Getting engaged is something worth celebrating, and there is no shortage of opportunities to raise a glass. From dress shopping to the bachelorette party, to cake tasting, it’s all one big party leading up to the main event. What better way to start the entire process than with an engagement party commemorating your new status? Now, the thought of throwing another party on top of the wedding can be nothing short of overwhelming, but whether you’d like an intimate affair or a more extravagant gathering, engagement parties are the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together and set the tone for the main event.
So whether you decide on an over-the-top party or a more understated debut, read on for some creative engagement party ideas.
Set the Tone With Your Invites
Whether you’re planning a casual housewarming or a more formal affair, your invites will set the tone and let your guests know what to expect. Unlike a wedding invite that’s made up of multiple pieces, an engagement invite can consist of a single one-sheet detailing specifics of the event—but feel free to get as creative as you like.
Have a Color Scheme
Having a color scheme, with an engagement party that matches the wedding invite, is always a clever way to tie them together.
If you used an image on the wedding invites, incorporate that into the engagement party.
Give Guests a Cocktail for Toasting
Greet guests with your favorite beverage so they are more than ready to toast to your happily ever after. This is a celebration, after all.
Have a Champagne Bar
Have a DIY Champagne bar with your favorite juices and alcohol for guests to build their own sparkling cocktail. Decorate it with flowers or ribbons.
Serve Popsicles in Champagne
Who doesn't love fruit popsicles in glasses of Champagne? It's a refreshingly welcome libation.
Keep It Casual
Do your version of casual, whether that’s a backyard barbecue or a more formal affair. A couple of simple appetizers, a main course, and dessert to follow are more than enough.
Set Up Stations
A sit-down dinner isn't always necessary. To make the event even simpler, try setting up food and drink stations instead, so guests are free to mingle as they nosh.
Candlelight is the perfect way to add a touch of romance to your celebration. Use single candles spaced throughout the table, or set them up in clusters, using a variety of sizes and shapes to add interest.
Candles also make for a pretty centerpiece if you’re looking to skip the usual florals.
Host a Brunch
There’s one meal you just can’t argue with: brunch. It’s a people-pleaser, filled with diverse guest favorites from sweet tooth–satisfying waffles to savory avocado toast—not to mention, it’s a great excuse to indulge in mimosas of every variety.
Choose a Theme
This isn't necessary, but a theme helps tie all the décor, food, and music together. It also helps give guests an idea of what to wear.
Customize Little Details
Don’t be afraid to differentiate your party from other festive affairs with hints of wedding-inspired items, especially ones that are a nod to you and your S.O. Include a few special items that help tell your love story, like airplane cookies if you were in a long-distance relationship.
Make It Seasonal
Typically, engagement parties are far less formal than the main event, so you have more options when it comes to the menu. Serve the things you love now, and save the raw bar for later. You can never beat farm-to-table fare.
Don't Overshadow the Main Event
Your engagement party should be the event leading up to your wedding, not the one that overshadows it. Keep florals and décor understated so you have something left in your arsenal.
Host at the Beach
Enjoy some serious fun in the sun and celebrate on the beach. A more casual event like this is an especially good idea if you're having a more formal wedding, so you get the best of both worlds.
Rent Food Trucks
Have a food truck at your venue to serve guests. It's a much more relaxed take on regular catering.
Reserve a Private Room at a Restaurant
If you don't want to host a big event, you can always opt for inviting a few close friends to your favorite restaurant. Book a private room to make it special.
Rent an Airbnb for the Weekend
Booking an overnight stay at a nearby Airbnb is a great way to keep the party going all weekend. Even if you're in your hometown, you can still feel like you're on a getaway with your closest pals as they celebrate you and your partner.
Have a Tea Party
Attend high tea at a luxury hotel or throw your own tea party, complete with cucumber sandwiches and bite-sized sweet treats. To make it feel more like a celebration, opt for Champagne with your tea.
Serve Big-Batch Cocktails
Big-batch cocktails—what's not to love? Let guests be their own mixologists. Set out seasonal garnishes that allow them to mix and match. Bonus points if you have one signature cocktail for the bride and another for the groom.
Serve Food Family Style
Again, this party is a casual affair, so no need to be too stuffy with a plated, coursed meal. Serve food like charcuterie, salad, and pasta family style.
Get Live Music
But keep it fun. Hire a DJ to mix beats you and friends can dance the night away to.
Serve Your Favorite Junk Foods
The formal foods will come at your wedding, so use this opportunity to serve up your favorite indulgent eats, like fries, milkshakes, and pizza. Your guests will love the relaxed vibe.
Have a Photo Booth
Is there anything more fun than dressing up with props and getting in a photo booth? This is going to be an event you want to remember, so make sure there's evidence it happened.
Try a Dessert Table
Sure, you may reuse this one at your wedding, but no one will ever turn down a dessert table. Include an array of delectable desserts, from cakes to cookies and candy.
Have Lawn Games
Throwing a party outside? Lawn games are an absolute must. Include croquet and cornhole so your guests always have something to do.
Curate the Guest List
Not everyone coming to the wedding needs to be invited to the engagement party. Curate your list and get it down to a group of interesting people who will interact well with one another.