Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Party Planning
An engagement party is all about celebrating the exciting news and happy couple! It’s a chance
for family and close friends to gather and both sides of the family to get to know each other. Think
of the engagement party as a formal kickoff to wedding planning.
While an engagement party can be lots of fun, planning one out takes significant, time, effort, and
coordination. Party planning has a lot of puzzle pieces involved, so if you want to fill out the whole
puzzle without missing a piece, make sure to read the tips below on how to plan the perfect
Decide Who is Hosting
Traditionally the bride’s parents host the engagement party, but the groom’s family or friends can
also choose to host the party or contribute to the event.
Pick a Date for the Party
Three to four months after you get engaged is a good time to host your engagement party. Keep in
mind any holidays that may land on the day you choose to host. You may want to avoid hosting during
a holiday, or on the other hand, take advantage of the day off and have two celebrations at once.
Create the Guest List
Usually immediate family members from both sides are invited, including your siblings and grandparents.
Some couples choose to invite their bridal party and other friends and relatives who are close to them.
Invite only guests you plan to invite to the wedding as well. It is recommended to keep the guest list small;
this should be more of an intimate party where both sides of the family get to know each other.
Choose a Venue
Popular venue options for an engagement party range from elegant, private dining at a restaurant to a
laid-back engagement party at home or in the backyard. For a formal party, you can choose your favorite
restaurant for brunch or a fancy dinner. If you want a laid-back engagement party, a backyard barbeque,
a party on the beach, or hosting the party at home are all great options. Once you decide on the venue
and date, don’t forget to make reservations and any additional accommodations as needed.
If you’re having a formal engagement party, paper invitations are appropriate, although they are not
required. If you want a budget-friendly option, send out e-vites with a formal design or a design you love.
A few recommended websites for designing your invitation include: Minted, a great website with beautiful
designs for both online and paper invitations; Paperless Post, a website that offers unique, modern designs
in both paper and evite options, and Vistaprint, a website with budget-friendly options for paper invites.
Plan the Menu
Typically, whoever hosts the party helps with the menu planning. You’ll need to think about what appetizers,
drinks, entrees, main course dishes, and desserts to include. Choose your favorite drinks to include in the
menu as well. Your venue will help determine what types of appetizers and dishes to include.
If it’s a causal party at home, a cheese or charcuterie board is a both a delicious and presentable appetizer.
If it’s a causal party and you choose to have a potluck, have guests write down what they will bring to avoid
two types of the same salad or not having enough entrees.
For dessert, you can have something simple such as cake, donuts, or ice cream, or go more fancy with
macaroons, truffles, and you name it.
You may choose to add a cultural dish or request grandma’s homemade butter rolls. When planning the menu,
keep in mind any food allergies your guests may have and include some vegetarian options.
Decide on Décor
Add some simple décor to create a festive mood. Candles, string lights, paper lanterns, confetti, balloons,
flowers, and fresh greenery always add to any celebratory occasion. You can also choose an engagement
party banner or sign with the wedding date, a countdown until the wedding, your favorite love quote, or simply
your (the couple’s) names. Another idea is incorporating faux engagement ring napkins or faux diamonds as
part of the décor. Other simple decorations include: a banner with photos of the couple and/or a fancy welcome
sign to greet the guests.
Choose the Soundtrack in Advance
Soft, background music not only sets the mood but also hides any awkward, silent moments guests may have.
After all, some of your guests may be meeting for the first time and it can take a while to get the conversation
going. Create a list of your favorite love songs or instrumental music and have it ready to play before the party
begins. Don’t forget the speakers as well!
Decide What to Wear
A white or soft pastel dress or outfit lets everyone know that you’re the lady of the hour, but you can choose to
wear any color you like. If it’s a formal party, wear a cocktail dress and have the groom wear a suit. As the couple
of the hour, you don’t have to have matching outfits or complimentary colors, but it’ll look great in pictures. Make
sure your partner’s attire complements yours in formality, so both of you either wear a formal outfit or
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Whoever chooses to host the party will probably appreciate some help in one way or another. If you are the host,
ask your friends, the bridal party, and/or family to bring their signature dish or something sweet. If you have a friend
who is creative and great with décor, don’t be afraid to ask about décor ideas or to ask for help arranging the décor.
Don’t take the burden of setting up and decorating for the party all by yourself.
Use a Checklist
If you like checklists and marking off to-do lists, an engagement party checklist will help you stay on track. There are
many online checklists offered for free, such as this Engagement Party Checklist. Don’t forget to have fun along the way!