• Olivia Poff


An engagement party is a great way to kick off your wedding festivities and celebrate the soonlyweds! This is also the perfect opportunity to gather family members and friends from each side to mingle and get to know each other before the stress of wedding planning begins. Don't know where to start with planning the engagement party? Look no further because here we have the ultimate engagement party checklist to make sure no part of the day gets swept under the rug.

✔️ Pick the Date

The engagement party tends to be within the first few weeks to months after the proposal. This allows for the newly engaged couple to get their ducks in a row, start to think about who they want to ask to be in their wedding parties, and who they want to invite to the wedding.

✔️ Choose a Host

Traditionally, the bride’s family would host the engagement party but we’re in much more modern times. Now the groom’s family likes to be involved most of the time or the couple can decide to host themselves.

✔️ Determine the Budget

If the couple decides to host on their own, be conscious not to blow the entire wedding budget on the engagement party; but still have the party that suits your needs! If your families are throwing the party for you there is a little more flexibility but be respectful of the fact they’re covering the cost and have an open conversation about what the budget will look like.

✔️ Make a Guest List

An engagement party is usually smaller and more intimate than the wedding, so create an estimated wedding guest list and whittle it down from there! Family is most important and then branch out to those you want to be in your wedding parties and close friends. Remember that everyone invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding.

✔️ Select a Venue

This can be as low-key as you’d like (such as having a backyard soirée) or as extravagant as you’d like (renting out a function hall space.) Choose a venue that’s suitable for the number of guests you plan on having. Keep in mind you don’t want to upstage the actual wedding, so choose a venue that’s a bit more informal but still classy.

✔️ Send Invites

To ensure the best attendance possible, make sure to send out engagement party invitations with enough time for your guests to make arrangements. Typically 4-6 weeks before the party is the perfect amount of time. You also want to keep your invitations on theme, if you’re having it at home E-vites would suffice but if you rented out space at a restaurant a paper invite is more formal and makes for a nice keepsake.

✔️ Think of Decor

Pick a theme and roll with it! It doesn’t have to coincide with your wedding theme but it just adds a little extra flare to the engagement party. Decor doesn’t have to be too crazy but try to stick to a color palette for a more cohesive look; flowers and balloons can really go a long way!

✔️ Create a Menu

If you’re having the party at a restaurant this is a little easier because they’ll already have a set menu for you. If you’re renting out a space or having it at someone’s house you’ll need to think of hiring a caterer or asking for help from friends and family to pitch in and bring a dish. You could choose to serve brunch, just a few appetizers and drinks, or a full 5 course meal depending on the time of day and vibe of the party. It would also be thoughtful to have a vegetarian/vegan option and some kid-friendly food if you’re extending the invite to the little ones.

✔️ Plan an Activity

This is a fun and interactive way to get both of the families and other guests to know each other better! It can be something simple like backyard cornhole and partnering up one person with someone from the opposite family or putting together a newlywed trivia game! A team scavenger hunt is also a popular idea to get everyone involved.

✔️ Think of a Gift Strategy

Gifts are not mandatory as you will still be registering for the actual wedding, but it’s up to you and your partner how you want to navigate receiving gifts. Typically if guests decide to bring a gift it’s something small and meaningful to wish you congratulations. You could even specify in the invitations that you will not be accepting gifts at this time and people can wait for the registry page to come out so that everyone is on the same page.

✔️ Assign Day of Duties

Lots of people decide to hire a photographer but if you decide not to, it’s still a good idea to ask a member of the family or one of your friends to try to snap pictures whenever they can to capture the moment! Also consider hiring a DJ or making a playlist for the day to have in the background.

✔️ Plan toasts

You’ll want to keep them short and sweet but usually the couple will address their guests with a small toast and then it’s up to each set of parents/guardians if they want to make a small toast as well. The bride and groom will get used to making toasts at most pre-wedding events but guests will typically save their toasts for the rehearsal dinner or the actual wedding.

And remember to make a list of who was in attendance, who helped with what, and who brought gifts so you can send out thank you notes later! Even though engagement parties are much easier to plan than weddings, make sure to still put the effort in to make it a joyous occasion. Hopefully this checklist can help you cover some of the basics!

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