Engagement Party Etiquette
While engagement parties are not an essential pre wedding festivity, they’re a great excuse to get all your family and friends together to celebrate your impending nuptials.
If your family and your fiancés family are yet to meet or haven’t spent all that much time together holding an engagement party provides them with the perfect opportunity to get properly acquainted.
To aid you in successfully planning an engagement party we’ve put together the etiquette tips you need to know.
Who Hosts the Party?
Traditionally the parents of the bride would host the engagement party, but these days there aren’t any strict guidelines for couples to follow. It is perfectly reasonable for another family member or friend to host a get together or for the couple to choose to throw it themselves.
Many couples are now getting engaged once they are more established and financially stable in life, meaning that they believe it is their responsibility to bear the financial burden associated with engagement parties. Couples who have recently moved into a new home may use the opportunity to combine their engagement party with a house warming.
It is considered improper etiquette to request a member of the bridal party to host the engagement party as they will have other pre- wedding parties to host.
Generally, the father of the bride or whoever is hosting the party will provide a toast. This is then followed with a response from the couple acknowledging their families.
Who to Invite?
Etiquette experts generally agree that guests should only be invited to the engagement party if they’ll also be invited to the wedding. The exception according to etiquette experts is if the couple is planning a destination wedding where a majority of their guests will not be in attendance.
These days however things are a little more relaxed with the engagement party guest list becoming slightly more flexible. As couples are also remaining engaged for longer, there can be instances when friendships and work relationships change with those a part of your life when you initially get engaged no longer playing such a pivotal role in the lead up to your big day.
When to Hold Your Engagement Party?
As a general rule, the engagement party is usually held anywhere between one to three months after the engagement has been announced. This is not a fixed rule however if you intend on tying the knot fairly quickly, the engagement party should be at least 6 months before your wedding so as to allow enough time between the two.
In sending out an invitation for your engagement party ensure that you make it clear what guests can expect i.e. is formal or formal? Will there be food and/or drinks provided?
Guests are not obliged to bring gifts to an engagement party and as such there should be no mention of gifts within your invitation. There will still be guests who bring gifts so it is wise to have some ideas that you are able to advise them of if they request.
If you are not hosting the party you should give your hosts some ideas so that they can pass them on to any interested guests. Gifts should not be displayed on a table as this can make guests who followed traditional etiquette of not bringing a gift feel awkward.
If you do receive gifts, ensure that you don’t open them in front of other guests. Politely inform the gift giver that you will open your gifts following the party, if they persist open the gifts quickly and in private.
As with weddings, it is good etiquette to send thank you cards to all those who have provided you and your fiancé with a gift. You might also like to send thank you notes to all those who were in attendance for helping you celebrate your engagement.