Throwing an Engagement Party

Celebrate your engagement in style by throwing an awesome party. Here’s our guide on how to plan the perfect soiree. 

A guide to throwing the perfect engagement party with friends and family

It’s official! You’ve said yes and now all of the fun and planning can begin. However, before you start planning your wedding, why not consider throwing an engagement party? A great idea if you plan on getting married several years down the line. 

Engagement parties were popular many years ago and may not seem like the thing to do nowadays, seeing as most weddings are a big enough, a costly enough celebration in their own rights. But there’s no reason as to why you can’t celebrate your engagement in style by throwing a party for friends and family. 

When to Thrown an Engagement Party  

You can start planning your engagement party as soon as the ring is on your finger and your engagement is official! It may take you some time to plan, but within three months of your engagement is probably a good time to have your celebration. Thing forward from there you may be wanting to start making plans for the actual wedding.

Where to Throw your Engagement Party 

There are several places to throw an engagement party, but depending on your numbers and budget, consider the below options.

At Home

If you’re only inviting a small amount of guests to your engagement party then consider a do at home. Several bottles of fizz and some nibbles could do the trick. 

At your Parents Home 

If you plan on inviting a lot of guests, including friends of your parents, then it might be nice to plan your engagement party at a family home. 

At a Cocktail Bar 

If you don’t want the hassle of throwing an engagement party at home, then think about hiring out part of a cocktail bar for your celebration. You could put a tab behind the bar and there won’t be anything to clear up at the end of the night. 

At a Restaurant 

Instead of a drinks reception for your engagement party, think about having a relaxed dinner to celebrate with family and friends. You can choose an informal affair or something more sophisticated, depending on your numbers. 

At a Wedding Venue 

If you’ve already chosen your wedding venue then consider kick-starting your wedding celebrations early by hiring a room to host your engagement party. This may be a more costly option, but if you add it to your wedding budget early then this could be a great option. 

At the Place you Met 

If you met in an unusual location or in a fun then consider hosting your engagement party there or having your party themed around the way in which you met.

Big Engagement Party Vs. Small Wedding

The subject of engagement party to wedding ratios is a taboo, but you must remember, as with most things wedding-related, that this is your big day and ultimately you must do what feels right for you! 

Traditionally as far as etiquette goes there is no right or wrong: a hostess is permitted to invite whoever she chooses to honour with good food, great company and fabulous chat. Naturally, nobody should ever feel used by being treated to a wonderful engagement party.

The same goes for gifts, no bride to be should hold any sort of party in her own honour just for the presents and the glory. An old school engagement party would go one of two ways: Either it was an intimate family gathering to allow the close members of both families to mingle or it was a general social party at which the bride and groom announced their engagement impromptu. No gifts would be given, because the guests didn’t know until the announcement that there was any engagement to celebrate.

Nowadays, in some circles, the bridal couple host their own festivities in their own honour with such events as bridal showers. An engagement party might be advertised as such in advance and guests typically expect that they must give gifts. On such occasions it’s not surprising that guests can feel used. But supposedly they can expect repayment with an extravagant food and entertainment reception they’ll receive at the main event. For that reason, anyone on whom you impose expectations of gift-giving at pre-wedding parties should be rewarded with an invitation to the main event.

Getting Married Abroad? 

If you’re getting married out of town or abroad then a big engagement can also be a good opportunity to have a party and celebrate with your wider social group. A large party is a great way to celebrate with as many people as possible even when that isn’t feasible at the actual wedding. There are tactful — even charming — ways to convey, via the invitation, that the engagement shindig is more inclusive than the wedding can possibly be. On the flip side, if you are getting married abroad and don’t have time to throw an engagement party ahead of your wedding, consider having a separate wedding party back in the UK once you’re a married couple.