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Engagement Party Checklist

The engagement party signifies the official start of your wedding countdown. Here’s how to have a great one.

Ten to Eight Weeks Before the Party

  • Agree on a host. Traditionally, the bride’s family throws the engagement party, but often the groom’s family likes to share in the festivities by cohosting the affair or holding one of its own. Part of the fun of an engagement party is letting your two families get to know each other.
  • Pick a date. Generally, the engagement party is held three to four months after the proposal.
  • Compile a guest list. Make sure your invitees are also on the guest list for the wedding ceremony and reception.
  • Register . . . or not. Decide if you want to register (preferably for gifts in the low to middle range of prices—don’t forget, the wedding is still to come), or if you’ll include a note in the invitation kindly requesting no gifts. If guests do bring presents, wait until after the party to open them.

Four to Six Weeks Before the Party

  • Send invitations. The tone of the party should be in keeping with that of your upcoming wedding. But remember, this is a time for two families to get to know one another in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. So if your future in-laws prefer fine dining to your family’s penchant for backyard cookouts, consider a sit-down dinner at a local barbecue joint, or cocktails and appetizers at the host’s home.
  • Decide on decorations and centerpieces. If you wish, choose a theme that reflects you as a couple or something that reflects your two families. No need to go overboard, though—the point is to celebrate your engagement.
  • Plan a menu. Whether your party will be held at a restaurant or a private home, you should be mindful of any allergies or food specifications of your guests.
  • Prepare a few games to play. Consider a “team scavenger hunt” to get your families acquainted. But whatever the game, make sure it’s fun, simple, and involves everyone.

The Week of the Party

  • Go shopping, if necessary. If the party will be in a home, give yourself a comfortable margin of time to buy the food, drinks, party goods, or anything else you may be contributing.
  • Prepare the venue. Make sure there are plenty of places for guests to sit and eat, and an area to store gifts. For a party iat someone’s home, arrange to have the lawn cut and the house cleaned, and be sure the AC/heat works. Let the neighbors know you will be having a party.
  • Line up your help. Need some extra hands to get everything done? Involve the members of your wedding party (if you’ve already chosen them).

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