Engagement Party 101: The Ultimate Guide | Paperless Post (2023)

So, you’re engaged! Congratulations are certainly in order. An engagement is one of the most special times in a couple’s life, and an engagement party is the best way to start celebrating before all the hectic wedding planning begins. Don’t know how to plan an engagement party? Ahead, we’ve compiled our best tips and tricks to get you started.

What is an engagement party?

An engagement party is a celebration of the proposal, and the first event to kick off your festivities leading up to the wedding day. It comes before the bridal shower, bachelorette, or any other pre-wedding party, and you typically invite a smaller guest list than you are planning to invite to the wedding.

It’s a chance for you and your partner to celebrate this new adventure with close friends and family, and for everyone invited to get acquainted with each other if they haven’t already met. For example, having your friends meet your fiance’s family or parents meets more of your close friends.

Is it normal to have an engagement party?

Engagement Party 101: The Ultimate Guide | Paperless Post (1)

“Inner Circle” by Paperless Post.

While some couples choose not to have an engagement party, they are very common—especially with engagements lasting longer than one year. Couples planning a destination wedding, or planning an engagement longer than 18 months typically throw a more formal party. If it’s going to be a while until you start celebrating the wedding, by all means, don’t hesitate to celebrate your engagement.

When do you throw an engagement party?

There is no hard and fast rule about exactly when to throw an engagement party, but they are typically held within a few months of the proposal. Engagement party invitations should be sent around four to six weeks before the event to give guests proper notice. However, if you are sending online invitations, you can send them closer to the four-week mark since they arrive instantly, and you don’t have to worry about them getting lost in the mail.

You can plan an engagement party completely separate from your upcoming wedding, so there’s no need to have any wedding details nailed down before you host—not even your wedding date. Of course, it would be nice to share those details with guests when they ask. (And they will ask.) But it’s not necessary!

If you’re getting together with friends and family for another holiday or your birthday, you can combine both celebrations while you’re together. Doing this often works best for couples who don’t live in the same city as most of their wedding guests, and will only be in town for a short time. However, if you are hosting around the winter holidays, avoid picking a date in the few days before and after the holiday to make sure no one’s schedule will be double booked.

Who hosts an engagement party?

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Traditionally the most classic type of engagement party is hosted by the bride’s parents at their home, but modern couples can bend the rules. Anyone can host an engagement party—here are a few other options we’ve seen lately:

Both sets of parents:Have both sets of parents of team up to host together. This is a great way for the happy couple to meet their partner’s parents’ friends who’ll be invited to the wedding. It’s also a great way for your partner’s parents to meet your family if they haven’t before, especially if they don’t live in the same city.

Friends of the couple or members of your bridal party:If your parents aren’t throwing you an engagement party (for whatever reason), you can always have a close friend or a group of friends play host. Or if you are having two engagement parties in different cities, you might have your parents host one, and your friends host the other.

The newly engaged couple:Yes, you can throw your own engagement celebration. Especially if you’re hosting right after the proposal, a surprise party it’s a great way to share the news with family and friends.

Who do you invite to an engagement party?

The only rule of who to invite to an engagement party is they must be invited to the wedding. According to wedding etiquette, you should invite everyone to the wedding that helps you celebrate your engagement. Still, not everyone invited to the wedding needs to be included in your engagement party. Unsure what to say? Read our guide to engagement party wording.

Engagement parties are typically smaller and are a more casual affair than weddings. You’ll want to talk and mingle with all your loved ones, so don’t invite so many guests that you feel overwhelmed or rushed to greet everyone. Keep it simple and invite close family and you and your partner’s closest friends.

What happens at an engagement party?

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Paperless Post Flyer invitation

When it comes to engagement party planning, the options for venues and activities are endless! (Check out our favorite engagement party ideas here.) Typically it’s a casual cocktail party at someone’s home, a bar, or restaurant. But more adventurous couples can skip the cocktail attire and opt for an activity-based engagement party like ax throwing.

No matter the venue, toasts are always customary—typically from the hosts and the engaged couple. Keep them short and sweet, and save your lengthy ones for your big day. Another must? Telling your proposal story! To avoid repeating yourself over and over, consider telling how it happened when it’s your time to give a toast.

Though speeches are a must, according to engagement party etiquette, engagement gifts are not. There’s no need to attach a registry or ask for gifts. That’s what the bridal shower is for. (But if someone does bring a gift or sends a wedding congratulations card, don’t forget the thank you note!)

How to plan an engagement party?

