Date: 3/21/2013 1:51 PM PDT
Learn Engagement Party Etiquette
Kick off your journey down the
road to wedded bliss with an engagement party that gets your family and friends
mingling with your fiancé's nearest and dearest. Start your celebration off
right with these preparation tips.
How should I decide on my guest list?
Round up your favorite people
to share in your joy at this pre-wedding bash.
- Include your parents. If your parents and
your fiancé haven't already met, get them together before the engagement party
so they can start welcoming each other to the family.
- Wedding guests only. It's best not to
invite anyone to your engagement party who isn't invited to the wedding, so
now's the time to start hashing out the guest list.
- Pick the essential people. Engagement parties
are typically smaller than wedding ceremonies, so choose the most important
people from your list.
- Throw another party. If you simply can't
see your granny partying with your college pals, you can hold separate parties
for family and friends. Relatives and friends alike will want to meet your
wedding attendants, so if you've chosen them already, invite them to all
Who hosts the engagement party?
The bride's parents get first dibs on throwing an engagement party, but you and your fiancé can also choose to host your own. Any other friends or family members who feel an overwhelming urge to give a party in your honor can do so -- assuming you're up for another round of congratulations.
How should I invite guests to my engagement party?
It's always a good idea to send
invitations so guests can keep track of your party's vital statistics. Notify
guests at least a month in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Stay on a budget. Remember that you have a multitude of parties on the horizon. Save up now so you can spend more on the main event.
- Buy from the shelf. To save money, you
can buy preprinted invites from a card shop and fill in your party information.
- Make your own. Buy pretty printer
paper and print the invitations from your computer, or brush up on your
arts-and-crafts skills and make them by hand. You can even go high-tech and
send email invites for an informal engagement party.
In what order should I introduce guests?
Many of your guests will be
meeting each other for the first time, so be a gracious hostess and introduce
them properly. Traditionally, you should introduce any members of the clergy
first. From there, the order of introductions is based on age, and women before
men. When you're introducing two people whose ages you don't know, introduce
the one who's closer to you first -- for instance, your best friend would
precede a co-worker.
Get your family and friends almost as excited about your wedding
as you are by rounding them up for a fun-filled engagement party, then let the
wedding festivities begin!
Plan Your Engagement Party With Precision
When planning your engagement
party, you'll need to consider everything from food to formality.
Sit down with your fiancé and come up with a guest list. Make sure
you only invite those people who you plan on inviting to the wedding. Consider
family, friends, co-workers and obligatory invites.
Depending on the formality and size of your party, you can e-mail,
fax or phone your engagement party invitations. However, the most popular way
is still via the postal system. Consider
using pre-printed invitations and simply fill in your information. This is a
very budget-friendly option. Make sure you send your invitations two to four
weeks before the party. It's best to allow a month so that out-of-town guests
can make travel and lodging arrangements.
While a theme isn't necessary, it's a lot of fun and is helpful
when planning your party. If you have a theme, you can plan the invitations,
food, music and entertainment around it. Theme ideas include:
- Costume parties
- Victorian themes
- Sock hops
What kind of food should we serve?
You can coordinate the food with the theme. If you're having a
hoedown, why not serve barbecue and corn on the cob? If you host your party at
a private club or a hotel, you may be forced to use their food, so ask what
choices they offer. Remember, a buffet is less expensive and more
party-friendly for mingling.
Where should we have the party?
Location is very important, so consider all of your choices before
deciding. Here are some options:
If the location you choose is out of the way or is hard to find,
make sure to include a map with your invitations.
What sort of entertainment should we have?
Music is a must. If you don't want to go all out and hire a band
or a DJ, why not recruit one of your funny and bold friends to spin the night
away? It'll be a blast! If your party is formal, you might opt for a harpist, a
jazz trio or a saxophonist to provide beautiful background music for your
This depends on your beliefs, budget and guest list. Consider all three before offering alcoholic beverages. If you do provide alcohol, you also should provide transportation home for tipsy guests.
Think About Engagement Party Basics
Congratulations! You're engaged.
