If you are a family that likes to party, an engagement party is always a good reason to do so. Invite family members and close friends or invite every single person you know. The more the merrier.
Traditionally, this party is hosted by the bride’s family, but it could also be hosted by the bride and groom if they choose, or another family member or a close friend.
Some reasons to have an engagement party might be:
1. so that you can tell all your family and friends at one time
2. your family and friends can meet the other person’s family and friends
3. its a reason to celebrate and any reason to celebrate calls for a party
Some reasons you may choose not to have a party might be:
1. you don’t like to plan parties and you think they are a waste of time
2. it is just another event that you have to plan and PAY for
3. you would pretty much be committing to inviting everyone from your engagement party to your wedding and you might not be ready to do that without more thought
If you do choose to have the party, it can range from a very formal affair to a backyard barbecue or anything in between. It should definitely fit the style of the bride and groom.
It should take place soon after the engagement occurs and at least 6 months before the wedding.
Do not invite anyone to the party who will not be invited to the wedding (that would be very tacky!)
Do not expect gifts, although people will probably start asking where you are registered when they find out you are engaged, so start thinking about that. Go ahead and register for a few things before the party if you like. Some people might bring a gift to the party, but since a gift is not required do not open gifts at the party (because then those who didn’t bring a gift will think they should have and really, they were quite ok in NOT bringing a gift). Open the gifts after the guests leave. Be sure that you write thank yous for any gift you are given.
If you choose not to have a party, that is ok, too. It just gives you more money and energy to put into planning the wedding. And quite honestly, Starry Eyed Daughter is probably going to be showing her ring to every person she sees! So that is a pretty good way to announce the engagement.
Another way of announcing the engagement is to put a picture of the couple along with a short write up into your local newspaper. Contact your local paper for information on how and when to do this.