So he’s proposed and you’ve accepted. Congratulations! You’re about to start on the exciting course of getting married and planning a wedding. The first milestone on this journey is traditionally the Engagement Party.
Up until very recently couples often kept the reason for throwing the party secret revealing it to the surprised guests at the party. However that’s a tradition that’s falling out of style. The first thing you’re going to need to decide is what kind of party you’re going to throw, will it be a simple sit down dinner for close family and friends, or will it be an informal gathering like a summer picnic or bar-b-que. Some couples choose to go with more formal events at restaurant, renting a hall, or a catering location. The only real guideline with you engagement part is that it shouldn’t overshadow your wedding.
For informal events a personal invitation or phone call is acceptable, for more formal style events you will need to send out invitations. When making the guest list for your engagement party, you should remember everyone who you invite to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. You can invite people to the wedding who weren’t invited to your engagement party, but inviting someone to your engagement party and not to your wedding is considered bad etiquette.
While the bride may have her engagement ring before the engagement party, it’s considered bad manners to wear it in public before the official engagement party. The day of the party should be the first time bride wears the ring for everyone to see.
At the engagement party it’s usually expected that the father of the bride or the person who will be giving the bride away at the wedding will make a small speech towards the end of the evening. The groom is then usually expected to make a small speech as well. The father of the groom or one or two other very close family members can make a small speech as well but it’s not required or expected.
While it’s not required it is acceptable for guests to bring gifts to the engagement party. If any guests do bring gifts be sure to thank them in person the night of the event and send a hand written thank-you note within a few weeks of the party.