- Gender and Relationships»
- Weddings & Wedding Planning
Engagement Party Ideas, from Themes to Food to Celebrating on a Budget
If statistics are to be believed, fewer and fewer couples are tying the knot these days, and for those who do their odds of lifetime happiness together are supposedly slim. It's great to think that in the face of all these depressing facts, couples of all ages and backgrounds are still so loved-up they want to get married... and first they want to tell the world about their decision to commit to one another. Why not celebrate that decision with your friends... all you need are some great engagement party ideas!
Engagement food ideas and drinks
Champagne might be traditional, but you don't have to spend a lot - a pleasant cava or other sparkling wine will look stylish and taste just fine, especially if you are saving up for a bigger party soon! As engagement parties are often arranged at fairly short notice there is no need to go over the top in catering for people, nor is it unreasonable for people to buy their own drinks after the first if you meet in a public venue. Of course you can treat your guests at a restaurant if you want, but it's far more fun to think about injecting your shared personality and themes into a catered event:
If you are catering at home, again you can reflect the informality and keep it simple - some light finger food and snacks do help though, and it is responsible to offer something to eat if people may have come straight from work or other engagements, and of course there will likely be a number of drivers present. Remember that the alcohol in sparkling wine is absorbed very rapidly, so a little food helps, and do have some alcohol-free alternatives. Of course you can go further and theme everything - heart-shaped cookie cutters make delightful bite-sized sandwiches, and hopefully not too wastefully if you can find one that fits 4 times on your slice of bread (points inwards). Heart-shaped biscuits are widely available, and a refreshments table is easy to theme with matching ribbons and balloons. It's easy to connect refreshments to a party theme, such as using tropical cocktails to reflect a Caribbean beach scene. Your guests will appreciate that this is not the main event, that is to come - for now you are celebrating your commitment to tie the knot and spend your lives together, and this is a little taster of what lies ahead.
Engagement party themes
You don't have to choose a specific theme for your engagement party, but if you are planning it with a bit of notice, then why not? You could choose to reflect something unique to your relationship, such as a shared enthusiasm: throw a movie-themed party for example, and decorate and design invitations accordingly. Or you could celebrate the place you met or fell in love - this works best if there is something thematic or glamorous about that place, for example a Florida Beach themed party works rather better than a Bus Depot party... or might at least be easier to carry off.
An engagement is often marked by the purchase of a big sparkly ring, and rings are a natural theme for an engagement party... usually as a party theme a pair of rings is used, though it's often not till the wedding itself that matching rings are usually exchanged. You can use multimedia to enhance your theme, if you have access to a DVD player or projector at your party venue then images and photos reflecting your theme, or your shared history, can add to the atmosphere
Speeches and specifics
Do you need to have formal speeches at your engagement party? There are no rules, although if you have gone to the trouble of getting a cake to cut and so on, it might be good for bride or groom to say a few words. It can help to break the ice, because one function of the engagement party is often to let both sides of the family meet properly before the wedding - if it's a whirlwind engagement, there might be two groups of friends to try to integrate as well. Certainly it shouldn't be necessary for anyone else to get up and make speeches - if you're getting engaged it's all about you and your relationship, so now is not the time for relatives to crowd in and take over! Instead it should be a fun time, to perhaps share a humorous anecdote about how you met, or your shared dreams for the future. You might, depending on where your planning has reached, also use the engagement party to share information about the date and other plans for the wedding, or ask people close to you to be part of that event in specific roles.
So many weddings, especially where parents get involved, end up becoming more formal and more elaborate than the two people at the heart of it may have preferred... this is inevitable to an extent, as there are so many people to try and keep happy. If you know this is likely to be the case for you, then whatever else happens, make sure the engagement party is done your way. With as much or as little formality, theme, structured activity or anything else, as YOU want.