What is an Engagement Party?

Engagement PartyThe happy couple has decided to turn their relationship into a lifetime commitment and it’s time to share the good news with family and friends. It’s also time to introduce the future in-laws to one another. That’s why it’s time to plan an engagement party to announce and celebrate the exciting event.

Traditionally this party was hosted by the parents of the bride, usually at their home. But along with other evolving changes in social etiquette, the rules for this party are no longer so hard and fast. These days anyone can host the engagement party, and in some cases the event is planned by the future groom to make the proposal to his intended bride – although I would hope he’s pretty sure of the answer before he does this!

The party can be held in a home, a restaurant, or any place that captures the imagination of, or has special significance to the couple.

It might be the scene of their first date, or their favorite corner restaurant. If the couple enjoys outdoor activities together, it could be a picnic at their favorite hiking spot.

Wedding PartyLikewise, the event can be simple or elaborate. Cake and coffee at the home of one set of the parents is fine; champagne and hors d’oeuvres at the home of a best friend is appropriate; a casual buffet at her sister’s house would be great; or a sit down dinner, barbecue, or brunch hosted by the groom’s parents. The rules are simple in that there aren’t many!

One of the few rules is that your guests should be limited to friends and family who will be invited to the wedding. But that doesn’t mean it should be the full wedding guest list. An engagement party is a more intimate affair. Also, gifts are an option at this party, and should not be expected. Do not under any circumstance put the registry information on the invitation.

If this party will serve the purpose of introducing the two families to one another, it would be a good idea to have an ice breaker or two planned to help warm things up. If not, someone who knows the majority of the guests well should be assigned the job of welcoming people to the party and making the introductions.

Engagement Announcement PartyA Champagne Cocktail and Hors d’oeuvres Engagement Party Menu

Champagne Cocktail Punch – Serve this in your most festive punch bowl.

Marinated Green Olives with Oregano – For olive fans, these are addictive little nibbles.

Sage Sausage Bites with Balsamic Apricot Dip – A quick and easy recipe that will look like you took much longer to prepare.

Blue Stuffed Mushrooms – These can be prepared in advance and simply popped into the oven to bake when your guests arrive. They are a delicious combination of blue and cream cheeses, basil and pecans.

Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip – An updated twist on the ever popular spinach dip.

Mini Shrimp and Cheese Bites – Most of this recipe can be prepared ahead with just a little assembly and baking at the end.

Kourabiedes – While growing up I had a very good friend of Greek descent and often got to sample these wonderful, delicate cookies in her home.

Lemon Cheese Strip Tart – A simple but elegant recipe from Gale Gand.

Other assorted beverages including soft drinks, sparkling water, juices and coffee.

The engagement party is the first big event. It may be the first social gathering that both families attend together. Creating the guest list, choosing the food and picking the type of party and the place where it will be held is a small sample of the wedding plans ahead.

Learning to keep stress at a minimum is the key to success. These sites can help with tips to make the first pre-wedding event a big hit with everyone…

Engagement Party Themes – Two unsual themes that may get you started on dreaming up creative ways to announce the big event to your families!

Engagement Parties – Expert tips on engagement party etiquette, invitations and related advice on selecting a theme, from elegant to informal.

Engagement Party Ideas – The design on this site is not spectacular. The music isn’t too bad if you don’t mind tinny music playing while you’re trying to read the information… but the content is good and includes some things you won’t find on other sites. Traditional betrothal customs are interesting – beware the proposals link – it’s really a book selling link.

Don’t Stress – Keep It Simple – This article sets the right tone and gives lots of good advice. If you live in California and can go to one of the expos to pick up the wedding planning guide – it looks like a good resource.

Engagement PartyOK, OK, everything is perfect. The lights are nicely dimmed in the lovely restaurant in which you are now sitting. A violin is playing in the background. You are drinking a fine bottle of $30 wine. You’re ready to propose to your girlfriend, who is sitting just across the table, looking at you with eyes that say “ask me to marry you, you bastard!” So all you need is to pull out the ring, show it to her, and you’re off to Tahiti for a happy honeymoon.

Before we begin, remember that it’s not absolutely required that a man give an engagement ring to a woman. In these modern, crazy times of ours, it’s completely acceptable for a woman to give an engagement ring to a man, to exchange engagement gifts, to exchange posy rings (bands with inscriptions of love), or to get his and her matching tattoos. Really.

It has become extremely common for the woman to accompany the man in the purchase of an engagement ring. This is a great idea, because then you know she’ll be happy with whatever ring she picks out. It takes all the pressure off you!

If the element of surprise is important to you, however, there are other good ways to begin your quest. For example, consider mentioning to the parents of your soon-to-be-wife that you will soon be proposing to their daughter. In the course of the conversation, you can ask what kind of ring they think she’d like. This kills two birds with one stone: you are seen as a polite, traditional young man for asking for their permission, and you get good info about what kind of ring to buy.

If you have a good reason to avoid entering into any dialogue with your future in-laws (e.g., they are bitter because you killed their dog), then talk to her female friends. If you and your girlfriend have been serious about each other for a while, then the chances are good that your she and her friends have discussed marriage, and along with it, rings. Also, women generally know more about rings than men. Sexist? Yes. True? Yes. And if you can, take her best friend with you to the jewelry store for a second opinion.

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