After you’ve picked out the right ring and had a romantic proposal (not necessarily in that order), you now need to decide on the wedding cards to send out and what to do to announce the engagement. A lot of people decide to use the proposal as an excuse for a party, and as a bonus the invitations can serve as a trial run for your wedding cards!
The engagement party can be a bit tricky in terms of etiquette, as the event is a less established part of the wedding than cards or the ceremony. Here, then, are the answers to all the engagement party questions you might be asking!
Where do you host it?
You can either host the event yourself, have your parent’s host it (generally the bride’s parents) or one of your friends could hold it for you. There are really no rules here – you could even go to the beach or a park for a picnic!
Who should be invited?
The engagement party should be lower key than the reception, so everyone you invite should be a close friend or family member – and also be invited to the actual ceremony! This isn’t meant to be a consolation party, it’s an opportunity to celebrate with your nearest and dearest, as well as show off the ring to the people who will most want to see it.
Everyone in the bridal party should be invited, unless they live an unreasonable distance away. These people should be the ones closest to you, so you would probably bring them anyway – but make sure.
If someone decides to throw an engagement celebration for you as an excuse to go out (say, drinks with colleagues after work) then you can invite anyone in the group. This is regardless of whether or not they will get wedding cards for the actual celebration – it’s more of an opportunity to celebrate with some acquaintances rather than announce that you are engaged.
Should you expect gifts?
While some people will want to give you gifts for an engagement party, it is not an expectation you should have. If all of the guests are going to be getting wedding cards anyway then they will bring presents to that – and if they won’t be invited to the big day, they certainly don’t owe you a gift!
That said, some people will bring a small present anyway. It is a good idea to put these aside, out of view, so that those who don’t bring something don’t feel guilty – after all, they will still give you something at some point.
What about the wedding cards?
You don’t need to have your printed invitations to the big day ready to go before the engagement party. However, if you are having a formal gathering to announce that you are getting married then sending out invitations to it will be expected – think a black-tie dinner. If you are just having people around for a BBQ, however, a call or even Facebook invitation will do.
If you get the whole bridal party to come to the party, then a group photo can be a good start for the actual wedding cards. Otherwise it will still be a good opportunity to get your parents together with the two of you, and you can get a nice photo.