Engagement Party FAQs

Engagement Party FAQs

An engagement party can be a wonderful way to formally announce your engagement to the world. Usually hosted by the parents of the bride or groom, the party can be done in any style from formal to ultra-casual. These engagement party FAQs will answer all of the common questions about this special type of celebration.

When? An engagement party is typically held within a couple of months of the proposal. Traditionally, the party was when the couple’s betrothal was formally announced, so it is more fun to do it early on in the engagement when the news is fresh. Sometimes the engagement is even announced as a surprise; guests just think they were invited to a great party, then they learn the real reason behind the celebration. It can certainly add to the drama of the announcement. Send out invitations about four to six weeks before the party.

Who? At the minimum, the party will include the bride and groom, their parents, siblings, and other immediate family. The group is often quite a bit larger, extending to friends of the bride and groom as well as family friends. The most important thing to remember is that you should never invite someone to an engagement party who will not also be invited to the wedding. It is smart to get a rough draft of your guest list done for the wedding before sending out the invitations for the gathering.

What? Wondering what goes on at an engagement party? Much of it is the same as any other gathering, except there will be a formal announcement of the engagement. Generally, guests arrive and mingle for a while, have a drink and maybe some hors d’oeuvres. Before the meal, the father of the bride proposes the first toast, during which he officially shares the news of the betrothal.

In some families, it is customary for wedding jewelry gifts to be presented to the bride at this time, while in other families any gifts of jewelry from the bride’s father are given closer to the wedding. Then the happy couple takes a turn thanking the guests for coming, before opening up the floor to anyone else who wishes to give a toast. Music and dining round out the party.

Where? An engagement party can be held anywhere the hosts desire. If the guest list is large, it might take place at a country club or in a tent at a private home. For a smaller less formal gathering, it could be a large cocktail party in the parents’ house. The party can also be quite casual, such as a barbeque at a park or a backyard cookout. The only real rule is that no pre-wedding party should ever be so grand as to upstage the wedding to follow.

Why? The traditional reason to hold an engagement party is to formally announce the upcoming nuptials. The only reason not to have an engagement party is to try to get more gifts; it is not customary or expected for anyone to bring a present to this type of party. These days, most people already know about the proposal before the event, so it is really just a fun way to get the family together to celebrate the happy news.