You’ve just gotten engaged and you want to shout it from the rooftops—but a nice engagement party will do just fine. Whether you’re the first or the last of your friends to get engaged, throwing an engagement party is a great way to announce your betrothal and a better excuse to gather all your loved ones and pop some champagne in celebration.
Here’s how to plan the ultimate engagement party and celebrate your new engagement accordingly.
Plan the Guest List ASAP
Although it might seem hasty, if you plan on having an engagement party you really need to start thinking about a guest list quite soon after you get engaged. There’s not exactly a rule of thumb on when an engagement party should be, but you want to do it shortly after the question was popped, so it’s not too close to the wedding date. Try to plan the engagement party no more than a couple of months after you get engaged, which means that you need to have a guest list ready to go pretty quickly. Remember that this isn’t an official wedding event, so only invite really close friends and family who will be in town and will be available for a party without too much advance notice.
Decide What Kind of Party You Want to Have
An engagement party can be as fancy or as informal as you would like. It’s a chance to have a backyard barbecue or celebratory drinks at the fanciest hotel in town. The best thing about an engagement party is that there really are no rules or limitations to what you can do. Whatever kind of engagement party you decide to have, try to denote what kind of atmosphere it will be on the invitation.
Pick the Party Spot
As soon as you figure out the guest list and have decided what kind of affair you want to throw to celebrate your engagement, you’ll need to determine where the party will be held. If you’re planning on having your engagement party at a restaurant or a bar, be sure to call ahead as early as you can so that you can reserve a room or make arrangements for several tables to be put together for a party.
If you’re planning on having your engagement party at a friend or family member’s house, first check with them to see what dates and times work best for them to host. You don’t want to push their generosity by having a party at their house on a date that might not work for them. You could also host an engagement party at your own home, which is a great option if your gathering will be intimate or you’re planning on having a potluck dinner.
Wherever you decide to have your engagement party, try to lock it in as early as possible so you can send out invitations.
Send Casual Invitations
Because this is just an engagement (and not your official wedding invitations), don’t feel the need to send expensive invitations out to your guests. Paper invitations are nice, but they can also get quite expensive. If paper invitations aren’t in your budget, do something more casual like a Facebook invitation or an e-vite that you can send to your guests’ email addresses. Have older guests who aren’t too keen on paperless invites? Just give them a good old fashioned phone call informing them of the date and time.
Of course, if you want to go above and beyond and order paper invitations, just be sure to send them in plenty of time to get to your guests so they can RSVP.
Order Food and Drinks
If there’s going to be a party then there’s got to be some beverages and snacks. The food and drinks are one of the most important pieces of the engagement party so you want to order everything as early as you can. If you’re planning on cooking dinner or hosting a potluck, double check that you have enough flatware, plates, and glasses for all your guests beforehand to avoid any last-minute shopping trips.
Mingle with Everyone
An engagement party is your opportunity to announce your upcoming nuptials to the world, but it’s also a chance to get to know some of your future spouse’s friends and family members that you haven’t gotten to meet yet. When the big party day finally arrives, be sure to take the time to mingle with all of your guests (and not just grab a bunch of celebratory drinks with your inner circle of friends).
This is your opportunity to introduce family members to each other and let everyone get to know each other ahead of the wedding day in the coming months. Because it’s not as formal of an event as your wedding will be, there’s a lot less pressure and your guests should be able to have a chance to relax and have a good time.