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Industry expert and founder of Carats & Cake Jess Levin asked pros to share everything couples need to know about the pre-wedding party.
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Rule #1: Enjoy Yourself!
"Do incorporate the story of the proposal into elements of the party. Create a guest book using pictures from the proposal moment or print cocktail napkins with details of when/how he popped the question. Don't hold your party too soon after the proposal. Instead of diving into party-planning mode right away, take some time to enjoy your newly engaged status as the upcoming months may be a bit hectic!" —Jennifer Zabinski, President & Founder, JZ Events
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Personalize Your Menu
"Do serve your favorite foods as 'his,' 'hers,' and 'ours' style. It's a yummy conversation piece. Don't use all your creativity up. Save some of your ideas for the special day." —Carla Ruben, Owner & Creative Director, Creative Edge Parties
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Hire a Photographer
"Do hire a photographer to capture your engagement party. It's a great opportunity to get fabulous pictures. Don't overspend. Be careful not to spend too much time or too many resources. Your engagement party is the first event of many to come." —Lynn Easton, Owner, Easton Events
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Keep it Casual
"Do make this a fun 'cocktail/food station event' so guests can mingle and not be stuck at a table. Don't make this the wedding! Keep it intimate, less formal, and fun!" —Eyal Tessler, Owner, Tessler Events
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Save Some of Your Best Ideas for the Wedding
"Do pick a location that is very different from your wedding venue. Don't be upset if some of your guests are unable to attend. It's more important if everyone you care about is at the main event." —Brooke Keegan, Owner, Brooke Keegan Special Events
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Gifts, or No Gifts?
"Do only invite guests who will also be invited to the wedding. Everyone who is invited to the engagement party absolutely must be invited to the wedding. The only exceptions to this rule would be very small weddings (under 50 people) or a destination wedding in a very far-flung location. Don't expect gifts at the party. Historically, guests didn't bring gifts to an engagement party as they were generally reserved for very close friends and family. However, as engagement parties have grown in popularity, more and more people are bringing gifts. You can also ask the party's host to write 'No Gifts' on the invitation if you feel strongly about your guests not bringing you a little something." —Amy Nichols, Owner, Amy Nichols Special Events
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Show Off Your History
"Do embrace your different backgrounds and showcase the origins of where your families come from. Don’t serve the same food you intend to serve at the wedding." —Kristin Banta, Owner and Creative Director, Kristin Banta Events