Since it’s engagement season, I thought it would be a great idea to do a series of blog post on the pre-wedding events. As well as give some helpful tips and etiquette information, to help make your pre- wedding events more successful.
So your getting married, Congratulations! have you discussed an engagement party yet? If so, and you’re not sure what to do, I have some tips and ideas to get you started.
Engagement parties may seem a little old fashioned, but they are a fun way to get your family and friends together for what could very well be the first time. This party is traditionally hosted by the bride’s parents, and at one point, it was how everyone found out that you were engaged. These days, it’s not at all unlikely for your friends to throw you an engagement party, or you could even throw one for yourselves.
They can be big formal affairs, but more often than not they’re just small get-togethers to celebrate what may as well be a very long engagement (most folks don’t go from ring to aisle in six months these days). It’s also not unreasonable for you to have more than one engagement party hosted in your honor. Maybe your families are far apart, or your work friends really want to do something special for you. Let it happen!
WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PARTY?
Engagement parties typically happen soon after you get engaged, and not so close to the wedding that they feel overwhelming for you or your guests (this is a party to celebrate your engagement, after all). I would recommend having your engagement party within three to four months after being engaged but more than six months before the wedding is ideal. This is a party that’s meant to create space for your families and friends to hang out and get to know each other a bit before all of the traditional wedding events and activities get rolling. But keep in mind that it should be on a smaller scale than the wedding itself.
WHO SHOULD COME?
An engagement party can be you and 20 of your favorite people eating pizza in your living room, or it can be you and a hundred people with a champagne tower in a hotel ballroom. Just make sure that you invite all of your engagement party guests to the wedding. That’s why you should definitely keep it small.
WHAT DO YOU DO AT AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY?
At some point, once everyone has arrived and enjoyingbthe party a bit, there should be a moment where the host makes a toast to you and your partner, and mentions how excited they are about your engagement. You should also say a few words about how grateful you are and how excited you are as well and thank everyone for coming to celebrate your engagement with you Back to that original tradition, this toast would usually be when the host, the father of the bride, announces the engagement.
These days, consider having someone special say a few words. Enjoy basking in all that love. (If you decide to throw your own party to announce your engagement to your friends and family, tell your parents first before the party.....,,,I’m sure they would love to be the first ones to know before you announce it to everyone else.)
DO PEOPLE BRING GIFTS?
Giving gifts isn’t required for an engagement party, and you shouldn’t mention that on your invitations either. Although you may or may not get any gifts, you should still write thank you notes to your guest.
WHAT ABOUT AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY AS A SURPRISE WEDDING?
I love the idea, I assisted a client on an engagement party/surprise wedding and it was incredible. The look of surprise on the guests faces was epic. The one thing I would definitely do is if you have close family members who you know would appreciate warning, give it to them. Otherwise, go on and surprise everyone. The reaction photos will be incredible.
WHAT IF WE WANT A HUGE PARTY BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO ELOPE?
I would suggest not inviting guests to the engagement party to celebrate with you, if you will not be inviting them to the wedding. This can definitely lead to misinterpretations and hurt feelings. Instead, invite everyone to a celebration after your wedding’s over. The “We’re married!” celebration since you will be eloping, and not having a huge wedding this will have a much better feel, because you’ve made it official.
Ultimately, engagement parties is the start of a series of celebratory events up until your wedding day. This is definitely a tradition worth keeping.
HOW YOU SHOULD SHARE YOUR ENGAGEMENT WITH LOVED ONES BEFORE YOU BLAST FACEBOOK
STEP 1: If actual in-person time isn’t possible, reach for the next best option: The Phone. I know, people have an irrational hatred of the phone, but a text just isn’t good enough for someone who is special to you. If you have their phone number, use it! Who cares if you’ve never spoken on the phone before? Who cares if they don’t answer? Who cares if it is a little weird? It’s still the most personal option you’ve got, and people just don’t walk around feeling offended you called to tell them important happy news instead of texted. (But yes, if calling is a thing that just isn’t going to happen, texting someone the good news directly is vastly preferable to a generic Facebook blast… so at the very least, use your phone to do that.)
STEP 2: Once you’ve called everyone you are close to, keep thinking and make sure you really, really have, and that you haven’t missed someone. And then maybe text some more distant people. And then think again. Only after all of that is it time for a social media announcement.
STEP 3: Now, and only now, you can post the news on Facebook. But, back to you. Your friend didn’t do that, and you feel hurt and sad, and that’s okay. I think you could go one of two equally valid ways here. You could say something like, “Hey I was surprised to find out about your engagement on Facebook! It would have meant a lot to me to hear that directly from you!” Or you could just accept that this is one of those things—no one is perfectly thoughtful at all times, your friend messed up here, but oh well, she’s great in other ways. I’d probably choose the second myself, but if you’re leaning toward saying something, that’s fine. Just keep it kind and focused on your friendship.
A WORD ABOUT #RINGSELFIES
Oh and will y’all just indulge me for a minute on a tangential point? #ringselfies. I love them. I really do. They’re pretty and sparkly and ya know what? If you want to show that thing off, I will like it with genuine enthusiasm. But. Please. Please. Do not announce your engagement with just a #ringselfie. At least squeeze the two of you in the picture! The ring should come second to the people involved.