Planning an engagement party isn’t unlike prepping for a milestone birthday party or baby shower. Just make sure to cover all your bases.

Choose a date & time

Pick a date that will work best for your guests. (Or send early enough in advance before they have plans.) Weekend evenings (Friday or Saturday) are preferred, so most guests won’t have to work the next day. Set a start and end time, so engagement party guests know when to arrive and depart, typically a two to four-hour window.

Pick a venue

Choose a venue where the majority of your guests live. For example, your parents’ hometown. If you have friends in one city, and family in another, consider hosting two different parties for each group. If your guests are all over the place and most will be traveling in for your engagement party, pick a different city than where you’re hosting the actual wedding to avoid travel fatigue.

Decide on a theme

When it’s time to set the scene, consider going in a different direction than your wedding venue. For example, if you’re hosting a laid-back garden wedding, plan a fun and glam engagement party. Or if your wedding will be a formal church ceremony, hosting something casual outdoors.

Create the guest list

Like we mentioned before, keep your engagement party list much smaller than your wedding guest list. Whether you’re hosting your own engagement party or need to put together a list for the host, you can easily pull past contacts from your Paperless Post address book.

Send engagement party invitations

Send engagement invitations about four to six weeks in advance of the date. Your ideas for engagement party invitations can be completely different from your wedding invitation theme, so there’s no need to coordinate both sets of stationery. You can show off your engagement photos with a photo card design, or showcase your names using calligraphy or modern typography.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on printed formal invitations either. Sending online invitations through Paperless Post is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to invite your guests on a budget—without sacrificing style! Plus, you can add a link to your wedding website to give guests a sneak peek of your wedding details.

Plan a menu

Where there are cocktails, there needs to be food. You can serve a full family-style dinner or pass around light apps. Just make sure to specify on the invitation what will be served so guests can plan. For example, “Please join us for cocktails and light bites” or “Please join us for a festive dinner celebrating the future bride and groom.”

Choose an outfit

Prepare to make an entrance! An engagement party kicks off all your wedding festivities, and you’ll cherish the photos for years to come. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your outfit and cause yourself unnecessary stress. Plan ahead, and find something appropriate to match the dress code that’s festive and fabulous.

Feeling inspired and ready to start planning an engagement party? Start browsing our selection of modernengagement party invitationstoday.

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What do you say in an engagement party speech? ›

Speak to their relationship and the love they share, tell everyone a short story about how they met, and toast with all the enthusiasm and warmth to the wonderful future they have ahead of them.” End your toast with a nod of positivity and all the beautiful moments to come.

How long after getting engaged should you have an engagement party? ›

Ideally, you'll want to host your engagement party sooner rather than later while the excitement is still fresh! Between 2-4 months of your engagement is generally a good window. This way, you can allow yourself a few weeks to relish in your “just engaged” bubble, before diving headfirst into the wedding planning.

What is the etiquette for throwing an engagement party? ›

Who throws the engagement party? Tradition has it that the bride's parents host the initial gathering, but the groom's parents can then throw their own party, or both sets of parents can come together to host the fete.

How long should an engagement party last? ›

Engagement parties generally last about 4 hours only so plan for food and drink accordingly. Also, you don't need a fancy expensive cake like you'll want for your wedding. You can serve any dessert you like, no worries.

What is a good engagement message? ›

Congratulations, wishing you all the best together." "May this engagement be the beginning of everlasting happiness and commitment to one another." "It's a truly wonderful thing that you have found each other. All the best with your wedding plans."

What is the best message for engagement? ›

Engagement Congratulations Messages
  • You're engaged! ...
  • Congratulations on this exciting time in your lives!
  • Well, this is BIG news! ...
  • I hope your future together is filled with infinite happiness, laughter, and love.
  • This is the beginning of your happily ever after. ...
  • Yass! ...
  • Congratulations to the future bride and groom.

What should you not do at an engagement party? ›

Don't: Separate the Families

During an engagement party, both the bride and groom's families should be encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the party. This might be the first time the newly engaged couple's families are meeting, so it's important to make it count and give them time to get to know one another.

Do you do speeches at an engagement party? ›

Speeches, or toasts, are a heartfelt part of an engagement party. The best of them will be touching, funny, or a combination of the two, and they usually happen once the celebration is well underway.

Do you bring presents to an engagement party? ›

The good thing is that gifts are not often required for engagement parties, so you can make a relaxed decision. If you do decide on taking something, engagement party gift ideas could range from a lovely book, to some wine, or even a cute picture frame.

