I’m supposed to have an engagement party? Who knew?

January 7, 2010 – My event motto: one party at a time. Before you jump head first into ceremony details, remember that most couples these days have an engagement party as well. If you have a very short engagement, you may want to skip the party and just send out announcements, but if you have over 6 months, the party is a good idea and should take place 1-3 months after you get engaged. The engagement party will be your first wedding-related event, and we have some tips that you’ll hopefully find helpful. It’ll be the first thing you can cross off your event checklist!

Engagement parties originated as a way to introduce the bride and grooms’ families. Keep this in mind while you’re planning. Yes, the party is about you, but try to make it an event where both families will feel comfortable and not completely out of their element. This is especially true if this is the first time your families are meeting. The event can be anything from a formal affair to a backyard pool party. Go with whatever feels the most comfortable.

Traditionally, the brides family hosts, but the couple can host it themselves if they wish. If you’re not throwing the engagement party yourself remember to give the host a thank you note. You can include a small thank you gift if you wish.

When sending out invitations, remember that the guest list for the event isn’t final yet, so only invite people you definitely want at the event. Even though you want to shout your engagement announcement off the rooftop, it’s safer to have a small party and avoid inviting someone that you wind up not inviting to the event. You don’t need that kind of drama!

One thing you can be sure of is that every guest, whether there are 15 or 50, is going to take your hand and admire your new ring, so give your hands a little makeover! Get a great manicure — I suggest a pretty pink polish or French tips! — and have your ring professionally cleaned. Then show it off and enjoy the compliments!

Engagement party gift etiquette is a delicate art. It is not traditional for guests to bring gifts; however, it is becoming more and more common. Though it’s totally fine to register the second you get engaged, including registry information in your engagement party invitations is considered tactless. Having a registry is nice for guests who are set on bringing gifts, but they should only be given registry information upon request. If guests do bring gifts to the party, set them aside and wait until it’s over to open them, and don’t forget thank you notes!

Typical engagement party gifts include things like house wares. Vases, wine glasses and candlesticks are great, but appliances are better left for wedding gifts. It’s also nice to get things you know you’ll need for the event like champagne flutes or cake knives. event planning tools like a bridal magazine subscription are great engagement present ideas. Really helpful guests may even purchase online event planning software to make your planning a little easier!

Overall, your engagement party should be filled with excitement and will be a great way to practice planning for the even bigger event coming up! Good luck, and those of you who have additional suggestions/stories, I’d love to here them!