How to Plan an Engagement Party: Etiquette & Tips

An engagement party is to announce the engagement to family and friends. Engagement party etiquette provides some helpful guidelines as to the suitability of the event and what is expected. It is not necessarily mandatory but has gained in popularity more recently. The parents of the bride usually host this event. It is the first time the bride and groom are formally announced as such and should be treated with the respect this is afforded. In addition, the engagement party is more of an intimate gathering.

Engagement Party Budget

The wedding engagement party can be an informal affair. The couple can do almost what and how they want it to be. But again, the entire wedding budget is to be considered clearly even though your parents may be paying for the engagement party. The wedding couple may also consider paying for the engagement party as a kind gesture to ease off some burden from their parents.

The wedding engagement party can be held at home at the bride’s house. Because it should be the bride’s father to break the wonderful news of the event.

The invitation list of the wedding engagement party can either be long or short as it depends on how glamorous you want it to be. It can be a family gathering that consists of both sets of parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, or even aunts. Be sure to consider the after-effects if you do not invite your close friends, as they may be offended by your gesture, especially aunts. Be tactful, it may be your party but you will be branded as inconsiderate if details are not taken care of.

You may even invite the whole list of your friends down to your childhood, it all depends on whether you want it to be an intimate event or another glamorous “networking” party. If your decision is the latter, you may consider hiring a caterer for the engagement party or even host it at a hotel or restaurant. That will save your dear mother cleaning up the mess after the party is over. If you have the wedding budget to do it…. do it, it saves you lots of time, and sets you with more time to enjoy the party.

Engagement Party Etiquette

Here are some engagement party etiquette guidelines:

The engagement party is usually a cocktail party or dinner. It can take place at the house of the bride’s parents or at a restaurant in a private room. This reinforces the intimate nature of the affair.

The engagement announcement is made by the father of the bride, proposing a toast to the happiness of the couple.

The guests are family members and very close friends of both families, in other words, your top wedding guests. This event is supposed to be intimate in nature and not the “all-inclusive” events that are represented by the bridal shower and the wedding.

Gifts are not required or expected. Gifts are usually received at the bridal shower and wedding. However, if your guests bring gifts, place them on a special table and do not open them during the engagement party.

Send a “thank you” note to all guests who gave you gifts, whether during the party or days after the party. For more details on what is proper with regard to the thank, you note, see our Thank You Note page.

Not all families host an engagement party, especially if family members and close friends live in different cities. The decision as to the appropriateness of having an engagement party should be viewed in light of the unique situation of that particular bride and groom and their families. If the families feel strongly about having an engagement party, it is at their discretion.

Engagement Party Venue

For the wedding engagement party to be held in a hotel or restaurant is really straightforward. As this is not the first case they are handling an engagement party.

They will be able to advise you on the arrangement of the tables, choosing the menu, the right wine for the occasion, or even prepare a speech for you. The food that you choose need not be expensive but bear in mind that each guest is satisfied and not go home hungry. Wine will definitely be a plus on any occasion, but if it is not considered or controlled, it may blow your budget. If you prefer to throw your engagement party at home, your guests may bring with them a bottle of wine as a gift and that may save you some cost.

Seating arrangements? Well, normally the couple will be at the center, and the groom’s parents on his side and her parents on hers, respectively.


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