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Engagement party: 6 need-to-knows about planning one

by | 31 March 2018 | Couple

There’s no cardinal rule saying an engagement party is necessary. In actual fact, it isn’t. But if you like celebrating and want to hype up your wedding even more, an engagement party is the right way to go. But what does one look like, who should host it, and who do you invite? Here are six things you need to know about planning an engagement party.

1. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host

Nowadays it seems the engagement party is just another excuse to get dressed up, get drunk and high five yourself for falling in love. But some traditions are still valued, in which case the bride’s parents get first dibs on hosting the engagement party.

In some (very rare) cases, both sets of parents want to formally announce their offspring’s news to their social circles, in which case you might have two engagement parties.

2. It usually happens just after you get engaged

An engagement party is about, err, your engagement. So make sure it happened as close to the day you popped the question or said ‘yes!’.

Young man presenting engagement ring

3. It doesn’t have to be formal; invitations can be digital

For a low-key shindig, opt for a big BBQ in your garden or local park, or a casual buffet and drinks evening at a bar. And a digital invitation, email or phone call is sufficient. But if you want to go formal, a fancy sit-down dinner at a restaurant or hiring a chef to come to your house would be appropriate; as would be a paper invitation.

4. Only invite people you know you want at your wedding

It might seem tit for tat, but if you invite someone to your engagement party but not your wedding, they’ll be hurt. So only invite friends and family you 100% want at your wedding – yep, this will mean resisting the urge to put a public post on Facebook inviting everyone and anyone.

Having said that, there are some exceptions to the rule. If you’re eloping or having a wedding abroad, people will understand not receiving a wedding invite, so ask whoever you want.


5. Not fronting the bill is okay

Unless your parents are hosting the engagement party – in which case they pay – you don’t have to fork out for your engagement party. If you’re busy saving for your wedding, you might not have any spare cash for the engagement party. But if you do, you may want to put some money behind the bar if you’re having a casual get-together, or pay for the space if you’re reserving an area at a rooftop bar, for example. Don’t be scared to outline on the invite that food and drinks aren’t included.

6. Having a gift list is also okay

It’s not a strict tradition, but sometimes guests, like parents and long-time family friends, want to bring a small gift to the engagement party, especially if they know they can’t make the wedding. So if you think you might have some gift-givers among your guests, providing your mum or dad with a list isn’t a bad idea. Just be sensitive with this one – you don’t want to come across as greedy.

Gift table wooden notice

Do you have any engagement-party wisdom to share with the Popup Weddings community? If so, please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

About the author

Jo Wigley

From her word-nerd studio (way) down under in New Zealand, the copywriter in Jo crafts websites, advertising campaigns, scripts, blogs and brochures for businesses across the world. While the creative consultant in her helps brands, big and small, find their voice in one heck of a noisy world.


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Couple Engagement party: 6 need-to-knows about planning one