Planning An Engagement Party

So Now You’re Engaged!
(take a moment to bubble over with excitement again)




He (or she) just asked you to spend the rest of your life with them, in a moment filled with joy, tears, (and the want to jump up and down screaming “finally”)!

If any of you are like me, you immediately want to tell closest friends and family, but do it before posting all over social media. There’s nothing worse than your mom or best friend finding out in a social media post rather than an excited phone call, or even a surprise visit in person!
Trust me, hold off on the social media, tell those that you can immediately see being in your bridal party, and your immediate family, then go nuts with your 700+ friends!

Then what, where do we even start planning, what appointments do we make first?
We breathe, and we bask in the golden glow of newly-engaged for a while.
Close friends and family will want to celebrate you and your significant other every single time they see you, and you should embrace it! People love you as much as you love each other, and nothing is more exciting than a very good friend’s wedding!

The first step is to have an engagement party.




Who To Invite & Delegating a Host

Brides, (yes, you’re brides now!) it’s okay to let go of the engagement party, and delegate a host.
Typically this is the grooms parents, as the wedding is usually hosted by the brides parents.
Take this opportunity to make the mother of the groom feel like she has a part to play, as the mother of the bride will be handling most other pre wedding events (the bridal shower, dress appointments, and typically the bill).
Handing over the hosting of the party doesn’t mean you lose control either.
Take the opportunity to spend more time with your soon-to-be-mother-in-law with the planning. It will help you get to know each other in a new way than you have before!
If you’re not too keen on having the mother of the groom, or that’s not a possibility for other reasons, consider asking your maid of honor.
I’m SURE that you’ve already considered who your right hand lady, or gentleman, will be. This is an opportunity for them to show you how they can handle the responsibility and that you can work well together as a team!

Don’t invite anyone to the engagement party that you don’t plan on seeing on wedding day. It’s a huge social mistake we see too often.
My suggestion is to (try to) limit this guest list to a few dozen or so. This is the first night you’re celebrating your engagement and you’re going to want to spend a little time with every guest, gushing about how absolutely perfect the proposal was, and going over preliminary wedding ideas with your bridal party!




Selecting Dates

Try picking a date for the engagement party that’s not too far away from the date you actually got engaged. It’s much more exciting and climactic while everyone is still stunned and excited for you as well.
I suggest to try and stay within two or three months of the actual engagement, so you can spend some time relaxing afterwards, and slowly easing yourself into the wedding planning process.
The engagement party is a nice time to announce a date for the wedding as well, or what you hope will be the date.
Don’t get too hung up on needing a solid date, as things may change if your dream venue is booked already, or your favorite photographer is out of town.
Don’t worry, adjustments can be made, but even giving guests a month to look forward to is a nice thing.



Mix up the Menu

Your engagement party is coming up fast (only about two months, remember?) so you don’t want to go crazy formal with the menu.
Mix things up with a heavy cocktail hour with awesome stationary hors d’oeuvres, or plan an “I Do BBQ” depending on the time of year.
I suggest making the engagement party intimate, and try and play up things you know you won’t want to do on the big day (just because it will be a more formal affair).
Perhaps book a smaller private event space, or even have a caterer come to someone’s home if there’s enough space!
Don’t be afraid to get something totally different and easy, like a build your own steam-bun station or two blended buffet set-ups from different cultural backgrounds!
(For example – we had a bride that was of an Asian background, and a groom that was from down south, so we had a back-to-back buffet with Asian inspired pub food mixed with pulled pork and traditional BBQ. Such a beautiful blend of flavors and cultures! Love spreads to food!)



Handling Gifts

This may not seem like a big deal to have to think about, but trust me, gifts and what to do about them will come up VERY frequently during the wedding planning process.
It’s a delicate balance between not “gifting-out” your guests, and not allowing them to shower you with the love they want to.
It’s going to happen no matter what, and no matter how awkward you may feel about receiving gifts (I know I had a hard time with it), they WANT to give you gifts. Lots of them, and you should certainly take them.
The bridal shower is pretty much all about gift giving (you shower the bride (and fiancé) with gifts), and take that opportunity to make an awesome registry with your fiancé and get some things that you’ll love to maybe outfit that new house!
The wedding gifts are typically cards, and money to be used for the honeymoon, (or to pay off those wedding bills!)
It’s absolutely okay to add “Please no gifts, just your company” or something of the like to your engagement party invites.
Perhaps take this opportunity to give gifts to the people in both bridal and groomsman parties, and formally ask them to join you and your fiancé!



Toasts and Well Wishes

Just as with the wedding day and rehearsal dinner, bust out that champagne!
(Is there ever a time you shouldn’t?)
Ask some people if they’d like to give toasts. Perhaps the fathers of the bride and groom, and whomever hosted the party. It would also be a nice time for the groom to give a small speech, as neither the bride or groom typically give speeches on wedding day.
Allow people to tell you how happy they are for you, and again, use any chance to bust out the bubbly!




Enjoy being engaged, and worry about getting into wedding planning after the engagement party.
Take the time to bask in that glow, and if I have one piece of advice I wish I had followed,
let people pamper you and be over-excited for you. They want to, and let them!


xoxo – Savannah Pearman!

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