You’ve got the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, the wedding, the reception… and as you don’t plan these all, you, as the bride, attend them all. So, it sounds as though after you get engaged you have countless parties to attend… But what about an engagement party? Will you have one?
What Is It?
An engagement party is a party that takes place after the couple has become engaged to allow the couples’ families to get to know each other. A time to mingle and become one as a family.
There is no hard and fast rule of who hosts. But in traditional parties, the bride’s parents hosted. In today’s tradition, it could be a collaboration between the parents of the bride and the groom, it could be friend’s of the bride and groom that host… But more likely than not, it is the bride and groom that host their own engagement party. (Be sure to remember: whomever does the inviting, prepping, and planning, pays the bill!)
Obviously it occurs post-engagement. I would say three to six months depending on when the wedding date will occur, enough time to allow each person attending that they are invited and enough time to plan without feeling overwhelmed.
Where really depends on where your families are from. If the bride’s family is from Florida, the Grooms family is from Texas, and the bride and groom have relocated to a mutual state of Alabama, where do you have the party?
The answer is, whomever hosts the party is where the party should be. If the bride’s parents host, then the party should be located in their state of residence, same goes for the grooms parents, and the bride and groom.
Typically whomever would be invited to the wedding would be invited to the engagement party. If you are only having family and close friends at your wedding, you wouldn’t invite your third grade teacher to your engagement party.
Although, the guest list of the wedding and the engagement party should be similar, there are instances where the engagement party is a casual event that has nothing to do with the wedding. For example, if your group of friends want to throw you a small engagement party at the local pub with an email thrown out to friends a week or two before the event, that is ok too.
Is It Necessary?
Do you absolutely, positively need to have an engagement party? No. Are they fun? Yes. Are they a lot of work? Yes. But the sole purpose of the engagement party is to have your families mingle and get to know each other before the big day and before the couple gets married.
What Actually Happens At An Engagement Party?
Food depends on the type of event that you are planning. If finger foods are fancy enough, then have finger foods. If your location says that your event needs to be a little more fancy, then a four course meal is ok too.
This doesn’t have to be a dry event but you also do not need to have an open bar. It is all about preference.
Sometimes, at these shindigs, you’ll find some games. Fun, easy games that allow for time to pass a little more smoothly. An advice box may appear to give the bride and groom some food for thought while they wedding plan and plan to spend their lives together.
Music or entertainment isn’t a must, but depending on the size of your event, you may want to have some form of background noise. More than likely your guests will create their own noise when mingling.
Mingle with all of your guests. This is a time for your guests to ask questions and learn more about you as a couple and ask about wedding plans. This is a time for both families to learn about the other and get to know who their in-laws will be.
So will you have an engagement party? Either way, if you do, great! If you don’t, that is ok too! Don’t feel like you need to follow every trend out there to achieve the best and perfect wedding. Make it your own, just like you’ve made your love story your own. Happy planning!