How to Plan an Engagement Party: Everything You Need to Know

engagement party

Getting engaged can bring about a whirlwind of emotions. With so many people to inform and plans to make, you may be uncertain what step to take first.

 For plenty of couples, an engagement party is a great way to begin. Newly engaged couples looking to throw a successful engagement party may need some help with the rules on how to celebrate this big pre-wedding event. These tips on appropriate engagement party etiquette will help you figure out exactly how to get your

How To Plan an Engagement Party

Planning an engagement party requires attention to detail and following a checklist step by step. You need to ask yourself a few questions in advance to make sure you follow a plan that makes sense for you. 

Use this guide on how to plan an engagement party to figure out who hosts, who should be invited, and what engagement party etiquette is the most important to focus on.

1. Decide Who Hosts the Party

Figuring out who hosts an engagement party is the first step to take when planning your event. According to most traditions, the bride’s family cover the costs and put together the festivities. However, the task traditionally falls on the person who is most likely to be the bride’s Maid of Honor or the close friends or family members of the couple. An engagement celebration can also include more than one party, especially if all guests can’t be together on the same date.

2. Select a Date

Throwing wedding  engagement parties within the first few months of the proposal is customary, as it is important to “strike when the iron is hot” for events like this. However, it is not wise to host the gathering within the first month of the proposal, as this time is designated for announcements and other preliminary meetings the couple might need to handle.

3. Determine the Budget

Smart engagement party planning is all about controlling the budget. A wedding is an expensive enough endeavor without adding costs associated with preliminary events. Keep the entire event modest to keep your spending sensible. 

Instead of a full meal, offer appetizers or small plates. The less you spend on this, the more you can spend on your actual wedding celebration.

4. Select a Venue

table decorations for engagement party:choose a venue for engagement party

Picking your venue should come down to selecting a place based around the general style of party you’re envisioning. You should also factor your budget into the decision, it will cost a bit more to throw a larger event than it would an informal party in your yard with a handful of friends. 

Take your time with this and remember that appropriate engagement party etiquette will be entirely contingent on the type of event you throw, with formal affairs having more regulations than casual ones. 

5. Create the Guest List

As a rule of thumb, anyone you invite to the engagement party should definitely be on the guest list for your wedding. This is common etiquette to invite someone to an engagement party. 

Most engagement gatherings are small affairs with close family and friends, so a reserved list is best. If someone else is hosting the party for you, the final list should be ultimately up to their discretion.

6. Register for Gifts

One of the more exciting steps of planning a successful engagement party is making a registry for your gifts. While it isn’t mandatory of guests to bring gifts, plenty of couples receive presents from friends and family members anyway.

 A registry is totally fine, but don’t make guests feel pressured to bring anything. Include your registry link on your wedding website or in the invite to the party in order to provide guests with the required information. Proper engagement party etiquette suggests that you tell guests not to bring engagement gifts if you feel strongly about not receiving anything at the party. 

7. Send Invitations

In the digital age, engagement party planning takes many forms. While the traditional route of sending your invitations by mail is appealing to you, be sure to start early so that the messages reach each guest in a timely fashion. 

You may also want to ruminate upon the correct engagement party invitation wording. For those looking to use digital means of conveying the message, a formal email or electronic invite can be sent out whenever as long as guests have enough time to prepare.

8. Plan the Menu

engagement event:beverage for engagement party

Figuring out the perfect menu shouldn’t take much time. Food is not usually a big focus point of engagement parties, but you should still provide some type of small fare for the guests. 

Celebratory drinks are a must, however, as the entire purpose of the party is to wish the happy couple well on the road to the wedding. Like many aspects of engagement party etiquette, your menu will be dependent on the scale and theme of the party you are hosting. 

9. Consider the Decor

Putting a little effort into the decor can be a fun way to add some extra personal touches to the party. Still, don’t focus too much on this aspect of the event. 

Contact a local florist for some simple centerpieces or arrangements that can add a touch of color to the atmosphere. You may also want to hop on Pinterest or similar sites to find some crafty DIY decor that you can whip up yourself. There are plenty of ways to go about creating elegant and effortless engagement party table decorations with a little bit of prep.

