The Ultimate Guide to Engagement Party Etiquette

24 Jul 2014

Throwing an engagement party is a great way to celebrate your good news with friends and family. But just what are the rules for holding one?

The etiquette of holding an engagement party has changed over the years as modern technology has changed the way we live our lives. This has made throwing a party a much easier affair, so what are the hard and fast rules of sharing your engagement? Well, there aren’t any. There is a traditional way and a modern way to do it and that is it. These suggestions can help you decide if you want to stick with tradition or mix the old with the new!

Who hosts the party?
Traditionally it was always the bride’s parents who host the engagement party. Today with many more people living far from their parents or if the parents are no longer together then this can cause complications. This of course can be simplified by holding the party yourselves. This of course doesn’t stop you having an intimate dinner with parents at another time. It is common nowadays to have two wedding parties if the grooms’ parents live some distance away, they may want to hold a party for you too, although tradition dictates that both sides of the immediate family should, out of courtesy, be invited to the main party irrespective of distance to the event.

How big should the party be?
This is entirely up to you and your budget. You can hire a huge function room or have an intimate dinner at your favourite restaurant with just a few close friends and family close by it is entirely up to you. Traditionally engagement parties were something that were a lot smaller than the wedding itself, so don’t feel pressured to invite everyone who is on the wedding guest list. Usually the engagement party consists of closer friends and family members. It is not seen as good etiquette to invite someone who will not be at the wedding.

What about gifts?
Normally guests aren’t expected to bring a gift along with them as they will most likely be buying a gift for your wedding. However some people will want to buy a small gift to mark the occasion. Find a place to store these presents and open them once the guests have left so as not to make the other guests feel awkward if they haven’t brought a gift. If parents are hosting a party then it would be considerate to give them a gift, this is your opportunity to show your thanks for the evening and perhaps the opportunity to buy them a very personal and special gift that you know they would love. It is also becoming more popular for the bride to give the prospective groom a personal gift in exchange as he has given the bride an engagement ring.

When should we hold the party?
This is up to you but common sense would say as soon as possible after the engagement has been announced or at the very latest six-nine months before the wedding. You don’t want to wear your guests out with too many party invitations before the big day; you also don’t want your theme to be too big and grand if your wedding is going to be small and laidback. This could confuse your guests.

With these tips as a guide your engagement party should be the best day of your life… well until your wedding day which truly will be the best day of your life!

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