First and foremost, congratulations! I’m so happy for you and your fiancé!! Whoop whoooop! Now that the proposal’s out of the way and you have a super sparkly ring of your finger, it’s time to start planning something else special—your engagement party! Planning an engagement party is the perfect way to get all your family and friends together ahead of the wedding to celebrate this milestone in your lives. Not sure where to start? Here are my top 5 things to consider when planning your engagement party:
Want to throw your own engagement party? Go for it! Traditionally, the bride’s parents host, but these days it’s entirely appropriate for anyone close to the couple to take on this role, or for several people (say, both sets of parents) to host jointly. Isaac and I were lucky to have our bridal party, my bride tribe, volunteer to throw one. You can also have more than one engagement party hosted by different people. So there’s no need to stress if your parents want to throw a formal event just for family, while you might like to host something more casual for your friends. Two parties might also make sense if you live in a different city from your families.
Unlike the bridal shower and the eventual wedding, gifts aren’t necessarily given for the engagement party. That said there’s always a chance you’ll get some anyway. If you’re hoping to receive gifts for your engagement party, then this would be a great time to start building your registry, so you can add a link to your wedding website on your invite. If you prefer guests not bring gifts or want to suggest a favorite charity they can donate to in lieu of presents, a polite note on the invitation will make it clear. On the day of, if guests do end up bringing gifts to the party, find a discreet and secure place to put them, so guests who come empty-handed don’t feel uncomfortable – just sayin.…and make sure to keep track of who gives you what so you can send thank-you cards.
Your first party as a to-be-wed couple deserves special outfits. As you shop for something new (or raid your closet), keep the party setting and venue in mind. For the bride-to-be, aside from the obvious (a beaded evening gown to a casual backyard bash), select something that won’t outdo your wedding look but is special enough that you’ll still stand out from your guests. A sundress will work for an outdoor affair, or for a fancier fete, a cocktail dress is a safe bet. And for the groom-to-be, while you don’t have to don a suit and tie (and certainly not a tux)—unless the venue calls for it—you should match your partner’s level of formality. Also remember the many other parties you’ll have to get dressed for ahead, from the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner. With those in mind, now might be the perfect time to sign up for a special program. Rent the Runway offers a styling package for all your pre-wedding events—score designer outfits below retail price (plus fashion consultations) through their Wedding Concierge Service.
If you want to do something extra special for your engagement party, why not introduce a theme or a dress code? You could ask your guests to come dressed as their favorite celebrity couples, or dressed all in white to reference your impending wedding. Fun!!!
No party is complete without some jam’s! For your engagement party, your “audience” will probably span generations, with Mom and Dad mixing and mingling alongside your best friends. You’ll want to play music that both groups either know or can appreciate. And because the whole purpose of this get-together is to celebrate your big newswith friends and family, you’ll probably want to stick to tunes that neither distract from conversation nor overpower it. Music isn’t a must, but it’s worthwhile thinking about, especially if you’re having a party at home.
Ice breakers aren’t a must either, but if “get to know you” is part of the purpose, a little game or two, like a scavenger hunt or bride and groom trivia, can be fun, particularly if the group is smallish and teams can bring together family members from opposite sides. Not an activity, but something my bride tribe planned for our engagement party was a table with little notecards that guests could write their best marriage advice on – something I kept as a memory and still have today 12 years later! Here’s a few other ideas too:
Hunt the Ring
Hide fake engagement rings somewhere around the venue – whether it’s giant faux-sparklers from Claire’s Accessories or fake ones from Oriental Trading Company– and instruct your guests to find as many as they can in a set time frame. The winner is the one with the most rings.
Set up a traditional ring toss game, but customize all the rings with cardboard diamonds so they look like giant engagement rings!
Love a good old-fashioned game of Charades? Give it a wedding-worthy twist by only allowing wedding and engagement themed films, books and shows to be acted out.
Happy Planning! Love,