure they match the stationery for the wedding invites – in fact, use this as a chance to play around with colors and styles that you love.

What’re we Eating?

Time to put your money where your mouth is. Feeding people costs a pretty penny, so here is where your guest list, budget and party formality meet. If you’ve opted for a more formal party or dinner party, be sure to offer a delicious menu catered by one of your favorite restaurants or caterers. For backyard parties, see if Dad or an uncle wouldn’t mind grilling up some burgers, or have a pot luck! And cocktail parties are great with hors d’oeuvres or a dessert bar.

 

And More Importantly, What’re we Drinking?

Use this as an opportunity to test out a few signature drinks, and let the cocktails tell a story about who you are as a couple! And of course, make sure there’s something bubbly on hand for toasts.

 

Toasts?

Yes! The father/parents of the bride are often the first to make a formal toast to the newly engaged couple, and this can be a fun time to open up the stage for any friends and family to make a toast. After all, you’re the center of attention, and they all know it!