After you get engaged, the first time you get to really celebrate will be at your engagement party. Engagement parties can be very exciting and a great way to get both families and friends together before the wedding day. Use this celebration as your excuse to relax and enjoy your engagement before the wedding planning craziness happens. This engagement party checklist will outline all the things you need to make sure your party goes off without a hitch!
Create a Budget
Just like everything else you plan, a budget is important. Creating the budget at the very beginning of planning will help you with almost all the decisions you will make while planning.
Decide who is Hosting
You can choose whoever you want to host, even if it's yourself! If you do decide on someone other than yourself to host, make sure you set expectations for the party and how involved you want to be in planning.
Set a Date
After you find a host, you need to choose when this party is going to happen. Typically, engagement parties are two to three months after the couple's engagement. If you have important guests you want there (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.), run the tentative date, or dates, you have by them to make sure they will make it.
Make a Guest List
Engagement parties are typically smaller parties, with both sides of the family and close friends. The party is a great chance for these people to get to know each other in a more relaxed environment before the wedding. Make sure you only invite people you plan on inviting to the wedding.
Choose a Theme
Engagement parties do not have to match the theme of the couple’s wedding. You can use this party to plan something the complete opposite of the wedding if that’s what you want. Find something you love, whether that’s a garden party, a backyard barbeque, or an upscale evening party. Deciding on a theme can also help you to choose the venue.
Choose a Venue
The venue you choose will depend on the size of the guest list and the theme/vibe you want. Make sure you consider the budget when picking out the venue. You can host this party really anywhere the couple wants: A restaurant, an event space near you, someone’s backyard, or even your own home!
Create your Registry
It’s never too early to start creating your wedding registry. While you might not load the registry up with tons of items quite yet, having a handful of options would be great for those who do want to gift you something at the engagement party. Remember, gifts are not required for this party, but some guests may want to gift something.
Send out Invitations
Engagement party invitations can be as simple or bougie as you want them to be. These invitations do not have to match the wedding colors or theme, they can be whatever the couple wants. You can make them yourself, use a website (like zazzle) to order them, or send out an e-vite.
Choose the Decorations
Decorations will depend a lot on the theme you chose and the venue the party will be held at. Again, decorations can be whatever you want: simple or over-the-top. Focus on things like balloons, tablecloths, flowers, banners, signs, and any small personalized details the couple may want like custom cupcake toppers, cocktail napkins, drink menus, etc.
Food and Drink Menu
If you are keeping your party on the casual side, you can do a potluck or provide food yourself. If you have a large guest list, consider hiring someone to cater the event. If you are catering, reach out to your local companies at least four weeks in advance to make sure they are available for your date. You will also need drinks: non-alcoholic, cocktails, beer, wine, and champagne. You can do all of these drinks or just some, it is all up to you.
Choose the Activities
Engagement parties are meant to celebrate the couple, but adding activities is always a fun idea. You can do couple's trivia, wedding bingo, or even some traditional lawn games. There doesn’t need to be a ton of activities, but having two or three can help keep the party going.
Decide on Music
Music is not a must at engagement parties (maybe at mine, but that doesn’t mean it has to be at yours). However, I think this is something everyone should consider, especially if planning the party at home. You can keep it simple and make a playlist on Apple Music or Spotify. Make sure you have a speaker and bluetooth. We recommend keeping the music low, so everyone can still talk, but the music can fill any silent moments there might be.
Are you planning your engagement party? Let us know where you plan to host it in the comments!