Now, it's time to celebrate your good news with an engagement party. Planning
this celebration can be a piece of cake if you follow these simple gala
Why should we have an engagement party?
You have this soirée to:
- Share the news of your
upcoming nuptials with your future wedding guests.
- Introduce your families to each other.
- Celebrate before settling down for serious wedding planning.
If your parents haven't yet met your fiancé's parents, you might
want to introduce them before the party takes place. Suggest that everyone meet
at your favorite restaurant or set up a three-way phone call if one set of
parents lives far away.
When should our engagement party take place?
Etiquette gurus say that an engagement party should take place no
later than two months after the big announcement. If you're planning a long
engagement, you may want to rethink this suggestion. Shoot for a celebration
about one year before your wedding date.
Anyone can throw an engagement party, but tradition dictates that
the bride's parents should host the first one. The groom's parents can throw
their own party later, or the two can come together to host the fête jointly.
Nowadays, the couple tying the knot can even throw their own
engagement party. You can make your party as formal or casual as you like. You
can host a BBQ or rent out a restaurant. Whatever works with your budget
and your personalities.
How much should we spend on the engagement party?
This depends on your budget. Remember, this is just the beginning
of your wedding festivities, so you'll have a lot of financial responsibilities
within the next year. If you're working on a tight budget, invite only your
closest friends to a party at your home. If you feel like you need to include
everyone, have a more informal get-together at a restaurant or bar where guests
can pay for themselves. Just be sure to make the situation clear to your guests
ahead of time.
Will our guests bring us gifts?
Your guests aren't required to bring gifts to your engagement party, but that doesn't mean they won't! You may want to go ahead and start your bridal registry to guide your guests in the right direction.
Announce Attendants at Your Engagement Party
If you've already selected bridesmaids and groomsmen, your
engagement party can be the perfect time to reveal your choices. Everyone's
already gathered together and in a celebratory mood, so the stage is set to
honor these special people.
How should I
prepare to announce my attendants?
Ask those you've chosen for
your wedding party if they'd be willing to serve in that capacity before you
make it official. As bridesmaids, your friends and family members will be
signing on for a number of responsibilities and expenses. They'll surely be
honored by your request, but respect their right to turn you down if they don't
have the resources. To avoid an awkward situation for everyone, run your plan
by them in advance.
How can I
help the announcement go well?
Choosing your wedding party is
a fun but sometimes touchy process. Plan in advance to help your newly selected
attendants receive a warm reception from the rest of your engagement party
- Be considerate. Of course you can't ask everyone you know to be in your wedding
party, but consider who might expect to be included and take their feelings
into account. If some close family members or friends aren't on your list,
consider making your introductions at a dinner for members of the wedding party
- Provide alternatives. Before the party, ask friends you weren't able to include as
attendants to participate in the ceremony in a different way -- such as
singing, reading or handing out programs.
- Calm their nerves. If some of your bridesmaids are shy, this public announcement
might make them uncomfortable. Let them know your plans beforehand so they
won't feel put on the spot. Be respectful of their feelings, but remind them
that they'll have to stand in front of all those people and more on your
wedding day, so the engagement party might be a good time to practice being in
I include in my introductions?
Set the tone for a close-knit
wedding party with thoughtful introductions of each of your attendants.
- Explain your relationship. This is your chance to tell everyone why the people you've
selected are so special. When you introduce each attendant, explain her
relationship to you and include a brief story about why she's an important part
of your life.
- Highlight your choices. Compliment each of your bridesmaids on a distinctive trait -- a
flair for writing or cooking finesse, for instance. This will make your
attendants feel appreciated from day one and help them get to know one another.
- Bring them all together. Introduce your bridesmaids to each other, as well as to the
groomsmen, your parents, your future in-laws and anyone else they'll need to
know as the planning progresses. This is especially useful if any of your
attendants are from out of town and won't get many opportunities to see the
other major players in your wedding before the ceremony.
Introducing your attendants early on will help all of the
events surrounding your wedding run more smoothly -- from the bridal shower to
the bachelorette party to the ceremony itself.