Getting engaged will probably be one of the most exciting moments along the timeline of your life. Maybe you’re one of many who dreamed about this day your entire life. Maybe you’re like me & hadn’t really anticipated it until recently, when you knew your relationship was headed there. Maybe you’re a cool cat & it was really NBD. Either way, people are going to want to celebrate you! And I strongly encourage you to soak it all up.
One of the best pieces of advice we got right after our engagement was: drink as much champagne as you can before you start planning anything.
YES!!!!!!! We did not follow that piece of advice nearly as much as I wish we had. That being said, we definitely celebrated. But we struggled with the how/what/where/when/with who to celebrate at first. Luckily this girl right here is a party planner at heart, so we wound up rocking our engagement celebration(s) and here’s how we did it.
*Disclaimer: there are 1,348,234 RULES about engagement parties on the internet. This is not that. Throw those rules out. The only rule is to do what works for YOU.
Now that we got that out of the way, here’s what worked for US.
- Splitting up the celebrations: My fiance has a huge family & the two of ours hadn’t met each other yet. We also had a lot of close friends we wanted to celebrate with, but didn’t really feel comfortable combining family + friends We wanted to have some intimate time with BOTH groups. So we had two! Again – throw out the rules. If you have 3 separate groups of people you want to celebrate with, have 3! If you prefer not to celebrate (though I doubt you’d be reading this post if that were the case) then have zero. All this to say, do what works for YOU.
- Picking a date that worked for US: It’s easy to get caught up in trying to please & accommodate everyone, but it’s also impossible. Pick a time, date and place that works for you as a couple & whoever wants to be there will make it work. My dad flew in from South Carolina. My mom, stepdad & brother took a bus from PA. My friends traveled from multiple states. They all slept in our tiny NYC apartment. It wasn’t comfortable, but they made it work because they wanted to be there for us. And, of course, we would have understood if they couldn’t be.
- Picking places that we loved & were practical: For our family celebration, we wanted to have a nice dinner together somewhere so we picked a spot that we LOVE & is good for groups: Good ol’ Carmine’s! If you’ve ever been there, you know the portions are huge and the food is delicious. Ideal for a group of 14 people who have never met before. We chose to pick up the tab for this, but my dad decided to contribute at the last minute, too. For our friends-celebration, renting out a NYC space was just not practical for our budget, so we classed up our apartment a bit & threw a bash at home! We wanted it to be different than our other house parties, so we went hard with the decorations, but it was fun and worth it because we still had just as much fun for a fraction of the cost. My best friends chipped in where they could and we covered the food & drinks for our guests.
- Keeping it casual: We had our venue booked before our engagement celebrations (remember how I said we didn’t listen to that advice of drinking lots of champagne BEFORE starting the planning? yep). But it’s a good thing, because it was all booked up 2 years in advance! ANYWAY – stories for another post. We knew we would be getting married in the fall & decided to coordinate our engagement party to the theme of the wedding with some rustic, fall decor. The party was in our apartment, though, so it was obviously casual & we preferred it that way, especially since our wedding will be a little more on the casual side, too. Advice: don’t get too caught up in a theme. If you ask me, “fall” is a perfectly acceptable theme! Add little accents that compliment the two of you – photos, engagement decor, etc.
- Living in the moment: This is something I’ve personally struggled with during every event I’ve ever thrown! It can be hard not to get wrapped up in making sure everything is going smoothly, everyone else is having a good time, and that the food/drinks get refilled. But we truly got to spend time talking to each of our guests & just being fully present and aware. We didn’t get to spend a substantial amount of time talking to each person, but we got just enough time with everyone and a little extra with our close friends who spent the night. Great practice for the big day! 😉
When thinking about how to celebrate your engagement, try not to go overboard with the small details & keep the reason for the celebration at the core of it. Obviously every scenario is different and if someone else is throwing the party for you, different circumstances may apply, but this is a special time for the two of you & THAT should be the focus. And champagne. Lots of champagne.
I’d love to hear about YOUR engagement celebrations in the comments below! What worked? What didn’t work? What tips would you give a newly engaged couple? What questions do you have if you are one?