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Engagement Party 101 – Etiquette and Planning Guide

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Is there any better way to celebrate your impending nuptials than with big bash with your friends and family? We don’t think so! Throwing an engagement party is the first step in the wedding planning process. And starting that journey can be intimidating. So where do you begin? With a Marrygrams guide, of course! We’ve answered your etiquette and planning questions below to help get you started.

Engagement Party Planning 101

Why Should You Have One?

Engagement parties symbolize the joining of your two families. And assuming that they haven’t spent much time together, an engagement party gives your parents a chance to get to know each other before the wedding planning begins. It’s also just a lovely reason to get together with your friends and family to celebrate. If you’re planning a long engagement or even an elopement, an engagement party is a great way to share your love without the pressure of the wedding itself.

When Do You Plan It?

You’ll want to have your engagement party within the first 3 or 4 months of the proposal. This gives you plenty of time to relax and enjoy some down time with your new fiance, and is soon enough that your excitement is still fresh. You’ll also want to give people enough notice to make any necessary travel arrangements. So while it’s perfectly fine to celebrate over a bottle of bubbly right away, save the actual party for a few weeks down the road.

Who Hosts?

Traditionally, the brides family. But nowadays, anyone can host your engagement party. Both sets of parents may want to team up to plan the event. Or a group of friends may shoulder the responsibility. Or you may just decide to host it yourself. There’s no wrong answer to this question anymore.

Who is Invited?

There is a bit of grey area as far as the guest list is concerned. The general rule is that everyone who gets an invite to the engagement party, is ALSO invited to the wedding. However, many couples are using their engagement party as a way to celebrate with all of their loved ones while still planning a small, intimate wedding. And this is absolutely fine! Just make sure it is very clear to your guests that your ceremony will be a private affair, so nobody feels left out when the actual wedding rolls around. Oppositely, if you’re planning a big wedding, use the guest list from the engagement party as the starting point of your final head count.

Do You Send Invitations?

This is entirely up to you! If you’re inviting a lot of people from out of town, or if you’re having a formal sit down dinner, your guests may expect an invitation. But, if your party is a more casual affair, word of mouth, or even online invitations are a good option. Remember, invitations set the tone of your event, and give your guests a sense of decorum. (They also help nudge people to send in their RSVP’s on time.) So decide what kind of party you want to have, and go from there.

Can You Have More Than One?

Of course! Sometimes getting everybody together in one room is just too difficult. Or the bride or groom’s parents may want to throw separate parties with their own friends and family. So it’s not uncommon to celebrate your engagement with multiple events. Just sit back and enjoy the outpouring of love.

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And remember, you still have a wedding to plan. We know the temptation to throw an over the top engagement party can be strong. (And if that’s your style, by all means go for it!) But you still want to keep your main event in mind. After all, nobody wants to upstage their own wedding. Give your guests a taste of what’s to come without giving away too much. And relax! Your engagement party should be lighthearted and fun. Save the stress planning for the real deal. 😉