You’re engaged! Make the most of this exciting time by celebrating with an engagement party
After the excitement of getting engaged many couples look forward to celebrating their special news with their family and friends. Vicki Morris, founder of luxury wedding event and experience brand Two Became One is no stranger to organising a show-stopping party, and has put together her top tips on how to organise a party to be remember…
1. Decide who will host the party
Traditionally it’s the bride’s mother, or a member of the bride’s extended family, but perhaps it’s you and your fiancé? Or, you could always have two parties; one hosted by the bride’s family and one by the groom’s parents. If it’s anyone other than you and your fiancé, expect the hosts to have an input on the date of the party and the location – which may well be your hometown rather than current place of residence. And, whoever does host should traditionally make a speech at the party itself – a signature moment of the event.
2. Work out your budget
The budget is a key factor in determining the type of party you can have and where you can hold it so it’s important to understand this upfront; you’ll need to cover venue hire, catering, drinks and invitations. A smaller budget doesn’t mean you have to have a ‘budget’ party – by crafting your guest list and catering requirements to suit your event you can still have a luxurious party. For example, switch a formal sit-down meal for canapés and champagne cocktails.
3. Carefully consider the guest list
Consider very carefully who to include. Anyone invited to the engagement party will expect an invite to the wedding, so don’t get carried away. If you are not the hosts, expect them to have an input on who to include. If necessary, invite friends or colleagues who may not make the ‘cut’ for the big day to celebrate with you separately on a more informal scale.
4. Set a date
Choose a date that works for you and your closest friends and family and decide how long you want to wait between the engagement and the celebration. Wait a few weeks before announcing a date to give you a chance to reveal the engagement first and let everyone know the great news. You want everyone to know you are planning on tying the knot, then give them something else to get excited about!
5. Decide on the venue and the menu
Choose a place that works with your theme and ideas. Do you want a lavish top hotel in the centre of the city, or would you prefer a restaurant overlooking the beach? You could even consider a venue totally off the scale, like an art gallery or the top of the Shard. Think about where you’d like your wedding to take place too and keep your engagement party distinctively different. As much as you want this party to be the party of the year, you don’t want to upstage the main event!
6. Send out the invitations – and don’t forget to add a dress code!
Give your guests plenty of time to reply as this may be a determining factor for your entertainment and food; you may even want to wait until you know the numbers to reveal the location, so you can plan the venue more appropriately. If you are planning a lavish engagement party, ensure your guests know it and don’t be afraid to tell them. You don’t want them turning up casual, when you have put so much effort into a lavish event! This can be obvious by your invitations, but it’s worth stating. And don’t you forget to dress to impress – select something that will wow, but won’t upstage your wedding gown. Equally, let them know what to expect food wise. If you’re having drinks and canapés, tell them, or if it’s a luxury afternoon tea and cake in the garden make that clear too.
7. Decorate the venue space
If you are having a sit-down meal, then consider the table fabrics, the flowers, the centrepieces – you could create a mood board to get your ideas down first. If you are thinking champagne and canapés, put more focus on the room and how you’d like it decorated. Check our Pinterest for some fantastic party inspiration – flowers, lights, candles or seasonally themed ideas will all make the party stand out.
8. Designate roles and responsibilities
Assign roles and responsibilities ahead of the event. Who will make formal introductions between guests that don’t know each other? Who will make the first (and subsequent) toast? Guests may bring you engagement gifts, so ask someone to take responsibility for them. If you’re not having a formal photographer think about asking a couple of trusted guests to capture the evening on film for you.
9. Decide on the entertainment
Nothing says ‘party’ like good music! Choose the entertainment to match the theme – if you’re after elegance, perhaps choose classic, acoustic sounds, but if it’s dancing you want, opt for a band to get everyone on the dancefloor.