Planning an Engagement Party 101

Engagement Party Checklist

There’s nothing more exhilarating than getting engaged and moving full steam ahead into wedding planning mode. But, don’t forget to start by planning an engagement party.

Obviously, an engagement party is not required, but it is a perfect excuse to celebrate the big news and gather close friends and family together to enjoy this milestone moment. It’s also a time to relax before shifting into high gear to plan for the big day. From engagement party catering to venue suggestions, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for tips and tricks to plan your party.

Decide Who You’re Inviting

Typically, an engagement party is a small, intimate affair, although it doesn’t have to be. Just make sure that whoever you invite to the engagement party is also invited to the wedding. Otherwise, there could be some hurt feelings and drama.

To get started with the planning process, you should consider the guest list carefully. This is because it will impact your budget, your choice of venue, and even the date of the party. The more people you choose to invite, the more moving parts to coordinate. It may be wiser to keep it small and invite only your close, current circle of friends and family–especially if you are trying to save money for your wedding. Everyone else can wait to see and congratulate the newly engaged couple on the big day.

Decide Who is Playing Host

If you’re going by tradition, the bride’s family usually plays host for the engagement party. But the new rule today is there are no rules. Ask the bride’s family where they stand and if they don’t want to host it, you can feel free to run in whatever direction suits your engagement plan best. Some families find hosting two engagement parties with both sets of parents and close friends works better. It really is up to you as a couple, the dynamics of both families, and your budget for pre-wedding festivities.

Decide When You Want to Party

You can throw an engagement party at any point before the wedding. Some couples throw a party weeks after the proposal and some couples wait as long as six months into the wedding planning. Don’t feel as though you have to rush into it. Give yourself time to enjoy being engaged, and get ideas on what kind of party you might want to have.

You may also have to take into consideration the schedules of family and friends if there are certain people you really want to be there. Once you’ve nailed down who will be attending, you can decide on the date.

Decide Where You Want to Party

After you figure out the “who” and “when,” you can move on to deciding on a location that fits your vision. Again, an engagement party can be as fancy or as low-key as you want to make it. This includes your choice of venue.

You might be a couple that prefers a backyard gathering with twinkling lights and a bonfire. Or you might be a couple that prefers a more upscale or versatile venue for this private event. Lot 8 is one such option. It’s great whether you dress the party up or down. If you have a lot of people and decided not to do small and intimate, Revel Revel is another beautiful location. It’s a San Diego event venue with a ton of character that can easily accommodate a fairly large crew of friends and fam.

Decide on Food and Decor

Your venue will help you decide on key things like food and decor. Some venues may only allow their own food or catering, while others may allow you to bring in an outside caterer and serve whatever kind of food you want at your event. It depends completely on your preferences whether you want a fancy full-course meal or delicious organic catering. Your budget may even impact the caterer you choose if you are trying to keep catering prices low. Your location will also impact your choice of decor. If your engagement party is held in a fancy barn, your decor may be rustic or romantic.

If you host your engagement party in a contemporary bar or a more modern party venue, the decor will be very different. You may want to add touches of decor that will match your wedding in style and theme. If you don’t yet know the style and theme of your wedding, that’s okay. Don’t stress too much over the engagement party as there’s plenty of time for stressing later. Enjoy yourself and this moment.

Decide Who Does What and When

Some couples really go all out with an engagement party down to hiring vendors like DJ’s and the best wedding and engagement photographers. It’s definitely a personal choice, but keeping it simple may be best so you can put that money toward the wedding day itself. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask family and friends to help. Find out who is willing and then assign them tasks you think they can do well. Then you and your spouse-to-be can be free to enjoy yourselves, mingle with everyone, and avoid unnecessary distractions from your happy celebration.

Decide What You’re Wearing

Is there ever a poor excuse to go shopping for new clothes? If so, your engagement party isn’t one of them. An engagement party is an excellent excuse to treat yourself to a new outfit and accessories. You’ll want to wear something eye-catching that stands out from the crowd but not over-the-top. And definitely, don’t wear anything inappropriate for your chosen venue and party theme. If you’re having that backyard gathering, you certainly wouldn’t need to wear a suit or a fancy dress. And if your venue of choice is more upscale, then you should dress appropriately.

Consider a Gift Registry

You don’t have to give gifts at an engagement party, but people will often bring one anyway. If you don’t want anyone bringing gifts, you should make sure that’s clear on the invitations. If you don’t mind either way, now is a great time to set up a small pre-wedding registry with items that aren’t too pricey, but you know you’ll use and want. Or you can set up a cash gift registry and ask that any gifts be cash to put toward the honeymoon.

Party Down

We hope this engagement party checklist has been helpful. Once you’ve got all your planning checklist written, it’s time to sit back, enjoy the fruits of your efforts, and celebrate! Party down and have a blast with your friends and loved ones.

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