10. Decide What To Wear

What to were in an engagement party

Your engagement party is not your wedding. This means you don’t need to go all out on an outfit that will turn heads. You can save that for when you walk down the aisle. Still, this is not likely a casual event, either. Dress to match the type of party you are throwing. A formal gathering dictates you wear something to fit the mood. No matter how you dress, it is crucial to inform your guests of the attire recommendations. Including this on the invitation will keep everyone dressed in a uniform manner.

Engagement Party Etiquette for Couples

Attending an engagement party in your honor can be a big deal. Whether you’re throwing the party for yourself or a close friend is the one handling the hosting duties, you want to make sure you respond appropriately to guests and show proper thanks to all involved. Use these simple tips on engagement party etiquette for couples to make sure you cover all of your bases.

1. What Activities Happen at Engagement Parties?

engagement celebration:activities in an engagement party

Source: Vishnu R Nair

There is a lot of etiquette engagement party ideas when it comes to activities. While you don’t need to hire entertainment for dancing, you definitely want to consider games and other ways to keep guests engaged. 

If the people you’re inviting don’t know one another, these games can act as icebreakers that get the crowd to work through awkward silences. Plus, party games are a fun way to get excited for the future festivities.

2. Should the Couple’s Families Meet at the Engagement Party?

Though the engagement party is many things, it should definitely not be the event where your parents first meet your partner’s parents. Basic engagement party etiquette dictates the parents of the couple meet before the event in some capacity. This means you should schedule their meeting as soon as possible. Even if you meet for breakfast before the party, arranging this early helps to make the people who raised you most comfortable moving forward.

3. Should There Be Alcohol at the Engagement Party?

A good party always has a little bit of alcohol involved. However, you don’t want to make it a night of free-flowing booze the way many weddings tend to be. 

If you have the event out at a restaurant, engagement party etiquette suggests offering at least a single glass of champagne to guests for toasting. Keeping control over how much alcohol is at the party also helps you keep your budget in a good place.

4. Do You Send Thank-You Notes After an Engagement Party?


Source: Panos Sakalakis

After any gathering where you are the person of honor, sending thank-you cards is a common courtesy. No matter whether a guest brought a gift or not, a handwritten thank you note is a key part of being a respectful person.

 If someone threw the party for you, it is a good idea to provide a note and a small gift as a way of showing your appreciation.

Engagement Party Etiquette for Guests

If you’re going to celebrate the happy couple as guests of an engagement party, you need to make sure you know the rules before you show up. Knowing the finer points on whether you should bring a gift and how you should dress for the occasion can be quite useful. Refer to these engagement party etiquette tips for guests to get a feel for what to expect.

1. Should I Bring a Gift to an Engagement Party?

Purchasing a gift for a wedding can be expensive. Getting an invite to an engagement party when you’re already on a tight budget can be a bit stressful. Thankfully, it is not customary for guests to bring a gift to such a party. However, you might feel inclined to purchase a small present if you are particularly close to the couple.

2. What to Wear to an Engagement Party as a Guest?

Knowing how to dress for this type of gathering is a common concern for guests when it comes to engagement party etiquette. The invitation is the best place to get a feel for this information. If there’s no attire requirements invited, you can assume it is a business-casual affair. This means dress in a relaxed-yet-appropriate fashion.

3. Can I Bring a Plus One?

An invitation will tell you whether or not you can bring a guest with you to the event. One of the basic rules of engagement at an engagement party is asking questions before making assumptions. Unless it is clearly stated or you have permission from the hosts, don’t bring anyone along with you.

4. Should I Send an Engagement Card to a Couple?

engagement card

Source: Pixabay

Being on your best behavior is a must when it comes to proper etiquette. You’re there to show the couple your engagement wishes, not party hard with your friends. The wedding will be a time of revelry, but this event is all about respect. Even if you don’t bring a gift, it is wise to bring an engagement card as a show of love and affection.


Proper engagement party etiquette is quite straightforward. As long as you dedicate time to planning out each detail of this affair, you will be able to craft a perfect reflection of the love you share with your partner. 

Refresh yourself on these points whenever you need a reminder or share the information you’ve learned with newlyweds in need of some guidance. Learning more about what’s commonplace and what to avoid is a great way to become a more respectful host and guest all around. 

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