Engagement Party Etiquette Questions

Engagement Party Etiquette Questions


For all of you lovely, newly-engaged brides out there who have all sorts of questions about engagement parties, this is the post for you! Here are the most common questions we receive about engagement parties along with some simple suggestions and answers.

Who should host?

An engagement party isn't like a shower (most notably, because gifts are not expected), so anyone can host one. I always think it is best if someone offers to host for you (such as your parents or a close friend), but if not, feel free to throw yourselves a shindig. If you do host it yourselves, make sure to focus on celebrating this big milestone and the people that helped get you there rather than a 24/7 bling show. Trust me, your single gal pals will love you more.

What if someone brings a gift?

Some guests will probably a bring a gift for the two of you or the hostess. Of course, you should accept the gift graciously, but don't make a big deal out of it. You don't want your other guests to feel like they have been remiss in not bringing something. Set any gift on a discreet table or in another room. Open them up later and send thank you notes.

As a side note to a guest at any party, hostess gifts are a nice habit to adopt. In the modern age it certainly isn't required, but I think it is a really nice touch to never show up empty-handed. Bring a bottle of wine, pretty hand soap, or box of chocolates. It doesn't have to be expensive and your thoughtfulness will be very appreciated!

What if I don't have a big house?

What? You don't own a mansion to throw a lavish party for your 8,000 friends!? *scoff* Seriously, with rent being what it is these days, square footage is a luxury item. If you are working with a small space, that's fine. Rather than host an event that you anticipate lasing a couple of hours, throw an "open house" party over a 6-8 hour period. Especially on busy Saturdays, your guests will love the flexibility, and you will love being able to have a chair for everyone.

What should I serve my guests?

Always be time appropriate. If you don't want to serve a big meal, don't throw your party between 11-1 or 5-7. Those are typically thought of as mealtimes. Otherwise just serve light snacks or sweets. A buffet of little bites is something that can be really affordable and also cute if you style it well. If you are serving hard alcohol or the wine is flowing, make sure to have plenty of water, carbs, and the numbers of local cab companies on hand. Just in case.

When should I invite people?

Are the majority of your guests going to have to travel for this event? If not, you really shouldn't worry about sending invites more than a month out. Different regions have different standards. The more traditional South prefers a calendar-friendly heads up with an invite around 4 weeks in advance. The most casual Northwest would frankly be weirded out by anything in excess of 2 weeks.

Who should I invite?

Your engagement party shouldn't be larger than your reception guest list. Avoid inviting people who won't be invited to your wedding. It's not quite the faux pas that it is to invite someone to your bridal shower but not your wedding, but it is still less than ideal.

When is the best time to throw an engagement party?

Because you want to have big decisions out of the way, such as the number of guests you can invite, it's probably best to wait a little bit until after the initial engagement. On the other hand, you don't want to wait so long that your engagement party is bumping up against your wedding date. Gauge the length of your engagement and adjust accordingly, but generally is is ideal to host the party 2 months following the proposal.

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