Planning an Engagement Party

Everything to Know from Choosing a Location to Choosing a Menu

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The happy couple has decided to turn their relationship into a lifetime commitment and it's time to share the good news with family and friends. It's also time to introduce the future in-laws to one another. That's why it's time to plan an engagement party to announce and celebrate the exciting event.

Who Should Host the Party?

Traditionally this party was hosted by the parents of the bride, usually at their home.

But along with other evolving changes in social etiquette, the rules for this party are no longer so hard and fast. These days anyone can host the engagement party, and in some cases, the event is planned by the future groom to make the proposal to his intended bride - although I would hope he's pretty sure of the answer before he does this!

Choosing a Location

The party can be held in a home, a restaurant, or any place that captures the imagination of, or has special significance to the couple. It might be the scene of their first date or their favorite corner restaurant. If the couple enjoys outdoor activities together, it could be a picnic at their favorite hiking spot.

A Simple of Elaborate Event

Likewise, the event can be simple or elaborate. Cake and coffee at the home of one set of the parents are fine; champagne and hors d'oeuvres at the home of a best friend are appropriate; a casual buffet at her sister's house would be great; or a sit-down dinner, barbecue, or brunch hosted by the groom's parents.

The rules are simple in that there aren't many!

Guestlist and Gifts

One of the few rules is that your guests should be limited to friends and family who will be invited to the wedding. But that doesn't mean it should be the full wedding guest list. An engagement party is a more intimate affair. Also, gifts are an option at this party, and should not be expected.

Do not under any circumstance put the registry information on the invitation.

If this party will serve the purpose of introducing the two families to one another, it would be a good idea to have an ice breaker or two planned to help warm things up. If not, someone who knows the majority of the guests well should be assigned the job of welcoming people to the party and making the introductions.

A Champagne Cocktail and Hors d'oeuvres Engagement Party Menu

  • Champagne Cocktail Punch - Serve this in your most festive punch bowl.
  • Marinated Green Olives with Oregano - For olive fans, these are addictive little nibbles.
  • Sage Sausage Bites with Balsamic Apricot Dip - A quick and easy recipe that will look like you took much longer to prepare.
  • Fabulous Stuffed Mushrooms - These can be prepared in advance and simply popped into the oven to bake when your guests arrive. They are a delicious combination of blue and cream cheeses and green onions.
  • Brandied Mushroom Dip - This sophisticated dip can be served either warm or chilled, depending on the season or your preference.
  • Basil Palmiers - This recipe can be prepared ahead and served straight from the oven or at room temperature.
  • Kourabiedes - While growing up I had a very good friend of Greek descent and often got to sample these wonderful, delicate cookies in her home.
  • Lemon Cheese Strip Tart - A simple but elegant recipe from Gale Gand.
  • Other assorted beverages including soft drinks, sparkling water, juices, and coffee.