An engagement party guide: etiquette and FAQs
It looks like a congratulations is in order! Now that your proposal has taken place, it's time to shift your focus to another exciting task; planning your engagement party. An engagement party is a wonderful excuse to get your friends and families together in one room and celebrate this monumental time in your lives. Sure, you’ll want to preserve the significance of your wedding day, however your upcoming party provides an excellent opportunity to kick off your celebrations as you mean to go on. In this engagement party guide, we dive into engagement party etiquette and offer some guidance when it comes to planning your event. From invites, to food, dresses to venues, we’ll share some of our best advice and cover some helpful FAQs.
Your engagement party - your time to shine
At this special time in your lives it’s really all about you - make the most of it! Now you’ve got your engagement ring and you’re looking forward to your upcoming engagement party, hens party, wedding and honeymoon, there are a lot of exciting times ahead. But exciting plans means lots of planning. When should your wedding be? Who is your maid of honour? Where should you go for your honeymoon?
Our best advice is - slow down! It's important to prioritise and tackle one task at a time. So, before diving into extensive future plans spanning the next two years, it's wise to first focus on organising your engagement party. Embrace this thrilling moment of being newly engaged and relish in the joy it brings! Once you've fully immersed yourself in this experience, you'll be ready to carefully contemplate the subsequent stages.
So first things first - let’s plan the perfect engagement party. Unsure where to begin or what steps to take? In this engagement party guide, we offer you all the engagement party etiquette and information you need. Give it a little read, and you’ll soon be well on your way to celebrating the exciting news with your closest loved ones.
Basic engagement party etiquette
Whether you're in the process of organising an engagement party or have only recently become engaged, it's likely that you have some questions about your upcoming party. The important thing to remember is, your engagement party is for you as a couple and so the priority should be on your enjoyment. However, there are a number of unspoken rules and traditions for engagement parties that you’ll most likely want to know more about.
Here are some common elements and things that often happen at an engagement party:
- Toasts and speeches: Seeing as you just decided to spend your lives together, you might want to commemorate the occasion with some toasts and speeches. Typically, you and your partner might say a few words, as well as your parents.
- Cake cutting: Although this is quite similar to that at a wedding reception, cutting and sharing a cake can be a symbolic gesture during the engagement party. This is totally optional and can feel too formal for some people.
- Gift-giving: Guests may bring gifts or tokens to celebrate the engagement. These gifts are typically smaller in scale compared to wedding gifts.
- Socialising and mingling: This is most likely the ultimate goal of an engagement party. It’s the perfect opportunity to introduce people to those they might see later at the wedding. Meanwhile, it gives the couple's families a chance to get to know each other better. Of course it’s also about having fun!
- Engagement announcement and photos: If you’re not much of a public speaker, you could do a brief yet official announcement of the engagement, along with sharing some engagement photos; perhaps printed or on a slideshow.
- Music and dancing: Depending on the atmosphere and preferences of the couple, there may be music and dancing to create a joyful ambiance.
- Food and drinks: Whether it's a full meal or simply some snacks, canapés and drinks, it’s common at engagement parties for the couple to provide refreshments.
- Games and activities: Although it’s not necessary, some engagement parties incorporate games or activities to entertain guests and to create a casual and lively atmosphere.
Engagement party FAQs
Your engagement party is a chance to celebrate and share the excitement of the engagement, and it’s yours to design. So as you begin to plan your party, feel free to customise the event to reflect your personal style and preferences. If you are stuck however or you need a little more information about engagement party etiquette, we’ve got you covered in the rest of this article.
First thing’s first - do you need to throw an engagement party?
Is an engagement party obligatory? Certainly not. Throwing an engagement party is of course not a mandatory part of the wedding process. Whether or not to have an engagement party is a personal choice that depends on your preferences, circumstances, and naturally your budget. Some reasons for not planning an engagement party might include; having a short period between engagement and wedding and having family and friends a long distance away (and preferring that they make the effort to visit for your bigger celebration!). You might also just have lofty plans for your wedding day and only enough time to plan the one event.
When do you throw an engagement party?
Whenever you have time - but normally within a few months of becoming engaged. The timing of an engagement party can vary depending on personal preferences and circumstances. Following your engagement, you may enjoy simply celebrating together as a couple and not wanting the hassle of planning a party. You might also prefer to have a party in the summer, if your engagement happened during the winter months. Ultimately, choose a date that works well for you and your loved ones. It’s as simple as that!
What kind of venue should you use?
When choosing a venue for your engagement party, you’ll need to consider a few things. For example, the size of your guest list, your budget, and the desired atmosphere for the event will all have an input into your final decision.
