- Designating the hostess with the mostess. Picking the party-giver is one of the first items to be addressed. While there are some traditional rules for this one (for example, the bride’s family hosts the fête), less customary arrangements are becoming more common. In some cases, the happy couple’s parents can both come together to co-host the event. Other times, friends or even the engaged pair can step in to oversee the affair. Ultimately, factors like timing and budget can help define this, but the primary output should largely rest on the wishes of the new duo.
- Have a party plan. Do you want a large-scale gathering, or a more intimate affair? Brainstorming some basic guidelines for your celebration is important before the fine details are fleshed out. To start, pick a budget to set the tone for your planning. More frugal events may include an intimate gathering in a backyard, whereas lavish ones will require a larger guest list and a potential venue. Call around to local restaurants and caterers to get an idea for pricing and availability. Ultimately, this can help make the final call on which route you will go with.
- The cost question. On that note, one of the hardest parts of the entire process is determining who pays for the engagement party. If you’re abiding by tradition, then the bride’s parents typically take this one. However, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that convention doesn’t always need to be followed. In some cases, both sets of parents will step-up to split the bill. If more than one party is being thrown, both hosts can sync on their spending plans. Ultimately, candid conversations upfront are the easiest way to navigate this topic.
- Get RSVP ready. Once the details are nailed down, it’s time to get those pretty little invites out the door. But before you start including everyone and anyone, consider a couple of key rules. First, anyone who is invited to the engagement party should be included at the wedding. Also, immediate family and wedding party members should also receive an invitation. Beyond that, the guest list can fall in line with the rest of the event parameters (think size, budget and location.) Choose wisely, but remember—it’s ultimately your day so make sure the attendee list reflects that!
- Gifting etiquette Showering the couple with congratulatory praises can often be mistaken as a monetary requirement. Yet, when it comes down to it, an engagement gift isn’t required. Even for fancy affairs, or for those where a gift registry is included, a small, meaningful gift is totally appropriate. Budget-friendly options include wine, a framed photo, or even a sentimental card. As long as you express your enthusiasm for their special moment, the gifting decision can be completely left up to you.
Whether it’s the newly betrothed couple, family or good friends hosting the party, these 5 basics will help guide the planning. Just remember to keep the focus on the happy duo, and you can’t go wrong.
If you’re thinking about throwing or hosting an engagement party of your own, check out our Party Plans for more ideas and inspiration!