How to Host an Engaging Engagement Party (…and not break the bank)
When you’ve just gotten engaged there are hundreds of decisions to make and things running through your head. Sometimes we forget to take the time to celebrate, but I think an event so important in your relationship deserves a moment to raise a glass (also let's be honest who doesn't love a reason for some bubbly). I personally prefer engagement parties over bridal showers, but mostly because I like that at an engagement party men and women who are close to you can take part in the celebrations. Also, I’ve been living with my fiancé for 4 years now, so the typical bridal shower, you know when the bride get’s all the things she needs to move into her new house with her soon to be husband, just didn’t really feel like something that fit with our story.
So for us, especially since we were already home at Christmas, and engagement party felt like the right way to celebrate that special moment with close friends and family. I know many of you are thinking right now: how can someone plan an engagement party without it becoming a mini-wedding… Well, like any event the budget can easily get out of hand and depending on the budget you have your engagement party might honestly become a mini pre-wedding. However, I am here to tell you that even with a smaller budget you can plan an amazing engagement party that will get your guests excited for your big day and give them the chance to celebrate this first step with you both.
Here are some of my personal tips for keeping your engagement party engaging (and stylish) all while staying within budget:
Pick a location that is beautiful on its own
You will already be spending a ton of money on wedding décor, so for this party pick a space that is cozy and that is beautiful without any added décor. I suggest picking a space that is just a little bit bigger than the number of guests you expect so that it doesn’t feel like you are only a few people in a large space.
Less is more
If you do what to add that extra special little something pick small décor items that stand out but focus on only a few pieces. We decided to go with a special balloon (perfect for special photos with guests or with your fiancé), a stylish cake topper and we decorated the various tables with framed photos of us. Bonus : this is a great way to share your engagement photos with your guests, or take them on a journey through your relationship with photos throughout the years!
Just because it’s a party before the wedding doesn’t mean you must invite all the people who you will invite to the wedding. Keep the invites to close friends and family so that the event feels intimate and you get the chance to really take the time to speak with each of your guests.
Speak to your photographer
By this point you will probably already have your wedding photographer picked out. So, if you don’t have a talented photographer in the family, I suggest speaking with your wedding photographer about covering your engagement party. Since you will be working with them for the wedding they might be open to giving you a special price for the party. This is also a great way for them to get to know you both as well as your friends and family, who they will be seeing on the day of the wedding.
Short and sweet
The Italians have a tradition called “Aperitivo” which is think works great for any engagement party. A short, yet sweet, event where guests drink (of course) and have appetizers or personal sized portions of a meal available. This is a great way to avoid that feeling of having all your guests just seated at tables and losing your interaction with them. It’s also a great way to allow people to easily mingle and maybe have both your families get to know each other.
Involve your friends & family
You will have a lot on your plate after getting engaged, so planning a party might be a lot to take on. This is a great way to include your friends and family in your wedding by asking them to help in the preparations of your engagement party. Small tasks like picking up balloons, organizing the dessert table or even making sure everything is ok the day of the event can help keep your mind stress-free and allow you to enjoy everything that being a bride-to-be brings.
In the end Michelangelo and I were both SO happy with how our engagement party turned out, and neither of us felt stressed by the budget or the planning of it. Although we would have wished to have had time to speak with everyone who came more, it was a great way for us to prepare for what’s to come at the wedding reception.
THANK YOU to everyone who came out to celebrate our engagement with us, we loved spending the evening with you all!