You're both big on family and friends, so including your nearest and dearest in your proposal plan seems perfectly normal. You're thinking it will go something like this: You ask your girlfriend to marry you in an intimate setting, she tearfully accepts, you kiss, you hug, then you suggest you two go somewhere to celebrate. Next thing you know, you're both walking into a room with all of your loved ones, who are gathered for a surprise celebration. But it doesn't happen without a little work on your end, guys! If you're hoping to surprise your future wife with a post-proposal party, it's not enough to just tell friends and family and then hope they'll keep quiet. Here, our tips for throwing a casual after-party in honor of your newfound status: Engaged!
Who to invite.
Your immediate families (parents and siblings) and closest pals should get an invite, and should plan to be waiting at the designated party location while you're on bended knee. But keep the guest list small: It shouldn't equal a wedding guest list. Think about who your newly-minted fiancée would want to share this special moment with. You may have to do some sleuthing for their contact info but the effort will be worth it when you see her happy face as she walks through the door and sees all her favorite peeps.
Where to celebrate.
Do you have a favorite restaurant, bar, or club? Call ahead and reserve a table or party room. If you want to keep expenses down (we get it, you just shelled out serious cash for the ring), ask someone you're planning on inviting if you could hold the party at their house. Wherever it is, the party doesn't have to be elaborate—appetizers and drinks, or desserts are fine. It all depends on your budget and the timing.
When to plan it.
Start thinking about the logistics of the party a month before your proposal; make a reservation to ensure the venue can accommodate your group. A few weeks before the party, call or e-mail an invitation with all the details, stressing—printed or verbally—that the party is a surprise for your girl. Giving everyone a few weeks' notice will increase your chances of them being free to fit your celebration into their schedule. Since you've got a lot on your plate (the proposal, party, work, other obligations), it's okay to ask for some help, especially if you're hosting it at a home. Try her best friend, your mom or sister, or someone else who you think wouldn't mind giving you a hand. And if someone volunteers their help, you should accept it immediately.
What will happen.
After surprising your bride-to-be, the revelers will offer hugs and congratulations. Assume your new fiancée will cry from shock and happiness, and the realization that she's marrying one incredible guy. Then she'll spend lots of time showing off her ring, and gazing at it. You picked a beauty!