"We're doing this, bishes!" Should I have an engagement party?

Should I have an engagement party?
Photo by Wild About You Photography

Unless you're eloping, you probably have to announce your engagement somehow, right? Maybe you'll have a stereotype-toppling engagement photo session or maybe you'll send out engagement announcements, or maybe… you'll ask yourself, "should I have an engagement party?"

Is a engagement party required? Hell nah. Can it be cool? Hell yeah! There are loads of pre-wedding party opportunities though, so here are some pros and cons to throwing an engagement party if you're on the fence about this one.

Pros to an engagement party:

  • Engagement parties allow you to announce your engagement in a fun way. Who doesn't love a party (especially if someone else is throwing it!)?
  • You can use it as an opportunity to surprise your guests with the news, if you can concoct another reason to get them all there.
  • It gives enthusiastic family or friends the chance to throw a party. Sometimes people just WANT to do it. Why not let them?
  • They can be the gateway drug to introducing the family members who haven't met yet. You can see how everyone interacts prior to the wedding, which may make the table assignments easier, if you're doing that.
  • The party lets guests celebrate who may not be able to attend the wedding, especially if you're having a destination wedding.
  • If you're planning it yourself, it can be a great dry-run for planning the wedding. You'll get all your organization down and see where communication can be improved.
  • It can allow you extra mingling time if you're planning a large reception where you'll have trouble spending time with everyone.
  • It allows you to enjoy the initial burst of excitement about being engaged.

Cons to an engagement party:

  • You may get caught having to invite everyone from your engagement party to the wedding, which can be awkward if your wedding is small and your party is not.
  • You have to get your wedding guest list organized earlier than you may have planned.
  • Can be a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of extra stress.
  • You may end up fielding a lot of suggestions about the wedding itself, but we've got tips for that, too!

BOTTOM LINE:

If you WANT an engagement party, there are lots of pros, especially if someone is going to throw one for you. Otherwise, you may want to just start planning the wedding itself and send out some cute engagement announcement cards instead or throw a small get together at a bar for your closest pals. A tiny party isn't a lesser party.


What are YOUR pros and cons for doing an engagement party?

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  1. I think an engagement party can also be a great idea if you know you won't be getting married for several years (or don't have a date set and don't know when you will be able to pin one down, for whatever reason). That way you can celebrate the big news, and potentially take some of the pressure off.

    3 agree
  2. We didn't bother — about 50% of our wedding-guests-to-be were with us on a five-day camping trip when he proposed, and a lot of them knew, so already had celebratory drinks and music nearby!

  3. My fiancé and I were having a hard time figuring out what we wanted to do for our engagement pictures. We knew we wanted pictures that actually reflected who we are. So we decided to have a small engagement party at a local tavern. They let us decorate, and we had out STDs printed out and ready to hand out. We bought a couple bottles of bubbly and some share plates, but if people wanted more food or different drinks they were able to buy them. One of our friends took some candid photos of us with our friends and we used those as our engagement photos. It felt good to have our friends celebrate with us.

  4. My mum has this idea that you can have a huge, invite-everyone engagement party, then a small wedding…which doesnt make sense to me. But then again she also thinks traditionally the grooms parents pay for the wedding!
    I think if theres going to be a big time delay between egagement and wedding it might be nice to celebrate in a big way twice but all the ideas I come up with for e-parties would make equally great weddings

  5. I'm getting engaged on the 28th. I want to plan an engagement party that is small, since I never had one for my first engagement. This one feels more real and permanent to me. It's something worth celebrating. Problem is, we're completely broke, and no one in my family on my side has a house worth inviting people over to. My mother's house has NINE dogs and is packed with knick knacks, my house barely fits two people in the kitchen, and i'm taking care of my father for end of life care. I'm going insane here. It's the middle of winter, so I can't have an outdoors party. Any cheap options that we can do to pull this off and have fun? I love his family, so that's no problem at all. The extended family is on Colorado, so thank the heavens they wouldn't be able to come. They are the ones I can do without.

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