OMG! He finally got down on one knee and you said YES! Your proposal was a complete dream come true and now you can’t wait to celebrate saying yes with the world – or at least with your closest family members and friends!

Your first order of business as Future Mrs. is to celebrate the love story of you and your future hubby. Who knows, this may be the first time both of your families come together to spend time and celebrate you. Here’s a complete guide to planning the perfect engagement party:

DECIDE ON A HOST

Traditionally, the bride’s family hosts the engagement party, and that’s totally acceptable. But it’s also 2018! If you want to take on the challenge and throw your own party, more power to you! Your siblings or BFF might also offer to host the engagement party. There are no hard-and-fast rules here.

In fact, you may even throw a few parties (depending on where your families live and/or if you have various friend groups). Regardless, before you start diving into planning, make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows who’s hosting the festivities. Then dive in.

CHOOSE A DATE

You’re celebrating the fact that you got engaged, so the date you decide to throw an engagement party on shouldn’t be too long after the fact. Our rule of thumb is to plan something within the first one-to-three months after your fiancé gets down on one knee.

DETERMINE THE BUDGET

Your engagement party can be as low key… or high key… as you want it to be. In fact, choosing a budget for the celebration will be great practice for playing with numbers when the actual wedding planning comes along. Determining a budget will also help you narrow down engagement party venue ideas and get a feel for how many guests you will be inviting.

CREATE THE GUEST LIST

First and foremost, you’ll want to aim for a date that works for you and your fiancé’s parents, grandparents, and siblings. From there, the choice is yours! You can keep this really intimate with just your immediate family, bridal party and their partners, or go all out with a larger guest list.

Keep in mind that anyone who makes the engagement party guest list must also be invited to the wedding—so this is a goodtime for you and your fiancé to sit down together and make a preliminary list!

If someone is throwing the engagement party on your behalf, make sure they check in with you for the final go-ahead before sending out any notifications or invitations.

CHOOSE A VENUE

Once again, you more or less have total freedom regarding the engagement party venue choice depending on how relaxed or formal you want the celebration to be. A backyard barbecue is a perfect option for a low-key party. Likewise, a private dining room at you and your fiancé’s favorite restaurant is also a good option (and is a little more formal).

PLAN THE FOOD & DRINK MENU

Here’s our best advice:

  • For a cocktail engagement reception: passed appetizers or a display of cheeses, meats, and crudités pair perfectly with swanky cocktails
  • For a yard party: your favorite cookout fare is a must
  • For something more formal: plated meals are always a nice touch, but the engagement party doesn’t have to include an all-out five course meal with wine pairings
  • For a restaurant engagement celebration: opt for a three course (salad/app, entrée, dessert and coffee) set-up. Family style restaurants with shared, passed meals are always a great idea too, especially for when two families are coming together for the first time

SEND OUT INVITES

Your engagement party invitations should reflect the type of celebration you’re throwing. If you’re throwing something super casual and playful, a Facebook e-vite is acceptable. If you’re planning something more formal, or even just want a more official feel, go with paper invitations. At PAPER & LACE, we can help you create a beautiful custom engagement party invite that meets all your criteria – from a backyard-bbq-themed bash to a chic sit-down dinner celebration.

Keep in mind that your engagement party invites don’t necessarily need to match the rest of your formal wedding stationery. You definitely have some wiggle room for playfulness and personality here.

Invitations should be sent out with plenty of lead time (at least a month in advance) so that guests have time to plan and prepare.

SET THE SCENE

Ice breaker activities and set soundtracks aren’t mandatory, but if the engagement party is a “get to know you” type ordeal for the two families, it’s definitely a good idea to think about some activities that will get everyone mingling and having a good time together. Bride and groom trivia is a great starting point – it will require small teams of both families coming together to talk about the couple of the hour – YOU!

CHOOSE AN OUTFIT

After all the prelim planning is in place, it’s time to focus on you. Regardless of the party’s formality, this is your moment, so dress as casual or as formal as you wish. And, there’s no time like the present to start wearing white, Ms. Future Bride!

You don’t have to go all-out-white (we love a white-based floral pattern or a soft pastel!), and of course you can wear another color if you’d prefer… but it’s a great way to let guests know that you’re the woman of the hour!

Your partner’s attire should complement yours in formality, so keep him in the know of how you plan on dressing for the occasion.

Above all, remember that an engagement party is truly a celebration of you and your fiancé, and your love as a couple. This is not time to stress! Enlist your family and closest friends to help with planning where need be – we’re more than sure that they’ll be happy to help!

And when it comes time to let your guests know about the festivities, contact us at PAPER & LACE. As custom wedding invite experts, we can’t wait to help you create something beautiful and unique that will get your guests excited for the engagement party of the year.

Congrats on saying yes <3 The best is just beginning!