Since when have engagement parties become a thing? Back in our parents’ day, even weddings weren’t much of a big deal. But now we’ve got to plan an engagement party, hen do, stag do, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, legal ceremony and luxury reception. Phew!
And speaking as someone who got married a couple of years ago – I loved all of it, and the engagement party is a highlight. Everyone is mega excited for you, but it’s not as much pressure as a wedding.
There are some important things to consider however, and if you let it get too out of hand you’re likely to bust your budget. Ready to start planning? Here are three easy steps to help you start planning your engagement party:
The most important thing to remember – everyone you invite to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. Inviting guests to one and not the other is a whole can of worms you do not want to open, so make sure you’ve got your wedding guest list planned before inviting anyone to your engagement party.
If it seems a little daunting, just look on the bright side – you can hand your wedding invitations out at the party and save on postage. You’re welcome.
If you’re planning on having a longer engagement and don’t want to wait to celebrate, do something low key and don’t worry so much the invite list. Hopefully by the time the wedding rolls round everyone will have forgotten…?
Once you’ve figured out your guest list, you’ll have a good idea of how much space you’ll need. If you’re inviting more than about 20 people, it’s a good idea to hire a venue. Just think of all the clean up you can avoid.
Your engagement party venue can reflect the type of wedding you want to have – it’ll help set the scene for the big day. If you’re a fun loving couple, why not celebrate your engagement with a game of ping pong at Bounce, or shuffleboard at the London Shuffle Club?
For more traditional couples, Victorian Bath House is a stunning venue and really close to Liverpool Street Station if you have visitors coming from outside London.
Okay the answer is clearly yes – but the real question is, should you pay for all of it? Depending on where you’re hosting the party, how many people are coming and the sort of spread you’re envisioning can all impact whether or not it’s within budget to cover all the costs.
If you’re hosting in your own home or a venue without a bar, you’ll be expected to provide most of the food and drink, but you can tell your guests to BYOB. If your engagement party is in a bar or restaurant, there’ll be less expectation for you to pick up the full tab.
It’s always nice if you can provide some nibbles, so have a look at the menus on offer at your chosen venue and see if they offer sharing platters or canapes – Savage Garden have a great menu that’s perfect for a big crowd. You don’t necessarily have to feed everyone til they’re about to burst, but it’s nice to have something to graze on.
You can also think about getting a round of bubbles in for a toast, just remember that if you’re on a budget, it might be a good idea to save that til the big day. Even prosecco can be expensive when you’re giving everyone a glass.
Take a deep breath for me – the most important thing is to enjoy it! It’s a great practice for your big day, and should give you an idea of how your wedding will feel. You’ll probably notice that everyone wants to speak to you, and you end up rushing around having 2 second conversations with everyone and barely speaking to your partner at all. That’s normal.