Throwing an Engagement Party

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If you were ever to be meticulous about planning a party, then it would be for an engagement party. A soon-to-be-married couple deserves to have a final hoorah before they give their vows and enter into the Real World, which typically consists of buying a home and eventually welcoming children into it, etc. An engagement party can't be thrown together at the last minute; there are actually specific steps you should take to prepare for it.

So if you're in charge of the “to do” list for the to-do your throwing for the happy couple, then here is an easy to guide to putting together a fantastic engagement party that nobody in attendance will soon forget!

Remember, though, that you have a lot on your side. For such a celebratory occasion, everybody is in a good mindset and they will all be ready to relax and enjoy themselves. You just have to provide the opportunity, a setting. So here are some tips to help you do that.

Traditions to remember

It's a tradition that the bride's parents host the engagement party but if they are unable to, or not in the picture, the groom's parents receive the honors. However, these days, that's not really the case. But before you start prepping for your best girlfriend's engagement party, make sure her parents don't already have plans in motion. You want to talk to the couple, too, before you start planning – this is a celebration for them, they should be included in all the preparations and should pick out the date.

The invitations

Making the invitations is obviously the first step you'll have to take, but it can sometimes be a difficult task to get the word out about the engagement party and you certainly don't want to invite someone to the engagement party and not the wedding! No matter how many people you're inviting, though, you should be creative with the invitations. A picture of the bride and groom is a great thing to include in them! If you can't afford to include an actual photo of them on the invitation cards, it's okay to go with a cartoon of some sort that represents them. Also, include information about whether or not there will be gift-giving (it is not required at an engagement party).

Location, location, location

Luckily, you can hold an engagement party almost anywhere – the beach, a hotel, your house, a restaurant. It depends on how formal or informal you want the festivities to be. It also depends on your budget!

Don't hold back

Some parties you host will only call for subtle, classy decorations. But for an engagement party, it's okay to go all out! Don't worry about being obnoxious or over the top. This is not a quiet, formal party – that is the wedding reception. An engagement party gives you a license to get really creative and kind of crazy with decorations.

Remember who the party is for

Decorate the party headquarters with pictures of the engaged couple and include a video montage and/or a slide show of them and their family and friends for all to see. It's okay to embarrass them a little and ask guests to give speeches and share touching and funny anecdotes about the two love-birds.

Remember what the party is celebrating

The theme of an engagement party is essentially, love. So heart-shaped cakes are certainly not out of the question. Keep the spirit of love and romance alive with decorations and with any other plans you make.

Finger food's okay

The food at an engagement party shouldn't be too fancy, but if it is, just make sure it's easy to eat. Finger sandwiches are okay. And don't forget the beverages! Fine beer and wine, cocktails, or some combination of the these are a must. You can set up a self-serve bar or hire a bartender. Similarly, if you're feeling overwhelmed about feeding guests, ask them to bring dishes themselves or get a caterer! If you don't have a lot of money to throw around, then you can opt to provide just dessert food or just appetizers at the affair. It's really up to you.

You might feel so compelled as to hire entertainment or embellish the party even more, but as long as you stick to these tips, the couple and their guests should have a blast and will be excited for the wedding.

An engagement party sets the tone of the wedding and even the beginning of the marriage. If you can loosen people up and get the festivities kicked off on a merry note, then you've done your job. The engagement party should be a time when the couple can sit back and relax a little before the wedding day jitters settle in.

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