Engagement Parties: What You Need to Know

Posted by Mark Atkinson on

Fun engagement party


Like anything you’ve never done before, having an engagement party can be a bewildering prospect that’s fraught with uncertainty. Here at Elegance of Elena, we like to cover all the angles if we can, so we’ve compiled a list of questions we’ve been asked AND some dos and don’ts on the subject of engagement parties.

Questions We're Frequently Asked:

Who should we invite to our engagement party?

Unless you plan to have an all-out hedonistic celebration of debauchery, you have to invite close family to your engagement party. That’s right, she might leave the party early, perhaps complaining that the music’s way too loud (even though she has a hearing aid!), but your gran simply must be present! Others you’ll definitely want to invite include mums, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and any other relative categories we’ve neglected to mention.

You’ll also want to have close friends there, and perhaps one or two of your workmates if you count them as friends and not merely colleagues. These are just the obvious ones, but you can either go wild and invite everyone you know, or limit your guests to those nearest and dearest to you and your intended.

Should we ask guests to pay to attend?

Being absolutely frank, we’d say that if your budget won’t stretch to the engagement party and you’re asking your guests to pay to attend, you might want to consider the wisdom of having a party at all.

Whether or not you have an engagement bash depends entirely on your budget (or lack of), and if you’re able to ask parents or other relatives to help with the cost. You could absolutely request that guests bring their own drinks and even food, as that’s frequently done for parties other than engagements. Indeed, if there’s a licenced bar at the venue, nobody will expect it to be free. So, if you are planning to ask them to pay what amounts to an entrance fee, make it clear on the invitations well in advance of the date. And remember, an engagement party is not compulsory or even particularly traditional, so it’s fine not to have one.

Should we expect to be given presents?

You definitely shouldn’t expect to be presented with gifts at your engagement party, because it’s likely that you’ll feel pretty disappointed by the end of it if you do! Then again, that goes for every occasion on which you have overly high expectations, not just engagement parties!

Some people love giving gifts for every occasion, and you already know who they are, while others will do just about anything to avoid having to splash out on a gift, and you probably know who they are, too! Having an engagement party isn’t really about receiving gifts, so our advice is don’t assume you’ll receive any and you can only be pleasantly surprised and sincerely grateful when you do!

How long should our engagement party last?

Let’s face it, this is your engagement party, not your actual wedding, so you shouldn’t plan for an all-dayer. We asked around the Elegance of Elena office and the consensus was that between two and four hours should be sufficient for you and your guests to get all caught-up, eat, drink and begin building the excitement about the wedding to a fever pitch!


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The Dos and the Don’ts of Engagement Party Etiquette

Engagement parties are as individual and unique as the couples hosting them. As such, you’ll need to sift through the dos and don’ts from the list below and apply those that seem right for you. However, to give you a rule-of-thumb to go by, we’ve included the most commonly approved things to do and not to do, as far as engagement party etiquette is concerned.

Things You Do Do:

  • Ensure that the invitations are posted as soon after you’ve made the decision to have an engagement party as is humanly possible. That way, people can make space for the party in their busy schedule.
  • If you receive any engagement gifts prior to the party, make a note of what they are and who they’re from in your special “Wedding Book” (which is an absolute must for every organised couple!). This will help an enormous amount when you’re writing thank you cards, and when you’re saying thanks in person.
  • Have a good think about what music to use at the party. If you’re hiring a band, a DJ or just using a YouTube or Spotify playlist, you’ll want to choose songs that will promote a good party atmosphere and keep guests on the dancefloor, as opposed to just the music you enjoy. Remember, not everybody will dance to Joy Division or Metallica even if you both love ‘em!
  • Make sure that the VIP or key members of the wedding party can make it. After all, you don’t want to book a party venue only to discover the best man or maid of honour can’t make it.

Things You Don’t Do:

  • Don’t think you’ll be expected to provide all the food and drink for party guests. If there’s a bar at your party venue, people will love it if put a small amount of money behind it to cover everybody’s first drink and some nibbles throughout the evening.
  • Don’t forget to take loads and loads of photos. After all, your engagement party’s a once-in-a-lifetime event (we hope!), and something you’ll want to look back on in years to come. If you think you’ll be too swept away with the occasion to remember, ask one of your bridesmaids or friends to be responsible for capturing every moment of the party on film…or on a memory card these days!
  • Don’t assume that you’ll get to spend much time with your partner the entire evening! The party will pass so incredibly fast, and so many people will want to snag you for themselves, that you might as well bid your partner a fond farewell at the start of the party, and hope for a romantic glance across a crowded room throughout the evening! We’d say that if it’s at all possible, grab your partner at some point and duck outside for a few moments to yourselves!
  • Don’t avail yourself of too much “party spirit” throughout the evening! Putting it as delicately as possible – pace yourself and try to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. You want this to be an occasion to remember, so make sure it’s an occasion you CAN remember!

We’re Here to Help!

If you’ve enjoyed reading our blog and you’d like to chat with one of our little team of experts about any aspect of your engagement or wedding, please don’t hesitate to pick up thre phone and call us on 0116 462 5347 or e-mail us at: info@eleganceofelena.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!



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