Want to celebrate your newly engaged status in style? Check out our top tips for planning the perfect engagement party…
Having an engagement party isn’t essential, but it’s a nice gesture to celebrate your exciting news, as well as a great way to introduce your two families before the wedding – especially if you’re not planning on tying the knot for a while. It’s pretty standard to plan a formal engagement party in the USA, but things tend to be a little more laid back in the UK. Here are our top planning tips…
When should you have it?
Generally you want to throw your party soon enough so that the excitement of the news is still fresh, but with enough time for you to plan and for your guests to make travel arrangements. Within two months after your h2b has popped the question is a good amount of time – you don’t want to leave it so late that it starts to clash with wedding planning!
Who should host?
Traditionally in the US, the bride’s parents would host the engagement party, and any invitations (more on that later) would come from them. However, you definitely don’t have to follow this tradition if you don’t want to. If your parents (or your fiance’s) have space to host a party, then great! But there’s no rule that says you can’t host it at your own house, or hold the party in your favourite restaurant, pub or venue if you don’t have room at yours.
Who should be invited?
As a rule, you should only invite people to the engagement party who will then be invited to the wedding – so throwing the engagement party is a handy way to start drafting your final guest list. The exception to this rule is if you know that you’ll be holding a very intimate celebration or destination wedding that a lot of your family and friends won’t be able to attend.
Should you send invitations?
That depends on how formal your party is! It can certainly be a nice way to invite people, but don’t feel pressured into spending money on invites and postage if you’d rather invite people by phone, email or Facebook. Don’t worry about the theme of your engagement party matching that of your wedding, either.
Should there be toasts?
This is another American tradition, where formal engagement parties would see the bride’s father toast the couple, and then the groom would toast both sets of parents. Don’t feel the need to give speeches if your family aren’t into public speaking (there’ll be plenty of that at the wedding!), but do take a moment to say a few words with your fiance thanking your guests for coming.
Should it be a surprise?
One lovely way of announcing your engagement to your friends and family is to keep it a secret until the engagement party itself! Of course, you’ll need a good reason to invite everyone over in the first place, so think about whether your chosen dates line up with one of your birthdays, Christmas or some other event.