Engagement Party Etiquette

Engagement Party Etiquette

Five Engagement Party Etiquette Tips

You said "Yes" and now it's time to celebrate! As you're planning your engagement party, follow these few simple etiquette rules to ensure the celebration goes off without a hitch.

1.  Keep Your Guest List to a Minimum

Generally, engagement parties are events for your wedding party, family, and close friends. If your guest list is very large, it's better to hold two parties than to leave people out. For example, you could hold one party for family and one for friends.

People invited to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding, but you're free to leave people off the engagement party guest list whom you feel obligated to invite to the wedding. This might include estranged or openly disapproving family members. See engagement party invites from The Printable Wedding.

2. Choose Your Venue Wisely

Think through the logistics when deciding where you want to have your engagement party. Make sure the location you've chosen for your party will hold all the invited guests and will have enough parking for everyone. Does your location need to be handicap accessible or have chairs for older or pregnant guests to sit in? How far will guests need to travel to attend?

Cost is another key consideration when selecting an engagement party venue. It's rude to hold your engagement party in an expensive restaurant and expect all your guests to pay for themselves. Even if money isn't an object for you, it probably is for some of your guests. If you can't afford a fancy sit-down dinner, consider holding a dessert or cocktail party instead. Backyard BBQs or informal pizza parties are other options to consider if you already know that your wedding will be more of a casual affair.

3. Pay Tribute to Classic Engagement Party Traditions

Traditionally, the bride's parents host the engagement party. It's generally not polite to ask the matron of honor or best man to host the engagement party, since they plan the bridal shower and bachelor party, respectively.

It's traditional for the bride's father to formally announce the engagement at the party. The bride's father also gets the honor of the first toast, followed by the groom, and finally other guests who wish to say a few words. Those being toasted are expected to accept graciously, remaining seated, and not to drink or raise their glasses.

One final tradition to consider is the presentation of an engagement gift to the groom by the bride. The most traditional gift is a watch engraved with his initials or the date of the wedding or engagement. If you decide to choose a different gift, keep in mind this is considered a response to acceptance of your engagement ring.

4.  Don't Expect Gifts from Your Guests

Traditionally, gifts are not required at an engagement party, since bridal showers and weddings are also gift giving occasions. Nevertheless, many people will arrive at the party with gifts. If a guest hands a gift to you, thank him or her and ask politely if you can open it later. Send a prompt thank you note after the party to show your appreciation.

If you would prefer to receive no gifts at your engagement party, you're welcome to state that gifts are not required on your invitation. You could invite guests to donate to a charity that you and your fiancé support instead.

5. Be a Gracious Guest of Honor

Last but not least, it's crucial that you be gracious and respectful of those who've come to help celebrate your upcoming nuptials. This includes:

  1. Make the rounds. Unless your party is very intimate, you won't have time to talk with everyone. However, you should still make sure at least to greet everyone, shake their hands, and thank them for coming.
  2. Make introductions. During the party, make an effort to introduce all your guests to each other by name and give a little extra information to kick start a conversation. If you forget anyone's name or background, don't skip over them. Admit your forgetfulness and ask them to help.
  3. Be a peacekeeper. If some of your guests don't like each other or don't approve of the marriage, be ready to defuse arguments and derail unfriendly conversations.

Written by: The Printable Wedding Team