If you recently got engaged, you might be wondering how to celebrate the happy news with family and friends. Keep these key steps in mind to pull off the perfect engagement party.
Decide who will host
It is important to do whatever feels right for you as a couple, whether this means throwing your own engagement party, having your parents host or agreeing to let some close friends do the honours. Traditionally the bride’s parents host the first official celebration, but it’s common now for couples to have both sets of parents planning together or to simply throw the party themselves. When deciding, remember that hosting duties typically include sending invites, making a toast and footing the bill for the party – so everyone involved should be aware of the financial implications before jumping in.
Set a date
The appropriate date for an engagement party really depends on the length of your engagement, but typically a party is thrown within a few months of the proposal. This is just before serious wedding planning begins, so you can focus on one event before really sinking your teeth into the big one. You should give guests about a month’s notice, so be prepared when sending out invitations.
Choose a venue
The venue you choose should be well-suited to the formality of the party. If you’d prefer a casual affair, a garden party or home-cooked dinner would be great; if you’re aiming for a more formal, standout celebration you might opt for a restaurant with its own private function room. Either way, if it is a sunny day and an outdoor occasion you will need to think about investing in some gazebos to provide the shelter and shade – these can be easily decorated too!
Think about how much of the organising you want to do when deciding on a location. Planning a party at home means you’ll be in charge of everything from décor to catering, whereas opting for a restaurant or hotel means you can take a backseat and let an events team do most of the hard work for you.
Create a guest list
Guests invited to an engagement party tend to expect that they’ll also be invited to your wedding, so keep this mind when coming up with a guest list. If you are hosting the event yourself and are just having one party to celebrate with your nearest and dearest, it’s best to only invite people who will definitely make the cut when it comes to the wedding. However, if your friends and family live in different locations and you are having multiple parties with different groups, you can be a little freer with the invites.
Decide on a menu
It’s up to you whether you want to serve nibbles and drinks or a sit-down dinner, but you should provide something for guests to snack and sip on. If you are having a party at home you could choose anything from cocktails and canapes to a garden barbecue. If you’ve chosen to have your party in a restaurant, you may want to take advantage of group menus and will of course have a chef and serving staff at your disposal, so something more formal could be in order.
Think about décor
You don’t have to go overboard when planning the décor for your party, but think about some simple ways to spruce up your venue and inject some of your own personality. Fresh flowers are a good starting point, but you may also want to dress tables with colourful fabrics and candles, or even add some personalised bunting or photographs. Don’t worry too much about matching the style with that of your wedding – it’s not necessary to do so and it can even be nice to opt for something completely different.
If you are looking to throw your engagement party in a beautifully decorated restaurant with bookable private spaces, look no further than M Restaurants. Our venue on Victoria Street is the best for private dining London and our Events Manager can work with you to create the perfect event.