Should you have an engagement party?Pros:
- Engagement parties allow you to announce your engagement to your nearest and dearest friends and family in a fun way.
- They're a great way for your families and friends to get to know each other
- Hey, any excuse to have a party with people you love, right?
- Having an engagement party forces you to have a sense of your wedding guest list early, as you shouldn't invite anyone who won't be invited to the wedding.
- It is an extra event to plan for and PAY for, or to have someone else plan and pay for
- If you don't have a particularly long engagement (6 months or less) it may seem awkward to have another party so close to your wedding.
Planning your engagement party:Who should host your engagement party?
Traditionally, the parents of the bride host, but today there aren't hard and fast rules. The bride and groom can host it themselves, or a friend or other family member can undertake the hosting duties.
What kind of event should it be?
This depends on your budget and personal style. It can be a formal affair with printed invitations and reply cards, a casual backyard barbecue, or anything in between. A cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres is always a safe bet.
Who should be invited to your engagement party?
You'll definitely want to invite your two families so they can get to know one another. It's bad etiquette to invite anyone other than those who will definitely be invited to the wedding, so it's probably best to limit the guest list to those very close to you. Typically, guests who would have to travel are not invited, as you will already be asking them to travel for the wedding. (The exception to this rule would be the parents of the bride or groom).
When should you hold your engagement party?
For those with especially long engagements, engagement parties are held one to three months after the engagement, and/or about a year before the wedding. For others it can be held any time more than six months before the wedding.
Should you expect gifts and register for them?
You shouldn't expect gifts as etiquette does not dictate that guests should bring them. But the announcement of an engagement inevitably gets some guests thinking about gifts, and this is a time that they might start asking your family where you are registered. Some of your guests will bring present to the party. Therefore it's a good idea to have registered for a few things before sending the invitations. However, as not everyone will bring something, don't make the gifts a central part of the party. Put them aside, and open them after the guests have left. Don't forget to send thank you notes!