Engagement parties are the first in a long chain of exciting, congratulatory events. Usually hosted by either the bride's or groom's parents, this event takes place within a few weeks or up to three months after the proposal. As there's not a whole lot of time for planning and formality, these occasions are commonly celebrated with a casual backyard barbeque, pool party, or otherwise informal bash. Since it's hard to know how to handle invitations and planning for such an affair, here's the scoop.
Should we send engagement announcements, engagement party invitations, or both?
With social media playing such a powerful role in announcing most engagements, it's no longer common to send out formal announcements. Instead, most couples rely on word of mouth and their save-the-date to spread the news. Engagement party invitations will likely be sent out before the save-the-date, so they can also be seen as an announcement as well. Because of the thrown-together nature of engagement parties, these invitations can be something as casual as a mass email with a PDF of an invitation or a stock paper invite.
Should the engagement party invitation set the tone for the wedding?
You're unlikely to have much of anything planned for the wedding by the time your engagement party arrives. So, it's really not necessary to match the themes or design concepts for the two events.
What if the party is really last-minute?
If you're putting together a very last-minute engagement party, you can always rely on phone calls, texts, and emails to get the right information to guests. It's good to have something visual like a PDF that's easy for guests to reference the location, date, time, and theme so they know what to expect.
Who should we invite to our engagement party?
The invitation list for an engagement party depends primarily on the location. If you're planning to celebrate in your hometown and you live far from there, it's not necessary to invite out-of-towners. It's a nice gesture to send invitations to close friends and family you know won't be able to travel, but it's not necessary. It's usually good etiquette to avoid inviting anyone to your engagement party who won't also be invited to your wedding.