Engagement Parties

All the information you could want on hosting, planning and paying for an engagement party.

friends at engagement party
Planning and hosting an engagement party doesn’t have to send you into a financial tail spin. If your checkbook or your schedule has you panicked at the prospect of hosting an elaborate engagement party, dive into the Engagement Party Guide. Here you will find helpful tips and solid advice on ways to host the perfect party and keep your stress to a minimum and your bank account healthy.

Who Hosts the Engagement Party?

Traditionally, the engagement party is hosted by the parents of the bride. However, if her mom and dad are not available, the groom’s parents, another family member or a friend can take over. Today, it is perfectly acceptable for the bride and groom to host the party themselves if they desire.

Your Engagement Party Budget

The first step to hosting an engagement party is to decide on a realistic budget. All your other decisions regarding refreshments, location and guests will hinge on this major element. The focus of an engagement party is the gathering of friends and family to celebrate a new couple. By keeping the tone casual and friendly, you can skip the catered sit down meals and over-the-top decorations. If the price tag for the party is going to be beyond your budget limits, find another friend or family member to co-host with you. Sharing the budget and planning duties might be the perfect way to keep your checkbook happy and your schedule on track.

Whom to Invite

Once your budget is in place, it is time to put together a guest list. An engagement party traditionally includes the family and close friends of the bride and groom. Anyone who would have a major travel obligation is usually not included, but check with the couple or a close member of the family to avoid hurt feelings. Sometimes an extra invitation to an aunt or cousin who obviously won’t attend can head off a family squabble. Printing your own invitations is an easy budget rescue. Use professionally-designed templates to save valuable time and print only as many invitations as needed from your home computer.

Engagement Party Locations

Your guest list will naturally lead you to the next step of choosing a location. The fastest and least expensive place to hold an engagement party is your home. If the weather will cooperate, head outside to the patio or pool deck. A local restaurant is another perfect choice if you can gather in a special section for parties so guests can mingle and chat without disturbing other diners. Community centers, meeting rooms and banquette halls can be perfect if your budget will allow for offsite food preparation.

Engagement Party Decorations

Decorations are not necessary for an engagement party, but if you want to dress up a location without spending a fortune, check out Party Cheap. Here you will find paper plates, food picks, table cloths and other party decorations for a discounted price. If the wedding plans are far enough in place, you may be able to order the bridal shower and reception decorations at the same time and qualify for a bigger discount.

Engagement Party Foods

engagement party appetizers
When the guest list and location are in place, you can begin planning the food and drink options. The time you host your engagement party will have a big impact on your food choices. Plan the party between the hours of two and five in the afternoon and serve finger foods and light cocktails. Guests will not expect a full meal and deli trays or vegetable platters from the local market are the perfect food choices. If you have time, All Recipes has a large listing of appetizers which can be made ahead of time and frozen until the day of the party.

Planning and hosting an engagement party is a special way to honor a new couple. Keep the party low key and focused on allowing the family and friends of the bride and groom begin to get to know each other. This party is not meant to be fancy or elaborate. You will have plenty of time to show off your party planning skills at the bridal shower or wedding reception.

Written by: Caroline Retzer