“W” Questions: The Engagement Party

Post-engagement is a popular time for brides and grooms to gather everyone together to celebrate their impending nuptials, and the engagement party is simply a more formal event in doing so. I actually love the ritual of retrieving invitations from the mailbox, but to me, an engagement party seems like another excuse to bust out your checkbook and add to your list of things to plan. So I started wondering: “Are engagement parties really necessary?” While the consensus is that they are not a must-have, they do seem to permeate wedding culture. As such, I figured we should dissect those age-old “w” questions: the who, where, when, and why of engagement parties.

Generally, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to a couple’s wedding or the events leading up to it, however, traditions and etiquette go hand-in-hand when you’re planning your wedding. So, when should you host your engagement party? Traditionally, engagement parties take place within three months of the groom-to-be popping the question, generally during month two or three after. You will want a little bit of time to enjoy your engagement with your partner, but if you wait too long, you run the risk of your engagement party being too close to your actual wedding day. There should be ample space in between the two for differentiation.

And who should you invite? With engagement parties, there is one important rule that must not be broken:  anyone who is invited to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding. Yes, everyone. That means, you’ll want to start compiling a list of attendees soon after you become engaged. This can create a mathematical headache for brides who are not yet far into the wedding planning process, which is why I presume many brides put the ring on their left hand, and pick up the phone with their right to contact wedding planners, venues, and pretty much anyone who will take their call. Settle on your guest list, and then send them an invite to your engagement party if you’re having one.

Next on the docket: gifts. We all love receiving them, but if you’re not careful, your wedding can start to look like present extortion. Remember: you’re likely going to be having a bridal shower (if not more than one) too. In cosmopolitan areas, it’s not uncommon for guests to bring gifts to the engagement party, however, you should never expect them. If you feel comfortable in doing so, you might include your registries with the invitation, but just know that this isn’t common practice across the board.  Along those same lines, or the “where” question, you’d never want your engagement party to outdo the actual wedding itself. So, keep it simple when it comes to planning. It’s perfectly acceptable to give your guests a glimpse into what your wedding is going to be like, but take a cue from Hollywood here and don’t go overboard with your preview. Having your engagement party at Stegton could be a great idea especially when you have your reception at our facility as well.  Get More Info


Lastly, you’ll want to thank those who were gracious enough to attend and/or bring a gift to your engagement party. But like most things in life, there are rules and etiquette to be followed. Chief among them: never use your future married name on any correspondence until you are actually married.

This includes your engagement party thank you’s, and any gifts you receive before your wedding as well. We all know you’re excited to ditch the surname you’ve carried around since childhood, but this is just one more instance where patience is a virtue and you should stick to what etiquette says. Go ahead, make Ms. Manners proud!

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