The variety of engagement party ideas may be overwhelming. That’s no wonder – like the wedding itself, an engagement party is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you want it to be perfect.
Before you dive into reviewing your options, some points are worth noting.
An engagement party can be as formal as you wish – you can opt for a sophisticated themed poker night or for a laid-back backyard BBQ party. But in either case, certain etiquette must be observed.
Your engagement party should be suitable for guests of all ages, from children to the elderly. Leave your wildest ideas, such as extreme sports and bar crawl, for your bachelorette and bachelor parties.
Make sure to send official invitations at least a month in advance, and discuss who throws the engagement party with your parents – they may wish to follow the tradition and host it themselves.
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1. Backyard BBQ Party
An engagement party is nearly as large of an event as the wedding itself. No matter who took the responsibility to host it, inviting the entire family and friends of both bride and groom can be costly.
A backyard BBQ party is a budget-friendly and laid-back option, though not less fun than engagement parties in fancy venues. Thankfully, there’s no rule stating how formal an engagement party should be.
Such an informal engagement party will be perfect if the bride and groom’s families are only getting acquainted. It creates a relaxed atmosphere encouraging positive, sincere communication.
A backyard BBQ engagement party doesn’t demand exquisite decorations, but matching napkins and table linen, some balloons or party flags, and nice lighting won’t be excessive.
Take care of the entertainment in advance: board games, frisbee or similar activities will be just right. Alternatively, you can host an interactive Q & A to get everyone familiar with your relationship and each other.
2. Cocktail Party
Cocktail parties are especially popular in spring and summer when they can be held outdoors. However, you can rent out a nice venue to accommodate your party if you have the budget for it.
Of course, your cocktail engagement party should be special. To make it more interactive, you may invite a professional bartender who will teach you and the guests to make signature cocktails or get you familiar with spirit types and mixology science.
A casual and elegant cocktail dress code is the perfect fit for such an event.
Traditionally, women should wear knee-length or tea-length dresses, though nowadays, suits are also welcome. Avoid mini-skirts or sophisticated maxi dresses.
As for men, a casual suit or trousers and shirt with an optional tie will be the right choice. Jeans aren’t formal enough for such an event. However, the dress code is up to the engagement party hosts.
3. Beach Retreat
What could be better in summer than spending an entire day on the beach? Think water games, sunbathing, drinking cocktails, and enjoying hot burgers and sausages prepared on fire.
To distinguish your beach engagement party from a regular day at the seaside, think about the place, decorations, and entertainment in advance. You can’t just come to the beach with a couple of towels and take the first spot you see.
Search for outdoor venues on the beach or at least rent out sunbeds, a table, and a large umbrella.
Driftwood and shell garlands, tropical fruits, polaroid picture banners, and a photo background are just a few beach engagement party decoration ideas.
When the sun goes down, you can launch flying Chinese lanterns (provided they’re legal in your state) or fireworks (following safety standards) for social media-worthy pictures and an amazing view.
4. Pool Party
Pool parties are better than beach parties because they give you a sense of privacy and are better than backyard BBQ parties because you can enjoy the water.
And, like beach or backyard parties, such a format creates a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
If you don’t have a pool, you may ask your friends or family if you could host a party at their place. And if they don’t either, opt for a rented villa with a pool, country club, or a hotel – ideally, with a nice view.
Cocktail bar, finger food, and dessert buffets are a must for a pool engagement party.
No need to offer guests anything too fancy – mini burgers, sandwiches, fruits, and cupcakes will be just right. Choose tropical cocktail recipes, such as pina colada or rum punch.
Some of the best pool engagement party decoration ideas include floral arrangements, floating lamps or beach balls, fern leaves, and anything flamingo, ice cream, and fruit-themed.
Don’t forget about a welcome sign if you host the party in a hotel or country club.
5. Attend a Sports Event
Nothing unites people better than common experiences. Make your friends and family feel like a team by attending a sports event. Pick one the two of you love the most – be it baseball, rugby, or tennis.
Even people who have never been interested in sports will find it hard to resist a sports stadium positive atmosphere with hundreds or thousands of cheering fans.
Plus, you don’t have to take care of food, since most stadiums offer some drinks and hot dogs.
For ultimate bonding, get matching T-shirts of your favorite team for everyone attending. But make sure they aren’t a fan of the opposing team first!
6. Poker Night
A poker night engagement party may not be the right fit if you’re planning to invite children. But if your engagement party guest list consists mainly of friends, this will be a highly amusing and classy option.
No need to come up with entertainment – it’s already in the name of your party. Choose suitable music and find a large table, create the right atmosphere with slightly muffled light, and you will feel like in a fancy casino.
Such an engagement party is the perfect chance to implement a theme. Ask everyone to dress formally; women can wear their best jewelry, satin gloves, or feather boa (some will appreciate a chance to finally wear those).
Use playing card-themed decorations, balloons in black and red, or make a photo background to immortalize the day. Serve champagne, classic cocktails, and sophisticated finger foods.
7. Boat Cruise
Yet another engagement party idea revolving around water – what could you do, people love watching waves. A boat cruise is the best way to leave all your worries onshore and get some inspiration.
Furthermore, you don’t have to take care of food, music, and entertainment – most cruises will offer a variety of games, tasty meals, and cocktails.
If you prefer more privacy, rent out a boat or a yacht. Use sea-themed decorations to create the atmosphere.
If you sail at sunset, breathtakingly beautiful views are guaranteed. You may hire a photographer to ensure your engagement party pictures convey the beauty of the scenery.
8. Day in the Countryside
A day in the countryside is a great informal bonding experience. Have a big breakfast, ride horses, and have long walks in flower fields. Such an engagement party is a perfect choice for couples who want a wedding in rustic style.
The choice of attires and music for a countryside engagement party is obvious – live country music, checkered shirts and jeans, and straw hats.
9. Themed Engagement Party
If you want to make your engagement party truly unique, consider choosing a theme. It could be anything the both of you truly admire, from Venetian carnival or Halloween to Alice in Wonderland or pop art.
Themed engagement parties never fail to bring in a celebratory atmosphere and are exceptionally fun. Most importantly, everything – your attires, decorations, music, entertainment, and food – should comply with the theme.
For example, one of the most popular engagement party themes is the 1950s. It’s also one of the easiest to bring to life, thanks to the definite style of this era.
Tea-length dresses, cat heels, eyeliner or red lips, and playful curls are the ultimate 1950s’ look.
Other elements of the era include checkered, striped, or polka dot prints, old-fashioned curly fonts, and contrasting color combinations. Of course, the perfect music is jazz or rock-n-roll.
If you’re going for a Halloween-themed engagement party, ask everyone to dress in dark colors, decorate the place with carved pumpkins and spider web, and, perhaps, watch some horror movies. You get the idea.
10. Surprise Engagement Party
Traditionally, an engagement party used to be organized by the bride’s or groom’s parents. However, today, there are no rules regarding who hosts an engagement party. Most often, the couple does this themselves.
If you’re not the bride nor the groom but a close friend of theirs wishing to congratulate them with engagement (a friend everyone could only wish for, frankly), you may host a surprise engagement party.
Any idea that fits your budget will do, but make sure your chosen theme matches not your personal but rather the couple’s preferences.
You should also ensure they don’t have any plans on the chosen day and generally don’t mind surprises.
Consider coordinating your efforts with the couple’s parents. They can assist you in sending out invitations to family members or give a second opinion.
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