Hi, loves! Emma here. Are you newly engaged and wondering how to plan an engagement party? Or do you know a newly engaged bride-to-be who would love an engagement party of her own? You’ve come to the right place.
Planning an engagement party itself isn’t tricky; the tough part is getting started. That’s why you have us to help! We’ll tell you the most-asked questions on how to throw an engagement party with the who, what, why, where, and how you need to know to take your engagement party to the next level.
Plan an Engagement Party: It’s Easy!
Throwing an engagement party is not hard at all. It really isn’t. It’s like other things in life: take it one step at a time. I think lots of times, wedding events can feel overwhelming to some because they’re associated with the term wedding, so it must be stressful… right?! Wrong! (P.S. Read this to keep things in perspective.) Everything wedding can be fun as long as you keep your priorities straight.
Think of an engagement party as what it really is: just a fun get-together with the bride, her future spouse, and their closest friends and family members. The reason people plan an engagement party at all is to share the happy news and bring friends and families together before the “official” festivities begin.
An engagement party can be as formal or informal as you’d like, ranging from a cocktail party and formal dinner to a backyard bbq and bonfire. Honestly, it can even be an engagement bonfire with your closest friends. ↓ (Cups from Sip Hip Hooray.)
she said yes cups by sip hip hooray // buy here
It can even be a casual party at your house with drinks and appetizers, rounded out with a theme of Stock the Bar. (Read: How to Plan a Stock the Bar Engagement Party.)
by just simply l // buy here
An engagement party is not a requirement; not all couples have an engagement party and you’re not expected to. However, an engagement party is a fun way to celebrate a couple’s engagement and get families and friends all together to meet and mingle before the nuptials.
engagement ring by artemer // buy here
Planning an engagement party is pretty easy, really! Think of it as a small intimate party with the couple’s closest friends and family members. Throw in some cute invitations, take-home favors (these are perfect), add food and drinks, and your engagement party will be spectacular.
One thing to remember: no engagement party is complete without festive engagement party decorations. We love this giant engagement ring balloon (from Just Simply L)…
… these “pop the bubbly” cocktail napkins (also from Just Simply L)…
how to throw an engagement party // napkins by just simply l // buy here
… and a personalized banner (from The Banner Company):
how to plan an engagement party // banner by the banner company // buy here
If you’re having a cake (as they say, a party without cake is just a meeting), add a cute topper to it (like this “We’re Engaged” topper from Glitter Topper):
by glitter topper
Anyways, that’s the short-version. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper into how to plan an engagement party with the top most-asked questions — answered! We’ll talk about who hosts an engagement party, when to throw an engagement party, where to have it, etc.
Who hosts an engagement party?
Traditionally, the bride’s parents or groom’s parents host an engagement party (but they can co-host the event, too). For a more informal engagement party, friends or relatives can throw an engagement party for a couple, but it is encouraged to wait until after the official formal engagement party to do so. The couple can host their own engagement party, if they prefer. There are no rules!
When is an engagement party held? How close is the engagement party to the wedding date?
An engagement party is typically held nine to twelve months before the wedding. Guests should receive invitations at least one-month before the engagement party.
Where should an engagement party be held?
If you’re getting married in your hometown, and friends and family live nearby, a local engagement party is perfect. If you live out of state (and your wedding is being held there), have a party on your (new) home turf and another in your home town, if you wish. However, this rule applies: wedding guests or wedding party attendants should not expected to attend if it is out-of-state, since they’ll be expected to travel for the wedding itself. Wedding etiquette dictates you shouldn’t expect people to travel to an engagement party and your wedding. If they can come — great! If not, it’s really not worth fretting over. In terms of venue, a backyard, house, restaurant, or bar are a few perfect places for an engagement party.
(See: how to plan a stock the bar engagement party for theme-specific tips!)
Does the couple register for gifts before the engagement party? Are guests expected to bring gifts?
Gifts are not expected at an engagement party. A guest can give a gift if he or she wishes to, but it is certainly not an expectation.
If you do register before the wedding, guests can shop from this list if they wish, but you should never include the registry information on the engagement party invitation. (If guests want to give a gift, they’ll ask your parents where/if you are registered, or look up your name at particular stores. No need to mention anything about gifts on the invitation.) And if you do plan to register, make sure you read this.
If guests do wish to bring a gift to an engagement party, here are some top picks for engagement gifts!
Who gets invited to an engagement party?
If the engagement party is informal and hosted by friends, there is no set rule on who should be invited (since they won’t really know who is on your wedding guest list yet). However, if you or your parents are hosting an engagement party, invite only those who are also going to be invited to the wedding. This is one reason why you may want to keep your engagement party fairly small, since you might not have the guest list nailed down yet.
backdrop by paperramma // buy here
The engagement party is a great time to announce your bridal party and/or ask bridesmaids and groomsmen to be in your wedding. We love these “will you be my bridesmaid” cards from Cricket Printing (you can pair them with any of these sweet be my bridesmaid gift ideas, too):
by cricket printing
Do you need to send formal engagement party invitations?
No, formal invitations are not required. Engagement party invitations should be simple. You can even email invitations, if you prefer. If you’re sending invitations in the mail, the colors or style do not need to coordinate with the wedding (since the colors or theme probably aren’t even picked out yet).
by dunkirk designs
If you do send invitations, you should coordinate the invitation style with the type of engagement party being thrown such as a cocktail party, outdoor bbq bash, etc. so guests can determine formality of attire.
What should the bride and groom wear to an engagement party? What do guests wear?
The bride should wear attire that coordinates with the location of the engagement party. For instance, if it is a cocktail party at a restaurant, the bride can wear a cocktail dress. (For suggestions, check out these cocktail dresses.)
Here’s an example of a short white dress with cap sleeves and illusion lace. It is ideal for an engagement party and can also be worn to your wedding shower. By Adrianna Papell. Buy yours here.
by adrianna papell
I love this short sleeveless / eyelash lace sheath dress. By Tiana B. Buy it here.
engagement party dress // by tiana b. // buy it here
Outdoor bbq? A white sundress is a perfect option. This white eyelet dress is a beautiful summertime dress. By Lark & Ro. Buy yours here.
by lark & ro
I’m pretty obsessed with lace lately… can you tell? ;) This lace white dress has a fit-and-flare style and a sweetheart neckline. By Poshsquare. Buy yours here.
This long sleeve white lace dress is another fantastic option, especially for fall. By Patty Boutik. Buy yours here.
by patty boutik
If you don’t want to wear white, gold is another great option. Here’s a beautiful dress we found:
by adrianna papell
And I love this puffy sleeve cocktail dress! By LAUNDRY by Shelli Segal. Buy here.
by laundry by shelli segal // buy here
The groom should dress in the same formality as the bride: a suit & tie for a formal setting or dress pants and a button-down shirt for a more casual location. Guests can wear a dress or skirt for a more formal affair, or jeans and a nice top for an outdoor bbq style. The theme dictates the attire for an engagement party.
Should you send thank you notes after an engagement party?
Yes, the couple should send thank you notes to guests after the engagement party to thank them for attending. If a guest gave a gift, be sure to include a thank you for the gift in your note.
P.S. Did you like this article on how to plan an engagement party? Do you have any additional questions? Tell us in the comments below!