Engagement By Jessica Weltersen Did you just get engaged and now you’re looking for some engagement party ideas? This article will give you a starting point for this special party, starting with who should host it, where to have it and who to invite. Not everyone has an engagement party, especially if the two people who are getting married and their respective family and friends have known each other for a while. Or if you’re planning a small wedding with only very immediate family and the closest of friends, you might not even think about having an engagement party. But if you met in college or you met online, they’re a fun and casual way to get all your family members and friends together to break the ice before the wedding day. I think it makes it easier for the in-laws especially to meet and mingle if they’ve already been introduced and spent some casual time together. Remember, this isn’t going to be a pre-wedding reception so don’t go planning anything formal or extravagant for this event. Lots of couples have simple backyard barbecues or meet at a local restaurant for lunch or an early dinner. So let’s dig in. When Should You Have the Party? First, are you planning a “long” engagement? In other words, you’ve set the date for at least six months out? If so, you’re good. The one thing you don’t want to be doing is trying to come up with engagement party ideas that will sort of cross over into the plans for the reception. Ideally, you want to have your engagement party about three months after you’ve officially announced that you’re engaged, but no longer than six months before your wedding. Who Hosts An Engagement Party? The bride’s parents usually plan and host the party, but today a lot of couples are already living together or getting married later in life, so it’s pretty common that they’ll host their own party. Who Is Invited? First of all, don’t make the mistake of inviting anyone to the engagement party that you’re not planning on inviting to the wedding. That would just be rude. But you also don’t have to invite everyone on your guest list either. Usually the engagement party is meant for the families of the couple to be introduced before the rehearsal or even before the wedding shower, if they haven’t already had the opportunity. It’s easier to plan out wedding showers if the future mothers-in-law have gotten acquainted. And if the bridal party wants to plan a bachelorette party for the bride, the engagement party gives the girls – and the guys – a relaxed way to get to know each other too. Where Do You Have an Engagement Party? Engagement party ideas for where to have the event again depends on what type of theme you’re having. If you’re having a simple and casual backyard barbecue or pool party and you have the room at your house or the parent’s house, this is a really inexpensive way to go for a location. Even if you want something casual but you don’t have the room for the amount of guests you expect to invite, you can look into renting a covered pavilion at a local public park or even an amusement park. The ideas are pretty much endless. To come up with some more engagement party ideas, just think about what you would do for any other type of party and how formal or casual you want the party to be. You also might have to take your budget into consideration and that might play a huge part in what the party will be planned out to be like. Party Invitations Your invitations should give the guests an idea of the style or type of party you’re planning. For example, if you’re hosting your engagement party in an upscale restaurant with fine dining, you don’t want to send invitations that look like you’re throwing a backyard pool party. And vice versa. Either way, you can still save money by doing your own invitations on your computer or if everyone’s pretty regular on Facebook, just set up a Facebook Event and use that for the RSVP too. Food for the Party You have a lot of options for how you’re going to feed your guests from having the event catered to asking all your guests to bring either a main or side dish and you all feed yourselves. Again, your menu will depend a lot on where you’re having the party. If you’re planning a somewhat formal dinner party, you won’t have to worry about the food because the restaurant will take of that or you’ll be having it catered. At the same time, if you’re having the party at your house or you’re leasing a park pavilion, you may be able to have a local caterer deliver and set up your food for you before the guests arrive. Engagement Party Favors While some people may think that party favors aren’t really necessary and your guests won’t miss them, it’s still nice to have unexpected little ‘thank you’s’ to give your guests, especially for this type of party. Favors for an engagement party should be fun and just a small token to share your excitement about getting engaged. One of the best ways to give inexpensive favors is to look into custom laminated bookmarks. They’re useful, practical, inexpensive and fit right in to any of the engagement party ideas you come up with. You can get really creative with engagement party favors too by putting your engagement photo on them and if you already have your wedding date set, these can also double as Save the Date announcements for your guests to take home with them.