Who pays for engagement party? ›

Who pays for the engagement party? This expense is traditionally covered by the bride's family since they often host the engagement party at their house as a way to welcome and bring together the two families (usually for the first time!).

Who hosts the engagement party traditionally? ›

Traditionally the engagement party is hosted by the bride's parents, but can also be given by friends of the bride and groom, or other relatives. Yes, you can have two or more parties; one for relatives and family friends, for instance, and another for your own friends.

Do parents give an engagement gift? ›

While engagement gifts from parents aren't required, they're certainly welcome and appreciated, especially if the couple is having an engagement party. But, since it's just the first of many celebrations, there's no need to go overboard. A thoughtful card is an appropriate gesture and anything else is extra.

Do you serve cake at an engagement party? ›

Should we have a cake? This is completely up to you! We've seen couples organise anything from a gelato cart to a dessert buffet and some not worry about this detail at all.

How many guests do you bring to an engagement party? ›

Everyone at the engagement party should be invited to the wedding, but not everyone invited to the wedding needs to be invited to the engagement party. Typically, engagement parties are more intimate than weddings, with a range of 10 to 75 people.

What are some engagement quotes? ›

  • “Here's to your engagement! ...
  • “Cheers on your engagement!”
  • “Here's to a very happy engagement and a lifetime of love.”
  • “Cheers to the two of you…and to the love you share!”
  • “May your engagement be happy. ...
  • “A toast to your engagement! ...
  • “Here's to the wonderful two of you! ...
  • “Celebrating your engagement!
Aug 28, 2020

How do you say congratulations in a unique way? ›

Congratulations Messages
  1. Congratulations! We're so very proud of you!
  2. Your hard work and perseverance have paid off. Congratulations!
  3. Congratulations on your well-deserved success! You're an inspiration!
  4. Warmest congratulations on your achievement! Wishing you even more success in the future.

Do you say happy engagement? ›

Simple and Happy Engagement Quotes

Congratulations on your engagement! Congratulations to you both for your special occasion! So happy to hear the news. Big congratulations!

What do you say before engagement? ›

  • Work and money. How devoted are you each to your careers, and what are your professional goals? ...
  • Health. How do you handle stress and conflict? ...
  • Family. What are the expectations of having children or not, and when? ...
  • Living together. How will you divide the workload of household chores? ...
  • Communication and social interaction.
Dec 24, 2019

How do you congratulate an engagement funny? ›

Engagement advice: make sure the ring is really tight so it can never be taken off! Congratulations on your engagement😀😀. I can't wait to Instagram the wedding! Happy engagement wishes we all 🙄🙄send to you, now all we wanna know is when's the baby due?

What are the three rules of engagement? ›

Three Golden Rules of Engagement: Frequency = Depth, Empathy is Everything & Feelings First: Facts Second, Part 3. Our six-year old son, apparently knows far more about effective communication than I do.

What color should you not wear to an engagement party? ›

Should guests wear white to an engagement party? For any wedding-related event, like an engagement party, it's best for guests to avoid wearing white. The shade has such a strong bridal association that it's just considered respectful not to wear it.

Do you serve dinner at engagement party? ›

Another important element when planning an engagement party is, of course, the food. You certainly don't have to serve a five-course sit-down dinner with an open bar (unless you want to), but there should definitely be something to munch and sip on at your party.

What should the mother of the bride wear to the engagement party? ›

Go for a simple cotton print dress for a daytime engagement party, or choose an elegant print silk gown for an evening engagement party.

How much money is appropriate for an engagement gift? ›

How much money do you give at an engagement party? The standard amount to give as a wedding gift is $100 to $200. Give less than this as an engagement party gift. Somewhere between $50 and $75 is appropriate.

What should the mother of the groom not do? ›

Here are a few things a mother-of-the-groom shouldn't do.
  • Don't overshadow the bride's mother. ...
  • Don't act (or dress) like a bridesmaid. ...
  • Don't get too critical. ...
  • Don't steal the bride's spotlight with your mother-of-the-groom outfit. ...
  • Don't try to invite extra guests. ...
  • Don't skip the pre-wedding events.
Jul 2, 2019

How much money should the groom's parents give as a wedding gift? ›

Parents of the bride and groom collectively contribute about $19,000 to the wedding, or about two-thirds of the total cost, according to WeddingWire. The bride's parents give an average $12,000, and the groom's, $7,000. Just 1 in 10 couples pays for the wedding entirely on their own, according to TheKnot.com.

Who gives the engagement dinner? ›

Traditionally, the engagement party is hosted by the bride's parents, but friends of the bride and groom and other relatives may want to organize the gathering as well. The couple may opt to have two or more parties: one for relatives and family friends, for instance, and another for their own friends.

