Engagement Parties

A look at engagement parties by Grant Morgan, party planner Kent

Engagement parties are great for two primary reasons:

1) sharing the excitement of your engagement face-to-face with family and friends

2) it’s a party!

What are the benefits?

For starters, they are a brilliant way for wedding guests to get to know one another before the wedding day itself. This is particularly pertinent if the families of the bride and groom have not yet met.

You may decide that your family and friends are already suitably acquainted or, perhaps are located too far and wide to justify such an event. However, you might well be surprised at the enthusiasm you’re greeted with at the prospect of an engagement party.

Protocol & duties

As with the wedding itself, there are traditions associated with an engagement party. It is traditional for the father of the bride to host the event and his duties will include:

  • sending out invitations
  • giving and small speech at the party
  • raising a toast to the couple
  • provide the catering. The catering and venue are naturally dependent on budget but a selection of canapés and a few glasses of champagne should suffice in most cases. (Follow this link for an article on interesting ideas for canapés in 2015).

Just like the wedding, it’s up to the couple to what extent they wish to follow tradition. For example, the couple may wish to host the party themselves. If this is the case, telling the father of the bride before announcing it would be good etiquette.

Invitations to the engagement party should only be sent to guests invited to the wedding; to do otherwise would be a major faux pas.

Top tip: when organising any party or gathering, always have background music playing. Not only does it encourage chatter (as there is already ambient sound present), it also gently fills any awkward silences during the early part of proceedings. When choosing the playlist remember to consider your guests and the type of occasion it is.

Before setting a date it is prudent for the host (or perhaps even a small network of three or four people) to make informal enquires to check the availability of those you wish to attend. It is not usual to invite all the wedding guests to the engagement party; close family and friends will normally do. However, if you are having a particularly intimate wedding then you may wish to invite all the guests.

If presents are received for the couple then thank you letters should be sent in acknowledgement. Conversely, guests should send a thank you letter to the host after the event.

In summary, an engagement party is a brilliant way of whetting the appetite. Guests will want to discuss plans for the wedding and chat about what has already been put in place…cue the start wedding fever!

A short guide to engagement parties by Grant Morgan, party planner Kent.