It’s important to note that I was born in and raised in California. All of my family still lives there. My husband is a Texas boy born and bred. That being said, neither one of our families lives in our city. So when we got engaged, we had people who wanted to celebrate. Why wait for the wedding?
My husband (fiance at the time), some of my fantastic friends, and I all got together to plan an engagement party. It.was.so.much.fun. Big or small, to have one – or not to have one… it’s your day and that is the beauty of it!
Our engagement party was planned for September. We were engaged at the end of May, and started planning for our engagement party in the summer. My parents had never met my husband’s parents, so they wanted to get together, and the engagement party was the perfect place to do just that. Not to mention, I was able to do some dress shopping with my best friends and their moms (but we’ll talk dress shopping in its own post).
The ultimate decision maker to host an engagement party was that we knew some of our friends/family might not be able to attend depending on where we hosted our wedding, so we decided to throw a celebratory engagement party in Texas for those who could come. The location was an easy decision (again – stay true to what you like) – a couple years prior, my husband surprised me for my birthday with a birthday boat cruise for me and some of our friends. I loved it! Turns out, they have boats that can accommodate a larger party as well, they also serve food and adult beverages, which are of course, the keys to having a good time. We ate, drank and toasted the evening away. Here are some tips to help you throw a successful engagement party.
- Determine the focus for having an engagement party – are you wanting one because you know your actual wedding date is far away, are you having a destination wedding where you know not all of your friends/family will be able to attend, or do you just want to freaking celebrate?
- Narrow down your guest list – keep in mind that those you invite to this party, will ultimately need to end up on your wedding guest list also – because… etiquette.
- Are you inviting family? If so, do you invite grandparents and extended family? As a tip, we just invited our immediate family, since both of our extended families are fairly large.
- Are you wanting an intimate celebration with your closest friends?
- Are you opening it up to a larger pool of friends/family because you know not all will be able to attend an out-of-state or destination wedding?
- Determine who is paying for this. In our case, we paid for the party. We set a budget – i.e. not wanting to break the bank and started planning.
- Appoint a planner. Whether it’s yourself, a planner you hire, or even close friends – make sure you are all on the same page about who is responsible for what. I have an amazing group of friends – so one of my best friends offered to do invitations, cake and décor for the evening. I was responsible for generating the guest list, picking food, beverages and general logistics for the evening.
- Have fun! This is so not a time to stress out about the planning you have ahead of you. This is the time to enjoy your special moment with friends and family who have traveled near and far to celebrate you!