A little stuck for ideas? Here’s some to get you on your way:
- At a private residence: Hosting the engagement party at your own home or a family member's home can create an intimate and personal setting. This is a particularly good idea if you know someone with lots of space or a great garden. It is also a cost-effective option!
- Restaurant: Renting a private room in a restaurant provides a convenient option and helps you share your personality with your group. Whilst it is a little pricier than other options, it can be tailored to meet your expectations and is time effective (you don’t have to plan much).
- Outdoor venues: Bring on the summer engagement party! Consider parks, gardens, or rooftop spaces for picturesque backdrops and casual outdoor gatherings.
- Community centres or event spaces: An affordable option and also one great for winter weather, community centres of event spaces allow for an intimate setting at a lower cost. You can also decorate to your liking and choose how you’d like to handle catering.
- Unique venues: Venues that align with your interests and personalities, such as art galleries, vineyards, or historic landmarks can be a great choice. These venues can add a distinctive touch to your engagement party and will make them unforgettable.
Who should you invite to your engagement party?
Typically, couples invite their close friends and their immediate family as well as extended family members where they see fit. Of course, there are no exact rules to follow and if you want to invite your colleagues, mentors, accountant or whoever else - then do it! One thing to keep in mind is to keep the guest list manageable, considering your budget, venue capacity, and desired atmosphere. Invite those people who will genuinely enjoy celebrating this milestone with you.
Do I need to send formal invitations?
While sending formal invitations for an engagement party is not a strict requirement, it is generally considered a thoughtful gesture. Plus, it can help set the tone for the event as well as the wedding which follows. Formal invitations provide important details and make your guests feel more special and involved. Engagement invitations also provide your guests with a memento from your event.
Should there be a registry for an engagement party?
It is not customary to have a registry specifically for an engagement party, mostly because gift giving is a traditional part of a wedding celebration. Unlike a wedding where guests typically give gifts, engagement parties tend to be more focused on purely celebrating a couple's recent engagement.
However, if you do receive inquiries from guests about gift suggestions or preferences, you might like to give some guidance. Guests may choose to bring small tokens of congratulations or heartfelt cards. Meanwhile, a normal gift to receive at an engagement party might be a bottle of champagne or some flowers, but typically nothing more.
Are there speeches at an engagement party?
An engagement is a huge milestone in your life, so speeches are naturally a part of the event. They provide an opportunity for close family members and friends to express their joy, share anecdotes, and offer well wishes to the engaged couple. Typically, the parents of the couple or perhaps even other family members - such as siblings - may give speeches. And since it’s your event, you might like to say a few words, expressing your gratitude and excitement. But don’t fret! The decision to have speeches and who gives them ultimately depends on the preferences of the couple and the overall atmosphere of the party. Don’t feel the need to give a speech? No problem. Your guests are here to celebrate with you and that’s all that matters.
If I invite someone to my engagement party, should they also be invited to the wedding?
A common questions surrounding engagement party etiquette centres on whether your engagement party guests should also be invited to the wedding. In other words, if you invite someone to your engagement, will they expect to be invited to the wedding?
When you extend an invitation to someone for your engagement, it carries a meaningful message that they hold a special position in your life and you desire their presence moving forwards. Consequently, it's crucial to acknowledge the potential expectation that arises from inviting them to the engagement, as they might anticipate an invitation to the wedding. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that each situation is distinct, and the outcome hinges on the specific dynamics and connections involved. Try to foster open and honest communication with everyone from the beginning, and you’ll avoid any potential conflict.
What should we wear to our engagement party?
Picking out an outfit is always fun, and it’s especially exciting when it’s for an engagement party. Attire for your engagement party varies based on your chosen style and the level of formality. Consider the venue and theme, opting for relaxed outfits for casual gatherings (outdoors, at someone’s house, at a community centre) and maybe more formal attire for fancy venues (at a restaurant, at a winery). You might also want to coordinate your outfit with your partner for a cohesive look whilst staying true to your personal style. Remember, comfort and confidence are the most important things! Wear something that makes you feel special and celebratory on your engagement day.
Should we provide catering?
In short, yes, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. From low key picnics to fine dining three course meals, everyone decides to do something different at their engagement party. For yours, you’ll want to base your decision on factors like budget, guest count, desired atmosphere, and personal preferences. Start by assessing your budget and explore alternatives if it's limited. Note that for larger guest lists, professional catering can ease the workload and give you time to focus on other aspects of the event. Keeping things super casual? You could also hold a pot luck dinner and share the effort with friends and family.
Elevate your engagement party with wedding stationery from Peppermint Press
We understand that an engagement party is a once in a lifetime opportunity that many want to be special. Choose an engagement party sign, engagement party invitations or other stationery items by Peppermint Press and impress guests with a tasteful and cohesive event. Our high quality products can be adapted to suit your taste and will help you achieve the look you’re after on the day.