So now that you are engaged, its time to party… Don’t stress about it, and engagement is a joyous occasion, but just like the wedding they are rich in tradition, however the good part is, they are not very formal. In so many ways, the engagement party is a good excuse for couples to declare their love and tell their friends about it. There are however a few engagement party rules that need to be followed:
Organizing the Engagement Party
The format of an engagement party can range from a sit down dinner to a raging party that continues into the wee hours of the morning. The style of the event should depend on the personality of the couple, as well as the budget. In either case, a close friend or relative should organize and host the event. Keep in mind however, if you are organizing the event, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the couple what type of event they would prefer.
Although, the engagement party affair, though the years has become a much less formal, however, if seated, the bride a groom should either have their own table or be seated with their families, much like they would at their wedding reception.
In recent years, a cocktail party is often more common, in which case since there is not a table for Guests to address the couple at, the bride and groom to be should make sure they address each guest at some point throughout the evening.
Keep in mind, Guests will be itching to congratulate the couple, so what ever the plans are, the environment should be kept quiet enough for people to hold a conversation.
The Guest List
Just like the wedding, deciding who to invite to the engagement party could be a daunting task. To make it easier, just remember this one rule when you are writing the Guest list. Anyone you invite to the engagement party, should also be invited to the future wedding. In other words, if you have a huge engagement party, be prepared to have a huge wedding as well.
The Saving grace to this rule is that it doesn’t work in reverse. You don’t need to invite everyone that you are inviting to the wedding to the engagement party. It is perfectly acceptable that the Guest list for the engagement party will be considerably smaller than that for the wedding. The engagement party, really is for the inner circle of friends and family.
Gifts and Presents
The most commonly asked engagement party question is, are the guest required to bring gifts? Surprisingly, the answer is actually No. It isn’t, however, that simple. Engagement party etiquette generally states, the engagement party is simply a time to announce and celebrate a couples declaration. Gifts are to be given at a later date, during the bridal shower and at the actual wedding.
It is however acceptable to bring a symbolic gift, a small token, that is personal between you and the couple, such as a framed photo, or a bottle of their favorite wine.
A note from the host, on the invitation, stating gifts are not expected, and attendance will be considered a gift in itself, is perfectly acceptable and will put an end to the Guests questions regarding gifts. Ultimately, people may bring presents if they so choose.
Party games are not traditional at the engagement party, however it is very common to play some sort of on going ice-breaker, which Guests can take party in though out the evening, in order to meet other Guests that they may not know.
It is also common for the host to have a raffle, the proceeds of which will go to the couple for spending money on their honeymoon. If you choose to do a raffle, it is the responsibility of the host to collect raffle prizes and find someway to sell the tickets at the event.
Other than these two activities, the engagement party is for socializing – it is best to leave the planned activities for the bridal shower or Jack and Jill.
According to formal engagement party etiquette, the father of the bride should make a speech at the party, however, in more modern years, that has changed quite a bit and it has become acceptable for anyone to make a speech. It has also become very common for both the father of the bride, as well as the father of the groom to say something. Whoever speaks, it is generally expected that there be an even distribution from the bride and grooms sides.
Speeches at an engagement party need to short. A few sentences of introduction, a funny story, and a heartfelt sentiment to the couple, finished with a toast. Humor is acceptable, however the speech should be clean and above the belt.
It is also important that the future bride and groom say something, and thank all of their Guests for coming.
So there you have it, the most important and overlooked Engagement party etiquette. Just remember that this party is a celebration of your love and dedication to each other, and not your regular Saturday night kegger. Keep that in mind and have fun, the rest of your Guests will follow your lead.