You're thrilled about your recent engagement and want to celebrate with your closest family and friends. But where should you have the engagement party? You've got plenty of options, just like with a wedding. Before settling on a spot, take into consideration the type of vibe you have in mind. If you want a low-key atmosphere where guests mingle with a drink in hand, a backyard or party boat would be fun; if you'd prefer something more formal, how about a country club with everyone seated around one long gorgeous dining table? Fortunately, an engagement party's tone doesn't have to match the wedding's, so you could go casual for one and formal for the other. Take a look at some of the possibilities below.
A Private Home
At-home engagement parties are still incredibly popular today. Sometimes it's the bride's parents' home—that's the most traditional—but often other people close to the happy couple offer up their home, like his godparents or your favorite cousin. While throwing the party at your own place is certainly doable, keep in mind you'll end up playing hostess all night. So use someone else's home so you can spend every moment chatting with guests and sticking out your hand so everyone can see that new sparkler!
Your Favorite Restaurant
Whether you book a few tables in the main dining space or reserve the party room, this choice is a sure winner. After all, you already know and love the menu, the atmosphere, and the décor. Bonus points if you also know the chef and/or owner, who may let you customize the meal with some off-the-menu favorites.
A Wine Cellar
You don't have to be a wine pro to appreciate the rustic charms of this subterranean specialty spot. Party space is often limited—got to make room for the wine barrels!—but having a small guest list in such a secluded setting will create an intimate evening no one will forget.
If it's the place you and the groom love to spend your time, a party at the beach could be a fabulous choice. But if you're thinking of just throwing some blankets on the sand and filling a cooler with drinks, take into consideration your older guests' comfort. Having your fete at a beachside restaurant—where you won't have to deal with noise from the wind and waves—may be easier for everyone, including you.
A Museum or Art Gallery
This is the top pick of some brides who are having a wedding reception in a more classic place like a ballroom or catering venue. You'll have to abide by strict rules—no red wine!—but you can't beat the one-of-a-kind décor.