Select a host and date
Keep the location convenient
Consider the guest list size
Consider your food options
Look for budget-friendly opportunities
Set up your registry
Send out invitations
Here's What to Look For in an Engagement Party Venue
So you recently got engaged and there has been some talk on planning an engagement party? The engagement party is meant to celebrate two people deciding to commit to one another for the rest of their lives.
The big wedding day may be several months away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick off the celebrations now! With the perfect engagement party, it’s possible to share the special announcement with family and friends in a way that strengthens the bond of the happy couple – and doubles the picture-perfect memories.
Traditionally, the engagement party is intended for close family and friends of the couple who will most likely play an important role on the day of the wedding, to meet potentially for the first time, mingle, and really get to know each other. The engagement party is the beginning of two families joining together to become one larger extended family.
Before settling on a place for dinner, drinks, celebrating, and maybe even dancing, this tried-and-true checklist will ensure you’re set with the must-have features to make the event just right.
Traditionally, the bride’s parents would throw the engagement party, but really the engagement party can be hosted by anyone who wants to, and honestly can afford to. It’s okay too if you end up wanting to host this party yourself. Once you know who will host, select a date that works for you and your parents. The engagement party should be fairly soon after your engagement as there will be several other parties along the way before the actual wedding.
One of the main differences between choosing an engagement venue and a wedding venue is the proximity. Engagement parties should be a convenient destination for most guests. (No one wants to spend a fortune flying across the country for drinks and dinner.) Keep this in mind so you pick a place that’s not far from as many of the potential attendees as possible.
If the families of the happy couple are scattered across the country, consider the most affordable and centralized location for everyone. (And take a look at more than travel costs — overnight stays should be reasonable, as well.) If budget or time restricts the majority of your family and friends from giving you their blessing, look to include just the core members in your plans, and work around their location.
Venue pick: If a laid-back gathering is what you’re seeking, you can’t go wrong with a brewery. Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta, Georgia. is a Southern engagement party destination. They offer a full food and beverage menu, sit out on the patio and relax with family and beers. Plus, with a ceremony space on site, it might just be your wedding venue too.
The rules for whom to invite to an engagement party vary, but a common etiquette rule is that everyone who comes to the engagement celebration will also be a wedding guest. That’s why, if the wedding is a long way off and no guest list has been decided on, inviting a smaller group is best. And since fewer people require a smaller budget, what’s not to love about keeping it simple?
When picking a layout, look for a venue that keeps everything in one room. If your family is large, consider innovative spaces that give people room to move about and mingle.
Venue pick: Looking for a swanky rooftop bar? The Dear Irving on Hudson in New York City is a chic two-story rooftop lounge with views of the city that never sleeps. Sip on both classic and exploratory cocktails that are expertly hand-crafted by mixologists and oh so pretty to look at.
The engagement party has traditionally been a dinnertime affair, although you’re free to explore all kinds of dining trends to set the perfect tone. Some couples find a family-style dinner to be a perfect way for each family to connect since engagement dinners are often the first opportunity for the family members of the couple to get to know one another.
Another great option to entice everyone to mingle is to opt for a more casual gathering with passed finger foods and pre-selected drinks options such as champagnes, red and white wine. Have the room set up with bar tables and minimal seating. This takes all decision-making away from the guest and lets them focus on meeting and conversing with everyone in attendance.
Venue pick: Looking for a venue that allows you to be immersed in nature? By choosing a venue like Latin Asian Gardens in Scotts Valley, California you can ensure that your event will be as unique as you are. With 30 acres of outdoor space, you are sure to find the backdrop perfect for all of your photos.
If the date of the wedding is set, it may be possible to look for a venue that can host both your engagement and wedding-day events. You may even get a discount or other special deal for booking both at once. You can also save some serious cash with your engagement party by considering it a separate event from the wedding altogether.
Love tacos? Snag a street food vendor to cater your event at a park. Adore the look of the local botanical gardens? Grab an evening during the week when bookings are less common. The beautiful thing about engagement parties is that they can be independent of the theme of your wedding.
Yes, you should set up your registry before the engagement party. Some people will want to get you a gift once they know you are engaged. For now, only add items that are low to middle-priced items. Don’t worry about the more expensive gifts, you can add those before the wedding shower.
Depending on the overall vibe of the engagement party you can choose either printed or electronic invitations. Send these out so they arrive to the guest about four weeks prior to the event so guests have enough time to coordinate their schedules. On your invitation include the dress code and registry links so each guest comes fully prepared.
What Matters Most
With so many venues to choose from these days, the options can seem overwhelming. Today’s engagement parties have no real rules, which means couples and planners can feel free to stretch their wings and try new ideas. Keep your engagement party fun and relaxed. Planning your wedding day can get stressful, so enjoy your little love bubble now!
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Author: Nicole Catatao