Do people dance at an engagement party? ›

Unless you're having a rager with just your best friends, save the dancing for your wedding. The goal of your engagement parties is to allow people to talk and actually hear one another, so avoid hosting the party at a very loud restaurant or playing super-loud music during the festivities.

Can the groom's parents host an engagement party? ›

Can the groom's parents host the engagement party? Anyone can host the engagement party, but tradition for bride and groom couples dictates that the bride's parents have first dibs on the soirée.

Do you play games at an engagement party? ›

One of the best ways to have guests (who may not know each other) mingle and get acquainted is to play a few engagement party games and icebreakers. Of course, playing engagement party games definitely isn't mandatory engagement party etiquette, but it can only add to the fun.

What must daughters do for engagement? ›

The lady of the house must prepare sandwiches on the occasion of her daughter's engagement. Cakes and bolinhas are a must for Christmas as well as other festivals. Thus, the presence of the baker's furnace in the village is absolutely essential.

What is the groom's mother responsible for? ›

Traditionally, the groom's mother will take care of the rehearsal dinner arrangements and help prepare the guest list for the groom's side of the family. Both tasks should be done with both the bride and the groom's input. Any other responsibilities can be negotiated among the families.

Do parents meet after engagement? ›

We're here to help. The good news is, there are no rules about parents meeting before a couple gets engaged. "It really can be before or after," says Lizzie Post, an etiquette expert and co-author of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette 6th Edition.

Who speaks at an engagement party? ›

If the bride's parents are hosting, which is typical of the engagement party, one of them-usually Dad-makes the first speech. He welcomes the guests and toasts his daughter and her groom-to-be, regaling the crowd with a sweet anecdote about the bride. If someone else is hosting, that person should make the first toast.

Who gives the engagement speech? ›

Traditionally the event is held by the bride's family and the father gives the opening speech. However things are not always traditional! The speech could also be delivered by the groom-to-be, the bride-to-be, the mother of the bride or groom, a close friend of either of them, or a much respected senior family member.

How do you start an engagement conversation? ›

How to Have the 'I'm Ready to Get Engaged' Conversation
  1. Why the Conversation Is Difficult.
  2. Be Mindful of the Timing.
  3. Acknowledge It's Weird.
  4. Talk About Your Relationship Dreams.
  5. Ask Open-Ended Questions.
May 3, 2021

Are speeches expected at an engagement party? ›

Do you give speeches at an engagement parties? Yes, speeches are essential at an engagement party. The best people to give speeches are the new couple. If they're not up to it, the parents or mutual friends are great alternatives.

Who should give a toast at an engagement party? ›

At an engagement party hosted by the bride's parents, the bride's father proposes a toast to the bride and groom, followed by the groom toasting his bride-to-be and her parents and his own parents. At a more informal affair hosted by friends, anyone can make a toast at anytime. The engaged couple should toast the host.

What is a good engagement toast? ›

First and foremost, an engagement toast should be about the couple, though you can also talk about them as individuals. Think about your personal relationship with the pair and use that to inspire the anecdotes you tell or reflections you share.

What is the key in any speaking engagement? ›

Listening to what your audience says is one of the most important parts of being a successful public speaker. Your audience may point out things that you do while speaking that you may have not noticed before. Take every feedback as constructive criticism and apply it to your future speeches.

Who gets the man's engagement ring? ›

Traditionally, the man will buy his partner their engagement ring ahead of the proposal. Sometimes, the partner will choose their ring after the proposal. In both of these scenarios, that still leaves the man questioning whether he will have to pay for his own ring, or if the partner is expected to pay.

What do you say when you engage? ›

If so, make sure you do it,” Blum says. “And when the time comes, get down on one knee, with the ring box in your hand, and actually say 'Will you marry me? ' followed by your intended's name.”

What makes a man want to marry you? ›

Sociologists researched traits that men tend to want their potential wife to have. These preferences include: Mutual attraction and love. Passion and friendship.

Do give gifts at engagement party? ›

The good thing is that gifts are not often required for engagement parties, so you can make a relaxed decision. If you do decide on taking something, engagement party gift ideas could range from a lovely book, to some wine, or even a cute picture frame.

Do guests bring gifts to an engagement party? ›

Nowadays, it's common for guests to bring a gift to an engagement party, but it's usually something small and sentimental. Don't feel pressured to give an elaborate or expensive item. If you wish to bring something, you can, but bring it to the gathering itself.


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