Here's What to Look For in an Engagement Party Venue

    The big wedding day may be several months away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick off the celebration 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. 

    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.

    1. Keep the location convenient
    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 cheapest hub for everyone. (And take a look at more than travel costs — overnight stays should be reasonable, as well.) If budget or time restrict 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 beer garden. Township in Tallahassee, Florida is a Southern engagement party destination. Guests adore The Garden space complete with outdoor fireplace, retractable awning, and private bar. With 32 beers on tap, it’s a favorite for connoisseurs. Snag a brunch reservation and get your favorite shandy paired with the outpost’s heavenly French toast! 

    2. Consider the guest list size
    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 an intimate setting that has room for all your extended family, too? The Liaison Restaurant & Lounge in Los Angeles is a chic nightclub hot-spot that doubles as a beautiful, private event locale. With a spacious open-air garden and an indoor lounge for more seating, it’s the perfect space to enjoy seasonal and sustainable California menu delights. 

    3. Consider your food options
    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 the family member of the couple to get to know one another.

    Plus, by picking a restaurant, you take the guesswork out of the event.

    Venue pick: Looking for food that reflects your values? By choosing a venue like The Grey Plume, you can ensure that your menu choices are in line with how you live. This classy, Omaha, Nebraska venue provides “seasonally-driven modern cuisine in America’s heartland” with a focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing. 

    4. Look for budget-friendly opportunities
    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 from the theme of your wedding.

    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 things. It’s all in the name of love!