Is it worth having an engagement party?

engagement idea

A formal celebration of your engagement is by no means mandatory, of course. However, given that it is one of the most important things that will ever happen to you in life, it is well worth at least considering putting on a bash to herald you and your beloved’s step into the next phase of your lives together.

Plus, an engagement party can serve as an excellent opportunity to announce your engagement and toast it in the finest style in a stunning venue, such as Château Bouffémont. Such an event also enables you to catch up with, thank and acknowledge many of the people in your lives who have helped you both to make it this far.  

Getting engaged is undoubtedly cause for celebration, but with all the planning ahead, you may wonder if throwing a fête to mark the occasion is worth it. Traditionally, the bride’s parents will host an initial gathering of close friends and family after the engagement. Still, more recently, couples have been hosting their parties – often one or two – to commemorate this exciting milestone.

Traditionally, engagement parties are hosted by the bride’s family, but nowadays anything goes. (And notably, not every couple includes a bride.) Engagement parties are meant to start the party in advance of your wedding.

Committing is a big deal! Your friends and family want to start congratulating you as soon as they can. Usually, at a bar over drinks, engagement parties are relatively low-key affairs. But if you’re also thinking of asking friends to join you at a bridal shower, bachelorette, and destination wedding, you might be wondering if an engagement party is a good idea.

If you’re wondering whether or not you and your sweetheart should throw an engagement party of your own, we’ve compiled a few pros and cons to help you decide.

Is an engagement party required? Hell nah. Can it be cool? Hell yeah! There are loads of pre-wedding party opportunities though, so here are some pros and cons to throwing an engagement party if you’re on the fence about this one.

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rooftop engagement party

Pros to an engagement party:

  • Engagement parties allow you to announce your engagement in a fun way. Who doesn’t love a party (especially if someone else is throwing it!)?
  • You can use it as an opportunity to surprise your guests with the news if you can concoct another reason to get them all there.
  • It gives enthusiastic family or friends the chance to throw a party. Sometimes people just WANT to do it. Why not let them?
  • They can be the gateway drug to introducing the family members who haven’t met yet. You can see how everyone interacts prior to the wedding, which may make the table assignments easier if you’re doing that.
  • The party lets guests celebrate who may not be able to attend the wedding, especially if you’re having a destination wedding.
  • If you’re planning it yourself, it can be a great dry-run for planning the wedding. You’ll get all your organisation down and see where communication can be improved.
  • It can allow you extra mingling time if you’re planning a large reception where you’ll have trouble spending time with everyone.
  • It will enable you to enjoy the initial burst of excitement about being engaged.
  •  It’s a party in your honour. An engagement party is a fun event with your loved ones to mark the beginning of your enchanting journey down the aisle. A few months from now, you may not feel like hosting a get together of any kind – more than likely, you won’t even have the time to – so why not a party while you can?
  • Bridal party bonding. Chances are, you and your sweetheart already have a few bridesmaids and groomsmen in mind. Of course, your siblings, college roommates, and high school friends may not know each other well (or at all) and an engagement party is a fun, comfortable way to introduce everyone and solidify new friendships.
  •  Family meeting family. In addition to the bridal party, likely, members of your extended families haven’t had the opportunity to be introduced yet and bringing everyone together in the name of love and matrimony sets up an ideal “first meeting” atmosphere.
  •  Your first look at the crowd of your wedding/future gatherings. Everyone invited to the engagement party should be receiving an invitation to your big day, so this kind of event serves as an excellent window into the social dynamic you’ll be working with at your ceremony and reception. Be careful not to spend the night in the corner drafting your seating chart.
  • A fun way of announcing your engagement to your friends and family, if you love the idea of surprising everyone.
  • A great way for your families and friends to get to know one another.
  • Any excuse for a party with your nearest and dearest, right?
  • If you are planning a destination wedding, the engagement party may be the only opportunity for your friends to celebrate with you.

You Get To Enjoy The Moment With People You Love

Whether your friends throw you a surprise engagement party the night of your proposal or you plan a formal celebration, there’s something incredibly special about celebrating your engagement before any wedding planning has begun. You’re celebrating the bliss of the engagement in the moment that you feel the rush of excitement that comes with saying, “yes.”

You Get A Feel For What Your Wedding Planning Vibe Will Be Like

Planning a proper engagement party means that you get to dip your toes into the pool of feeling out what it will be like planning your wedding – what you enjoy about planning, how you and your partner feel about different aspects of planning, and what you truly despise about planning. (There’s always something.) You’ll also get a feel for what your wedding guests might be like as a crowd. (It’s important that you only invite probable wedding guests to your engagement party to be polite.)

