How to Plan a Super Awesome Engagement Party!
By Brieonie Jenkins

10 February 2017

You’re engaged, congratulations! Before you get completely stuck in to your wedding planning, take time to celebrate and get a little party planning practice in.

The engagement party is usually the first in a string of exciting pre-wedding events. It’s the perfect opportunity to get your nearest and dearest together to celebrate and burn off some excitement, making the wait for the wedding a little easier (especially for couples opting for a longer engagement).

This occasion is all about bringing people together, both families and friends. Everyone gets to congratulate you, chat to old friends and meet new ones. Your families, bridesmaids and groomsmen are about to see a whole lot more of each other in the time leading up to the wedding, so there’s no better way to get acquainted than at a fun mixer!

Image by Etsy

Your party personality

Think about the ‘type’ of party you want to have. Is it a dressy cocktail party or a fun bash with a strong theme? Maybe it’s a relaxed barbeque at the beach. A great party will suit your personality, making you feel relaxed and excited. This should be the first thing you settle on as it will guide the rest of your decisions.

Next up is the venue. Want to keep things low key and casual? Hosting the party at home (or your parents’ house) is perfect for a relaxed party. Why not add a little extra fun with a theme? Serve margaritas, hang a piñata and call it a Mexican Fiesta, or hand out leis for a Hawaiian Luau. If you’re after something a little more formal, enquire about hiring a space at your favourite restaurant or bar and ask your friends to get glam for a classy cocktail soiree.

Decorate to celebrate

Decorations can turn any ordinary gathering into a special event. Your engagement is a huge reason to celebrate, so whether you’re planning a ritzy cocktail party or a simple backyard barbeque, spend some time on some festive touches to get your guests in the right frame of mind. For some this means going all out, for others it can be as simple as settling on complimentary colours and calling it a day.

Use coloured fabrics, flowers and accents that hint towards your wedding theme. However, don’t stress if you haven’t got that far yet. The engagement party often takes place before couples have finalised these wedding details. In this case why not use the opportunity to take your ideas for a test run? Trial a few DIY projects, or if it’s in your budget, work with a florist you’re interested in to create a few small arrangements to get a feel for what you like. 

When hosting at home don’t give guests the run of the house. Pick specific areas, like lounge and kitchen or backyard. This way you can create maximum impact with your decorations and get everyone mingling together rather than spreading out. If you’re hosting at a venue, it’s best to keep things on the simple side as anything you bring in is your responsibility to take away at the end of the night.

Image by Venuemob

Serve plenty of food

The type of food you serve will, of course, depend on the size and style of your party. Sit down meals are often impractical unless you have a small number of guests. For a larger party, serve food that encourages mingling, like canapés and plenty of them especially if you’re serving alcohol.

Many venues have food and beverage packages which makes things easy peasy. Keep in mind that you often pay per head, so get your invites out early and chase up RSVPs to ensure you get the numbers right. If you’re hosting at home, don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself! Ask friends and family to bring a dish or something to put on the barbeque. You can even organise a catering company to come to your door and take care of everything.

Have some fun

A little bit of friendly competition is one of the best ice breakers for people who may not know each other that well (like different groups of friends and family). For an outdoor picnic or barbeque, set up some lawn games like croquet or petanque – heaps of fun for both players and spectators! Old school board games like Connect Four, or Jenga are great placed on tables at an indoor get together. Sometimes people need a little push in the right direction, ask your bridesmaids to get the games going if people are slow to start and don’t stress if the activities don’t take off, it usually means everyone is having too much fun chatting!

Image by Honey Hollow Ranch

Take some photos!

Photos are the best keepsake; you’ll definitely want to get some good pictures of all your gorgeous family and friends. Not to mention the fantastic décor! We’re seeing professional photography pop up at all kinds of ‘informal’ events and for good reason, great photos are guaranteed including the coveted candid shots.

If you don’t want to spring for professional services, consider setting up your own backdrop where guests can take their own snaps. A plain wall strung with fairy lights, pompoms or balloons is an easy backdrop that looks awesome in photos.