According to traditional etiquette, your guest list for the engagement party should be limited to the members of your family and close friends that are going to attend your wedding. If you are not sure what kind of wedding reception it is going to be, organise a small, intimate engagement bash for your closest friends and family members.
Since an engagement party normally isn’t a formal event, you can invite your guests via phone or e-mail. However, you can also send out invitations or RSVP cards if you prefer to make it more official. It is important to notify your guests two months prior to the party so that they can organise their time, especially those living out of town.
Traditionally, an engagement party is organised by the bride’s parents and it is held at their home. However, many modern couples prefer to choose their own engagement party venue at their own home or their favourite restaurant. A lovely garden party on a Sunday afternoon is a great idea, especially if you have friends with children. It can be a tea party or a barbecue in your own garden, or even a picnic outside. You can also think outside the box and choose a unique venue, but you don’t necessarily need to be too extravagant. An evening cocktail party with a DJ or live music is also a nice idea if you prefer to organise a fun bash for your friends.
Since this is a very special event in your life, it would be nice to make an effort and decorate the venue. Lush flower decorations and candles will be just enough, but you can also organise a themed party if you like. Choose a theme and colours that are completely different from your wedding reception décor. It is a good idea to create a contrast, so if you are having a traditional wedding with white ornaments, you can go a little crazy with your engagement bash and make it a colourful affair. Get inspired by pop art, vintage 1960s design, art deco posters or anything that involves bright hues.
If your engagement party isn’t a formal sit-down style dinner, the menu can be quite simple. To keep it very simple you should stick to one type of party food. You can have a sweet buffet, organise a barbecue or set a theme for food such as Thai or Chinese and order some light dishes and snacks for guests.
The rules for drinks are similar. From tea and coffee to lemonade and fruit cocktails, your choice should depend on the type of food you will be serving. And don’t forget that champagne is a must. You can open it to make a toast and officially announce your engagement. Let the party begin!
According to tradition, the father of the bride should make the first toast and officially announce the engagement. After that the couple can thank their guests for coming to the party and perhaps speak about how they met, before they open up the floor to other family members and friends. This is the perfect timing for taking family photos and exchanging small gifts.
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