The engagement party. An exciting evening of celebration often overlooked in the wedding events calendar. Passed off as an extra event that couples don't wish to plan, we're here to revive the wonderful event with our easy guide to planning the perfect engagement party.
There are plenty of good reasons why to add an engagement party to your wedding celebrations calendar. Maybe you're doing an intimate destination wedding and would like to celebrate with a larger group of local friends? Or perhaps you're planning a traditional ceremony and would like to take this opportunity to modernize your engagement party.
Another plus of choosing to do an engagement party is that it gives you an opportunity to test out potential wedding vendors. Hire a planner to make the event stress-free for you. Pick out floral arrangements from a local florist in the style you might want for your wedding day. Hire a photographer to capture this exciting moment.
Detailed Touch Events, who planned this beautiful engagement party, gave us their top tip for planning your own celebration:
“My main tip would be – this is the time to really make your event extra personalized and all about the two of you as a couple, especially if you prefer to keep your wedding day aesthetic more traditional.”
So, how do you plan an engagement party? Here's our ten-step guide…
1. Decide who is hosting: you or family and friends?
This is an all-important detail. If you decide to host your engagement party the fun details and more practical organization is in your hands. Be sure you have the time and wherewithal to take this on in addition to your planning your wedding. Alternatively, ask a family member or friend to host and you can sit back and relax. Of course, in this case, you have to be ready to relinquish control over various details.
2. Determine your budget.
Before you book or buy anything for your engagement party, determine your budget. We recommend downloading our free wedding budget spreadsheet. This way you can see how much money you have available for your engagement party within your overall wedding budget.
3. Book a venue and planner (if necessary).
Backyard or restaurant? Large event venue or public beach? Find the perfect place to celebrate your engagement and make sure it allows for the things you might want: catering, alcoholic beverages, certain curfews and more. Booking a wedding planner first, if you can swing it, might open some doors to great venue spaces you may not already know about. And perhaps, this may be a great trial run for hiring them to plan your upcoming wedding as well!
4. Decide on gifts.
While engagement gifts are phasing out, some guests may want to give you something in celebration. Before you send out your invitation determine your gifting strategy. Would you like to include a link to a cash or wedding registry on your invites? Perhaps you plan to ask guests to gift to a favorite charity in your name? Or, maybe you don't want gifts at all. You can state that on your invitations clearly.
5. Send out invitations.
Already know who you want to design your wedding invites? Ask your wedding stationer to add engagement party invitations to your wedding suite. This will make every party invite a beautiful and cohesive set. However, if you haven't gotten that far, digital invitations are a great way to go. Browse our favorite places to buy paper and digital invitations.
6. Put together a decor mood board.
Whether you're working with an event planner or DIYing it, it's time to put together an engagement party Pinterest board. Organize all your favorite florals, decor and details., we've got 50 incredible engagement party decoration ideas here to kickstart your inspiration. This will serve as your inspiration for when you, your friends and family, your planner and florist style your engagement party.
7. Plan the menu.
Engagement parties are most often an evening affair. Whether that means a cocktail hour, dinner or late-night bash you're going to need to plan for food and drink. Test out a potential wedding caterer, cake baker and local spirits provider. If you've planned your party at a bar or restaurant, even better. Your catering task will be a simple one.
8. Hire a photographer.
Planning to book engagement photos? Why not use your engagement party as the moment! Most wedding photographers will offer extra event add-ons in their wedding packages. So, if you have a dream wedding photographer in mind this is a great way to get accustomed to each other and add to the entire wedding album in the end.
9. Choose your florals.
Test out a local florist or buy bundles of flowers yourself. Your engagement party is an amazing chance to dive straight into the world of wedding florals. This is especially fun if your engagement party takes place in a different season from your wedding – you can incorporate favorite flowers that may not be available then.
Want to test your hands at some DIY wedding centerpieces? Use this tutorial to create gorgeous floral centerpieces. The experience will show you if you're practiced enough to DIY the flowers again on your wedding day.
10. Shop for the perfect outfit.
We save the best advice for last: it's time to shop for the perfect engagement party outfit. If you want to go all-white (you know, to show off you're the bride) we have short wedding dresses, killer bridal pantsuits, and affordable jumpsuits, too! Our friend and wedding planner Sneh Diwan has shared some gorgeous non-traditional South Asian wedding dresses, in case you want to go modern for your engagement party and traditional for the wedding.
Trying to get things organized? Shop our faovirte wedding planners, journals, calendars and organizers.