Thinking about throwing an engagement party? Congratulations! Engagement parties may seem a bit of an American tradition that we Brits often shy away from. But actually, they’re very sensible as they are the perfect time to introduce all your important people to his. Plus the experience of preparing a smaller party will help you with the wedding planning later. So here’s our guide to planning and throwing the perfect engagement party.
1. When to throw the party?
It might sound like a no-brainer, but the ideal time to have an engagement party party is not too long after your engagement. Ideally, within two or three months. That’s when you’re still on a happy emotional high after the proposal, but wedding planning isn’t yet in full swing.
2. Who should host it?
Traditionally the bride’s parents host the engagement party. However, if that’s not possible then it’s perfectly OK for the groom’s parents or the couple themselves to host. If you want to keep things informal you can also ask a friend, just be sure to help them plan and cover any costs.
3. Lunch or cocktails?
Actually, you don’t have to do either! This is the perfect time to let your creativity run free. Book a wine tasting experience, throw a luxury 1920’s picnic, get Pinterest-crafty with your bridesmaids or let your dad host a barbecue in the back garden!
4. Who to invite?
According to etiquette you’re supposed to invite everybody going to your wedding. If that suits you, then this is the perfect time to lock down your final wedding guest list – a big task taken care of, which you’ll be very grateful for later on. However, if a large party isn’t practical, then the ideal solution is to request a friend to host. Ask them to send the invites on your behalf to your closest family and friends only. This way you can still have all your main people meet his, while the invitation etiquette is tactfully taken care of by someone else.
5. What about the toasts?
Once your party is happening, there’s the matter of toasts. Here it’s best to follow tradition. First the bride’s father toasts you and your fiancé. Then, your fiancé should toast his bride, followed by her parents, and his own mum and dad. Finally, the couple should also thank the hosts. After that anything is fair game and you can let your friends raise a glass to you, your future and world peace.
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6. Engagement party gifts
Engagement gifts aren’t usually the done thing, but your friends may still get together to buy you that espresso maker and Grandpa will probably insist on tucking some money into your hand. Let them. Smile, say thanks and be generous with hugs. They’re just in that happy frame of mind when presents seem like the perfect way to commemorate the occasion!
7. Thank you letters
If your parents or friends hosted the party, take them out to dinner or buy your mum some flowers. You could also do small take away party favours. But most of all, in this age of emails and Facebook, picking up pen and paper to thank your guests for coming will feel really special.