An engagement party is by no means essential, but it is a great excuse for a celebratory gathering. Ideally, the party should be held within a month or two of announcing the engagement.
- One set of parents may choose to organise the party or, nowadays, it is also usual for the couple to host the party themselves.
- It is often appropriate to hold two parties - one for families and family friends, and a more relaxed occasion for the couple's friends.
- Check before setting a date that key guests will be able to attend.
- The primary host should send out the engagement party invitations; on these it should be clearly that the party is being held to mark the engagement.
- The scale and lavishness of the party will be dictated by budget. Finances permitting, drinks (preferably champagne) and canapés are a fail-safe formula for engagement parties.
- The engagement party may be the first time many guests meet either the bride or groom and their respective friends and family so introductions are very important.
- If the parents of the bride are hosting the party, it is customary for the father of the bride to give a small speech and toast the couple.
- Remember that guests invited to an engagement party will expect to be invited to the wedding too, so don't get too carried away with numbers.
Engagement Presents and Thank Yous
- Guests may wish to bring a present for the couple to the engagement party. This is not essential, but is a nice gesture from close friends and family.
- The engaged couple should acknowledge presents with a handwritten thank you letter.
- Guests should write a thank you letter to the host after the event.