An engagement party is just what is sounds like—a celebration of your recent proposal. Typically, engagement parties are less formal than the wedding, and they include a smaller guest list, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go all out if you want to! That’s one of the reasons to have an engagement party: to try something new before the wedding! But more on that later; we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Engagement parties usually take place 2-3 months after the engagement. There’s no need to rush into one two weeks after you say, “Yes!” Instead, take some time and enjoy being recently engaged. Of course, if you’re having a short engagement, you may want to skip the engagement party, because there may not be time. But if you’re waiting the typical 12-18 months for your wedding, you’ll definitely have time for an engagement party!
On the other hand, just because you have the time doesn’t mean you need to spend it planning another wedding-related thing, though. As with any wedding-related celebration, you should make sure it’s the right decision for you and your soon-to-be. If you’re on the fence about throwing an engagement party, consider these seven good reasons to add the celebration to your calendar.
To introduce family & friends
Have your parents met your soon-to-be’s parents? What about any siblings, nieces, or nephews? Chances are, you’ve met most of their family—but their family hasn’t met yours. If you want to get the family together for a first meeting, have an engagement party! It’s the perfect low-stakes opportunity for everyone to meet early on the in the pre-wedding process. You definitely don’t want to wait until the wedding day for family members to meet—the last thing you want to be focused on is making sure everyone is comfortable and getting along! And if anyone doesn’t get along, it could ruin your whole day.
Maybe your parents aren’t the only ones who haven’t met—your wedding party might not know each other, either. You could have childhood friends, cousins, siblings, and work friends who have never crossed paths before. That’s very typical, especially for large wedding parties. The engagement party is a great way to introduce everyone beforehand—even if you haven’t chosen your bridal party. This will let you know how everyone gets along and works together (which might make picking your crew easier!). And if you already have your crew picked out, you can introduce them as such at the party. That way, they will all feel more comfortable planning any parties and discussing dress choices as the big day approaches.
To practice for the wedding
Maybe you’ve never planned a big party before, and you’re nervous about wedding planning. (It’s a lot of work, after all!) Or maybe you have the perfect color combination in mind, but want to make sure it really pops together. Perhaps you love planning, and simply want a test run! Whatever your reason is, an engagement party is the perfect practice. While there are other parties—like the aforementioned showers and bachelor(ette) celebrations—the happy couple doesn’t typically plan those. Instead, the wedding party and/or the parents usually plan the non-wedding parties. But your engagement party is all yours to plan!
To celebrate with your fiancé
Before the big day, you’ll have lots of chances to party—the shower, the bachelor and/or bachelorette parties. They’re all loads of fun, but traditionally, they are done separately. Your beau won’t be attending any of them with you. While it’s always nice to celebrate with your close friends and family, you probably want to celebrate with your fiancé there, too! Plus, if you and your fiancé have some of the same friends, it might be weird to celebrate with those friends separately. Once again, an engagement party is the perfect way to get everyone together. Instead of cheers-ing your mutual best friends at different bachelor or bachelorette parties, you can toast with them all at once.
To shorten the guest list
Are you planning on a small wedding? If so, you might be stressing about who gets an invite. You certainly don’t want to offend anyone—but you also want an intimate gathering without going over your budget, too. By celebrating your engagement with friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances who might not get an invite to a smaller ceremony, you’re still able to celebrate the good news with them and have your intimate gathering. And don’t forget to send thank you cards to those who attended the festivities!
We’ve given you lots of good reasons to throw an engagement party—but if you want to have an engagement party, that’s reason enough! Being engaged and getting married is an exciting time in your life, and if you want to celebrate with another party, go for it! Plus, your wedding is a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work getting there. So having a fun party before all the intense planning happens isn’t a bad idea.
As you can see, having an engagement party has a lot of benefits. It can also be a lot of fun before the big pressures (and big joys!) of planning your wedding. You can plan a cocktail hour event with proper catering, or a backyard blowout with a cookout, signature cocktail, and friends and family. However you choose to do it is up to you—but we do recommend keeping the extravagance to a minimum. (Save that for the wedding day!)
What reasons are the most convincing for you? What are the drawbacks to an engagement party?