Are engagement parties a must-do?

I've been reading a lot about what brides should do once they get engaged. It's a popular topic - there are so many posts on forums and blog posts with comments underneath about the same subject. If you've just gotten engaged, especially if it was a surprise, the whole wedding planning thing can be extremely overwhelming. After all, not everyone has been hoarding dress ideas and table arrangements in a folder under the bed since they were seven - I didn't even want to get married until last summer!

One thing that seems to be a consensus among wedding bloggers and nuptial websites is that engagements should be announced from the rooftops as soon as they happen, and that an engagement party should be arranged as soon as feasibly possible. I know that when my sister and my now brother-in-law announced their engagement, they threw a beautiful party and our whole extended family travelled from all over to come to it. It was a fantastic occasion and everyone had an amazing time, and it definitely showed me what makes brides want throw a bash like that.

Looking online, there are plenty of brides who agree with the opinion that an engagement party is the next logical step to take when you're planning your wedding. There are some great reasons to do it:

  • Getting your family together to meet up for potentially the first time
  • Celebrating your upcoming wedding with everyone you care about
  • Talking through your plans while everyone is in the same place
  • Having the opportunity to thank everyone for their well-wishes in person
  • Handing out save-the-dates
I really love the idea of having a specific opportunity to talk through your plans with your whole friends family group, particularly as mine is scattered all over the world! Despite all this, I'm not convinced it's something I really want to do. Hosting a party is always fun, and I'd love to do it on a smaller scale, but I'd hate for people to feel that they had to travel hours to get to a small gathering, or to feel like I'd missed them off the invite list due to a lack of space. I've been reading about engagement parties people have hosted at their own homes, which sounds ideal, but I'd never get everyone I knew into my house. Plus, by the time it was dry and warm enough to use the garden again, we'd have been engaged for a year!

Ultimately, it's up to the soon-to-be-weds to decide how they want to celebrate their engagement. For some, a big bash is exactly what everyone wants! For others, small-scale, private celebrations are better. I think for our wedding, we'll be concentrating on saving up. Because getting everybody together will be quite a feat I was thinking about waiting until we set a date, and then using the party - if we do have one - as a chance to share our ideas and thoughts for the day and announcing more cemented plans, and for everybody to get to know each other. We've been together for more than 5 years and still there are family members who haven't met yet! Of course, that's not to say we'll definitely have one. The wedding itself will probably be more than enough of an event by itself.

Ideas for alternative, money-saving engagement parties

Rather than focusing on planning an event that's more stress than it needs to be, try to plan a party that incorporates all of the things you and your partner love. Don't overthink it, and don't overstretch your budget - the people you want to invite will be happy just to be able to come and share your happiness, with or without a free bar!
  • Book out your favourite local bar for an afternoon rather than the evening and ask them to order in pizzas for food if their kitchen's not up for a daytime do. Your guests could pre-order drinks at a lower cost, just ask the landlord.
  • Host at home! Move back the sofa and get out the Aldi party range. Let's face it - staying in is the new going out and once everyone's over they can bond over your ornaments and photos. 
  • Ask a friend or family member with a big garden if you can use it to host a party once the weather gets better. 
  • Don't consider it a mini-wedding. It doesn't have to be big or showy - a dinner party might even do the trick if you have a small family.
  • BYOB! If you book out a hall or use your own place, you could ask people to bring a bottle of something they enjoy and it'll save on paying for a bar or stocking up on crates and bottles at Tesco beforehand.
Have you got any tips for an engagement party? Have you already hosted yours? How did it go and how did you organise it? Leave a comment or email me on, I'd love to feature your tips!


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