You’ve announced your engagement to your parents and friends, set the date, picked your bridesmaids and groomsmen and started your to-do list, everything from favors to flowers.
There’s a lot to do, and one event that can really get you into the mood to tackle all those happy chores is an engagement party. So, what is an engagement party and what are the ground rules you need to be aware of?
Traditionally, an engagement party is a means of bringing the bride and groom’s families together, especially if they have not met yet. A basic engagement party includes members of the couple’s families, the wedding party, and the couple’s closest friends. Keep in mind that anyone who is invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding.
Customarily, the brides parents pay for the engagement party, but it could be hosted by both sets of parents, the couples siblings, close friends or even the bride and groom. You should not expect an engagement party to be put on by members of the bridal party, as you will be expecting them to host your shower and any bachelor or bachelorette parties that are planned.
Your engagement party can be as formal or informal as the hosts decide. It does not have to be a formal sit down dinner, and in fact, a more casual event can be more conducive to getting your guests mingling and getting to know each other. A brunch, afternoon tea, cocktail party or beach barbeque are all appropriate. Your guests should feel welcomed and at ease.
Gifts are not usually given at an engagement party. If a guest presents you with a gift, thank them graciously and then put the gift aside (and preferably out of site) to open later. If your guest insists upon the gift being opened right away (maybe it’s a puppy!) find a fairly private spot to do just that, but again, try to keep it a bit private so other guests don’t suddenly feel awkward for not bringing gifts.
Remember that this party is not just about the bride and groom. It’s about the melding of two families. Be sure to do what you can to help the hosts welcome guests, introduce them to others and make them feel a treasured part of a new chapter in your lives.