Today, there are practically a million excuses to throw a party. Get a promotion then you need a party to celebrate. Bought a new house, then of course you need a house warming party. Getting engaged, well then’.an engagement party becomes a necessary rite of passage. The following article will give you tips and hints for throwing an engagement party, as well as introduce you to the etiquette and heritage involved in these parties.
Engagement parties are simply to celebrate the proposed union of two people. According to history, engagement parties were once thrown before the engagement was announced to the public. During these ‘routine’ parties, it was customary for the father of the bride to announce to the guests that his daughter was given permission to marry, and the groom to be would be introduced. In Ancient Greece, these engagement parties were used to create contracts (or dowries) between the two families involved in the marriage. In other words, the guests in attendance did not know that they were coming to an engagement party, and gifts were not part of the traditional celebration.
Today, engagement parties are held to celebrate most often, an already announced engagement. Traditionally, these parties are supposed to be held by the parents of the bride, and couples are encouraged to set up a registry for things that they may want or desire. This is often seen as a time when families from both the bride and groom to be get to meet one another for the first time, and people from all aspects of one another’s lives are invited to join in on the festivities. Most often, couples register for gifts that will help them start their lives together. Today, since many couples are already living together by the time that they get engaged the gifts almost double as house warming gifts.
Engagement parties can also be held by close friends, family members, or colleagues who want to celebrate the happy news. And, it’s becoming more and more common for the bride and groom to be to gather their friends and family for a party and make a surprise announcement of the engagement, hosting the party themselves.
According to wedding planners from Wedding Magazine, engagement parties should be held a few weeks to a month after an engagement has occurred. This is considered the ‘sweet spot’ where the stress of wedding planning has not become an issue, and the couple is genuinely excited about sharing their news. One rule of thumb to follow however, is that it is considered good etiquette to invite people to your engagement party if you are also planning to invite them to your wedding. This is just one reason that wedding planners encourage couples to work on the guest list early, so that they do not inadvertently end up hurting someone’s feelings.
Of course, if someone is hosting an engagement party for you then you shouldn’t have to worry that you invite each and every one of the participants to your wedding. Often times, co-workers will host engagement parties, with no expectations of everyone in attendance being invited to the wedding.
The next question of course is gifts. Is it necessary to bring gifts to an engagement party? If you are going to the wedding, is it really necessary to bring an engagement gift and a wedding gift? The gift giving side of engagement parties is truly a personal choice. If you invite people to a party, and let them know that it is to celebrate an engagement, most couples list the place where they have registered for their wedding. However, if the party is to announce a surprise engagement then obviously, gifts won’t be part of the gig. Many couples also request that guests don’t bring gifts at all, and word the invitations so that it is obvious this event is simply a time to celebrate and outwardly announce the union. In other words, there aren’t any strict rules to adhere to when it comes to an engagement party. And since most people attending a wedding will come bearing gifts, it can be a tad redundant to expect gifts for both the engagement and the wedding. (Additionally, what happens if the engagement doesn’t last? Are you really going to take the time to return all the engagement party gifts)
A few further tips for throwing an engagement party are as follows:
- Keep it simple! There is no need to rent out an expensive venue and expect guests to dress in their Sunday best. Make the event light and fun.
- Keep it economical. This means forego 5 course meals, and instead celebrate with appetizers. Depending on your personality and venue, it is also not considered rude to throw a BYOB engagement party. The point is getting people together.
- don’t expect or ask for gifts. Again, many people will be giving gifts when the actually nuptials are said. Asking for them to double dip into their bank accounts to provide two gifts is a tad extreme and narcissistic.
- If a friend wants to throw you a party, allow them to. If you want to plan a more personal, family party do so on your own and try to keep it small so that you and your spouses (to be) family can get acquainted with one another.
- Once you say I will, or yes to a proposal, decide if you are going to keep it a secret, or if you are going to plan a party as a big reveal. Going the ‘big reveal’ part takes out a lot of the stress on you and your party guests, especially as it pertains to gifts. But consider the feelings of your parents and close members first.