So you have gotten the ring! Congrats! Now here is a small history lesson in wedding etiquette. Traditionally speaking the bride’s parents usually host the engagement party. If they are unable to it usually defaults to the groom’s parents. However times have changed, so these rules do not necessarily apply. Maybe the parents live far away or maybe there are awkward family dynamics that make that impossible. Any friend of the happy couple can host the engagement party, just be certain that you are not stepping on anyone’s toes.
I would strongly suggest if you want to host the engagement party to speak with the parents and the newly engaged couple to make sure there is not a plan already in place. Once you have the blessing from the couple and their family then you can start planning for the party.
First and foremost you must select the date. It is important to coordinate everyone’s calendars. Obviously the couple and their family members and any other “VIP” guests must be able to attend.
Location, Location, Location. The party can really be held anywhere, but you should really pick a location that reflects the couple and their style. Choose a location that has significant meaning for the couple. The party can be as casual or formal as you want. I can’t stress enough to stay true to the couple’s style, it is not about you or what you think it should be.
Budget – create one and stick to it! Sit down and outline – invitations, food, beverages, décor, entertainment and come up with a realistic estimate. There are ways to control cost, such as hosting the party at home, serving just desserts or hors d’oevres and cocktails. Just make certain that you state in the invitation what the evening will entail so that guests can plan appropriately.
Guest List – typically you will create the list with the soon to be bride and groom. The people who usually attend the engagement party will be the people who are in the bridal party and close friends and family who will also attend the wedding.
Invitations – these are far less informal then wedding invitations. However, be certain that you proof read them before printing and sending them out to your guests.
Food & Beverage – depending on what theme you have selected will usually help dictate what you choose to serve at the party. If it is casual and in your home, you can opt for a casual potluck where everyone brings a dish. Or you can have the event catered, leaving the food up to the professionals. As for drinks, consider keeping it simple with ice water, ice tea, coffee, beer and wine for toasting. Remember lots of ice.
Toasts – traditionally, the father of the bride will lead and toast followed by the groom. However you can open it to anyone who would like to say a few words as well.
Optional Items – Flowers and décor, entertainment and photographer. Depending on budget and location, you can create simple centerpieces to add to the evening. Also you can arrange for entertainment if you desire. If you do not hire a professional photographer be sure to assign a family member or friend to take photos throughout the night.
Gifts – despite what some people think, gift giving is not mandatory at an engagement party. Do not be offended if people do not bring gifts, at the same time it is “tacky” to include registry information in the engagement party invitation.
If you have any questions regarding planning your perfect wedding contact Perfect Fairytale Endings. Remember every initial consultation is complimentary!
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