With every New Year brings plenty of newly engaged couples mapping out what this year will now look like (now they have a million things to start planning). First stop – the engagement party.
Traditionally it is the bride’s family who will host this party, but a marriage is all about two families coming together. Welcome both sides to co-host and offer yourself as party planner in case they aren’t keen to take on the commitment.
The dream is to have it at home, where you grew up playing Mummy and Daddy when you were 5 years old. Fitting your guests into the average home is the biggest hurdle, and that’s why a lot of our brides call us for the engagement party, as a kind of test run to see if that’s what they want from their big day. A marquee can fit into a wide range of spaces – especially ours with the way our pods work, adding on or taking off parts of the tent.
Generally, this would be held 3-4 months after the proposal – but if you’re planning a wedding over a year away then we suggest you wait until the spring/summer to throw your engagement party. If the cost is an issue, then try having a joint party with your Birthday? Make all the décor and invitations for the engagement, but welcome a quick sing-along to Happy Birthday at the end of the day.
An engagement party isn’t like a wedding or baby shower, where things need to be beginning by noon. You can have an afternoon tea party, or an evening disco. Think about how you want to celebrate with your families to mark this special occasion. You must remember that if you are throwing an all night affair, then your guests will expect to have plenty of alcohol…which is considerably more money than sandwiches and cake.
A big blow-out party always sounds like a fantastic idea – but stop and think about whether the party guest is also invited to the wedding… A wedding guest is more expensive to you than a party guest, but consider whether they will be offended if they don’t receive their Wedding invite. Also, make it clear on the invite if children are welcome to come and if you can bring a plus one. It is a perfect opportunity to meet your friends other halves, before determining whether you will invite them both to the wedding!
This is a conversation you will have to have with your Mother, or his Mother. Whilst the Wedding breakfast will be (almost) all your decision, they will have their idea of what food to serve at your engagement party. If it’s at your home, make sure to set up some taster menus with caterers as soon as possible. On a related note – parties from home are the best way to provide drinks for guests – and you could even ask people to ‘bring your own bottle’.
Similar to our wedding planning blog, we suggest writing a checklist and use this party as a mini-run –through for the big day. You’ll be able to see how much time certain things take, and see how much other people want to be included!