• 10/26/2022

When Do You Have an Engagement Party?

an engagement party buffet with guests

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You’ve said yes, and you’re so excited to start telling the world and get planning your big day. Then you start thinking about how far off the wedding still is and that your families haven’t really met. 

If this is your reality, an engagement party might be a perfect solution. You can use the event to announce your engagement, get close friends and family together and celebrate in anticipation of the wedding. Some couples who plan to get married with only a few witnesses will throw an engagement party to celebrate with everyone else ahead of the big day. 

But, when do you have an engagement party, and who should plan it? We’ve got answers to all your important questions to help you have a great event. 

When Do You Have an Engagement Party?

You want to strike a good balance with the date of your party. Give your guests plenty of time to fit the event into their calendar and yourself enough to plan it. However, you also want it to be far enough away from the wedding date, so there’s plenty of time for a bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties. 

If you’re getting married not long after your engagement, you may want to skip the engagement party altogether since you’d have a short turnaround time. You should leave yourself enough breathing room to simply enjoy this new facet of your relationship without the stress of planning and preparing for yet another party. 

Who Should Plan the Event?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents footed the bill for the engagement party. However, this has changed quite a bit, with most couples hosting their own. The parents often have other expenses to help with, so an engagement party could stretch the budget too far. 

If you have your heart set on a party, determine a budget and throw it yourself. You choose the scale — from a simple backyard gathering or a black tie event with everyone you know. Just like with a wedding, there’s no one right way to do things.  

Three glasses of wine

Who’s Typically Invited?

You really can’t get this one wrong, either. Your guest list will depend on the budget for the party and the kind of night you want to have. If you’re looking forward to your parents meeting, maybe a small, intimate gathering would be best. However, if you want to keep your wedding small, a large engagement party might do the trick. 

One traditional rule of thumb is only to invite people who’ll be guests at the wedding, except for when this party replaces your reception. So don’t invite your co-workers to a formal engagement party unless you plan on seeing them on the big day. 

Are Presents Expected?

You should never expect presents at an engagement party. Some guests might bring one anyway, but it’s considered rude to include a registry in the invitation. Since your friends and family will bring a present to your wedding and your bridal shower, you don’t want to make them feel they have to get you yet another item. 

The point of this party is to share your excitement with the ones you love, not furnish your home. Accept any gifts graciously, but make sure your guests know you’re inviting them for the pleasure of their company. 

A Growing Tradition

This tradition had fallen out of popularity for the last couple of decades but is now seeing a resurgence. Whether you plan a large bash with all your family and friends or share your excitement with only your closest loved ones, an engagement party allows you to bring people together and celebrate before the big day. 

You have plenty of time to plan the wedding. Take a minute to enjoy this new and exciting commitment you’ve made to each other. 

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