Engagement Party Etiquette

A couple at their engagement party blowing conftetti off of their hands.

Celebrating your engagement is one of the first fun things to do after putting a ring on it. There’s no right or wrong way to throw a party, but it can get overwhelming if you aren’t careful. Remember you’ll soon be in all-out wedding planning mode, so an engagement party should be fun without much stress. However, we’ve got a few things to keep in mind when it comes to engagement party etiquette.

The Host

Traditionally, an engagement party is thrown by the bride’s folks. But these days, it’s all about who steps up to the plate and insists they host the party for you. If no one starts the planning process, you can even throw it together as a couple. An engagement party doesn’t have to be a crazy, huge shindig—you can reserve that for your wedding. An engagement party is all about celebrating the couple going to the chapel in a casual way. Just have fun with it!

The Date

Most couples chose to have an engagement party soon after their engagement. You don’t want to throw a party too close to the wedding or it will all seem to blend together. Start the magic of the wedding planning season off right by throwing a party soon after the ring is on your finger. Everyone is excited and ready to help you start wedding planning, so it’s the perfect time. This also helps you get started with the planning process as you look at who you want to invite and the style you want for your actual wedding. It all gets the ball rolling as the wedding planning journey starts.

Whom to Invite

A group of friends with confetti at a rooftop engagement party.

The golden rule when it comes to the engagement party is don’t invite anyone you’re not inviting to the wedding. Odds are an engagement party is going to be filled with close friends and family so you’ll be in the clear, but if you start going crazy inviting random friends of friends and co-workers who you don’t think will make the cut to the wedding guest list, that’s when you can get in trouble. If after attending your engagement party they expect an invite to your wedding and never receive it, there may be some confusion and hurt feelings. The only exception would be if you plan on having a very small wedding, but still want to celebrate the engagement in a big way. If you do this, just make sure that everyone knows all about it, so they aren’t expecting a formal invite to the actual wedding ceremony. Many couples actually chose to have a big engagement bash in celebration and a small, more intimate wedding.

Gift Etiquette

A woman greeting a friend with a bottle of wine as a gift at an engagement party.

Gifts for an engagement party are a bit of a gray area. Most guests figure they’ll be giving you a wedding gift or even a separate bridal shower gift, so an engagement gift can push the limits of just how much you really need to give someone who’s getting married. With that said, some guests chose to register before the engagement party just in case people do want to give them a gift and need a place to start. Try to set gifts aside if guests do bring them so the guests who didn’t bring gifts don’t feel awkward about it. While most people know gifts to an engagement party aren’t expected, some will feel the need.

The Party Style

You can have whatever type of engagement party you wish because it’s your party, but there’s a few things to keep in mind when choosing the style. You need to think of your budget and how it co-exists with your wedding. If you choose a more formal party, you’ll want to go with printed invitations that you send in the mail. If you choose a casual party, you can send invites via email. You can have the engagement party at a restaurant, or have a pizza party in your apartment—it’s up to what you feel comfortable with and what the budget allows. Just don’t feel pressured to make it a fancy event if you don’t want to.

The Attire for the Bride and Groom

The attire should match the type of party you chose. If you decide to have a formal engagement party, dress to the nines. If you decide to have a backyard barbecue, dress casually. Most couples chose to do a laid-back engagement party and leave the wedding for all of the fancy styling. Breaking out the best jewels for an engagement bash isn’t traditional, but there truly aren’t many rules. The only real rule to follow is to stand out as a couple because you two are the stars of the show.

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