The engagement party is the kick starter for all your wedding festivities, so it’s understandable if you want to go all out and have a real blast. But while engagement parties are a great way to mark the start of a new chapter in life, they’re also the start of all the trickiness that comes with planning wedding events.
Let’s go over some engagement party dos and don’ts to keep in mind when hosting one!
Do: Invite the Right People
Nothing is more difficult than deciding who you want to invite to your wedding. You don’t want to have to add to your costs by inviting people you don’t even get along with, but you also don’t want to create an awkward situation when you meet them later.
Still, if you want your engagement party to go smoothly, you have to make the decision. From the food and the venue size to the engagement party invitations, adding more people to the guest list just keeps piling on the costs.
As a rule, don’t invite anyone to your engagement party who you wouldn’t invite to your wedding. Make sure to discuss the guest list with your partner to make sure you’re on the same page, and try to keep it minimal. Save the real guest list for the actual wedding.
Don’t: Make It Your First Family Meeting
If you haven’t met your partner’s parents yet – or vice versa – and are planning on doing it at the engagement, think again!
No matter how much you love each other, there is never any guarantee that your family will get along with your partner as well as you do. If you hold off on the meeting until the engagement, you may potentially be setting yourself up for a really awkward situation in front of all your guests.
If you haven’t had the meeting yet, schedule a date before the engagement. Pick a neutral location like a restaurant where you can have a peaceful conversation and discuss matters. It’ll save you from a load of embarrassment at the engagement party.
Do: Have Virtual Attendance
Everything’s going remote now, and no wonder! We live in a global village and the pandemic has changed everything. All of that just means we have a lot more tech at our disposal to carry out virtual events.
Of course, you don’t – and shouldn’t! – have to keep the entire engagement party virtual, but you can have a virtual component as an option. This way, you’ll be able to have friends and family from all over the world attend your engagement party without missing out on anything. Send out a Zoom or Google Meets link, and everyone who can’t physically be there can still join in on the festivities.
And the best part is that it doesn’t add to your party costs at all!
Don’t: Splurge on Costs
You may be tempted to go all out and have a real blast of an engagement party. Since it’s the first of many wedding events, you’d be excited and want to start off strong. As natural as that is, remember that you do have all sorts of events coming up.
Don’t splurge too much on your engagement party! Do just enough to make sure everything looks nice and your guests have fun, but keep the real spending for your wedding day. A larger part of your budget should be dedicated to the real event, instead of just the preliminaries.
Do: Minimize the Entertainment
Unless your idea of an engagement party is a rave with your friends, keep the entertainment to a minimum. The point of an engagement party is to let your friends and family know about the decision to get married, and allow everyone to talk and get to know each other. It can be hard to do that if there’s loud music and dancing.
Don’t: Expect Gifts
Getting gifts is definitely a perk of the whole wedding process, but it’s not very good etiquette to expect them at your engagement party. Many of your engagement party guests will likely also be attending your wedding, and it can be a bit much to expect presents twice.
You can have a no-gift policy specified on the invitations to take the pressure off your guests. Still, some may want to bring presents, so you can set up your wedding website and registry beforehand to accommodate them.
Do: Keep it Casual
Of course, it’s up to you to decide what kind of engagement party you want to have, but typically, they are a more informal affair. Engagement parties allow people to mingle, talk, and get to know each other, which can be difficult to do at a formal event. Let your guests walk around and eat as they make conversation.
Not only is it a lot easier to plan, but it’s also more fun for everyone involved.
Do: Send Thank You Notes!
Don’t forget to say thank you to everyone who came to your engagement party! It can be a nice gesture to send out handwritten thank you notes but in the digital age, a (personalized!) thank you email is also an option. Whatever you go for, make sure you let the guests know you appreciate them taking time out to attend your party.