Cons to an engagement party:

  • You may get caught having to invite everyone from your engagement party to the wedding, which can be awkward if your wedding is small and your party is not.
  • You have to get your wedding guest list organised earlier than you may have planned.
  • Can be a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of extra stress.
  • You may end up fielding a lot of suggestions about the wedding itself, but we’ve got tips for that, too!
  • The effort. You have to spend time and money on an event knowing full well you still have a wedding to plan, and that fact alone can cause preliminary stress and friction.
  • The guest list. Your friends want to take you and your love out on the town, but your parents wish to an intimate evening that your grandparents will enjoy. Do you have multiple parties? Do you bring everyone together at your house and hope for the best?
  •  The timing. If you’re planning on having a relatively short engagement, the timing of this soirée could pose a problem. Etiquette says the date should be closer to the proposal than the vows, but with a full bridal party, busy family members, and strict time constraints, it could prove too complicated to work effectively.
  • The pressure. Having a celebration soon after the proposal opens the door for loved ones to begin asking questions about your plans. Expect more than a few inquiries about the date, colour scheme, or floral choices – maybe before you’re prepared to answer them.
  • You’ll have to begin thinking about your wedding guest list, as you shouldn’t not be inviting anyone to the party who you’re not planning on inviting to the wedding itself.
  • There is a lot of work and expense involved in the organisation of the party.
  • Depending on the length of the engagement, it may be awkward to have an engagement party close to the wedding.

It’s Another Event In Your Honor

While some couples may love the idea of hosting multiple parties in celebration of the love they have found, others may be overwhelmed by it. If you’re an introvert or someone who prefers not to draw too much attention to yourself, skip the engagement party. It is not a requirement. Plus, it’s another invite to send out. Celebrate over a casual brunch instead.

Parties Cost Money

Hosting an engagement party, even if it’s just at a bar or your apartment, can still be taxing on a tight budget. If money is no object, go for it. Canapes for all! If you’re worried about your wedding budget, to begin with, think twice before investing in another food-and-booze celebration. Think about what else you could allocate that money to.

Reasons to Have an Engagement Party:

  • You have a long engagement – If you aren’t getting married for a couple of years or more, it can be a good idea to have a party to get the celebrations started.
  • You’re getting married abroad – If you aren’t saying ‘I Do’ at home the chances are all of your friends and family won’t be able to make it. If you have an engagement party, it gives everyone a chance to celebrate with you.
  • You love planning parties – If you get super excited at the thought of planning events, there’s no better time than the actual wedding day itself.
  • You want your respective friends and families to get to know each other – If you and your fiancee’s friends and family have never met, an engagement party is a great way to get everyone acquainted.

Reasons to Pass on an Engagement Party:

  • You have a short engagement – If you are getting married in a few months, there might not be any point in having an engagement party.
  • You want to save for the wedding – If you are looking to spend a good amount on a wedding, a honeymoon, and possibly a new house, is the added expense of an engagement party really worth it?
  • You aren’t excited by the idea – If it seems like more trouble than its worth, then the answer is a pass. If you aren’t having the party for you and your fiancee, there’s no need to have it at all.
  • You don’t have time – Wedding planning can be stressful enough as it is, and if you just don’t have the time to fit an engagement party in then just don’t have one.

Who is responsible for throwing the engagement party?

While it was once the bride’s parents who customarily threw and hosted the engagement party for the loved-up couple, these days, it can be thrown by pretty much anyone, such as other family members, friends or even the couple themselves

It’s understandable why the traditional practice has faded – after all, if the bride’s parents are already helping out a lot with the wedding, it may seem rude to ask them to reach back into their pockets to make the engagement party possible, too. For this reason, it is today increasingly common for members of the entire wedding party to assist with the engagement party planning.

What’s the difference between an engagement party and a bridal shower?

An engagement party is typically thrown for the whole couple to celebrate the announcement of their engagement. In contrast, a bridal party is centred specifically on the bride, with guests bringing presents for her. It is not traditional for the groom to turn up to the bridal shower.

Are guests expected to bring gifts to an engagement party?  

The bridal registry or wedding list – a service provided by a website or retail store to help engaged couples with the communication of their gift preferences to wedding guests – is not such a strong custom for engagement parties. Indeed, it is considered rude to include such a registry or list on an engagement party invite, and you should certainly not expect your guests to bring gifts.

However, given that people do often give gifts to couples as soon as they are engaged, many of your guests may arrive with a small present regardless, such as a decadent dessert or a bottle of wine.

What is a suitable venue for an engagement party?

Your choice of venue for an engagement party naturally depends in part on how many people you intend to invite, but also such factors as budget, the ‘vibe’ that you would like your celebration to have, the activities that can be enjoyed at or near the venue, and how easily your invitees can reach the venue.

If you want an engagement party, there are lots of pros, especially if someone is going to throw one for you. Otherwise, you may wish to just to start planning the wedding itself and send out some cute engagement announcement cards instead or throw a small get together at a bar for your closest pals. A tiny party isn’t a lesser party.

Regardless of your decision, we encourage you to enjoy this magical time and bask in the glow of your engagement. It’ll only make the planning process that much more gratifying!

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