Wow, hon, that Samuelson’s engagement ring on your finger is stunning! Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until the wedding ceremony to celebrate — it’s time to get ready for your engagement party. And what better place than in our colorful, charming city of Baltimore.
While there are ample resources for planning your wedding, many people aren’t sure of the ins and outs of planning an engagement party. We’ve got you.
Engagement party etiquette
Just like with the wedding ceremony and reception, engagement parties traditionally follow a few rules of thumb. However, not all modern-day couples feel the need to follow etiquette to a T and you should feel the same.
Use these engagement party etiquette rules as a guide only — pick and choose the ones you like or throw them to the wayside completely! This is a celebration of your love, afterall! It should feel like you.
Who plans the engagement party?
Traditionally, the bride’s parents are responsible for planning and hosting the engagement party. Etiquette also outlines a few more details:
• If your partner’s parents want to host a party as well, that’s perfectly fine. However, their party should follow the bride’s parents’ party.
• If both sets of parents want to host a party, decide the order of party dates based on what works best for everyone.
Even with these rules in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable for anyone close to you and your partner to throw the party. Often, this role goes to someone like a sibling, friend, or even a group of friends. Or, you might want to throw the party yourself — go for it!
Who’s invited to an engagement party?
Traditionally, your engagement party guests should only include those individuals who will also be invited to your wedding. This is even more true when you and your partner will be hosting the party.
However, when your parents or friends are hosting, these rules tend to get bent. For example, your parents may want to invite mutual friends or even close business associates you probably won’t have space for at your wedding.
When should you have the party?
Depending on the length of your engagement, the ideal time for an engagement party is between 1 and 4 months after you announce your engagement.
We recommend choosing a date based on the size of your party and how much time it will take to plan it. You’re likely already busy thinking and planning for your wedding day. So if your engagement party requires some planning as well, don’t add any additional stress by trying to get it all ready in just a few weeks.
Are gifts appropriate at an engagement party?
Etiquette says gifts should never be expected or suggested at an engagement party. So don’t put your registry information on your engagement party invitation.
Even though they’re not prompted, some of your guests will likely want to bring you a gift anyway. Usually a bottle of wine or champagne, a card, or something sentimental. However, you can also start adding a few things to your wedding registry just in case a guest decides to search for it on their own.
What to do at your engagement party
What’s the recipe for a good party? Food, friends, and music! The best engagement parties focus on these elements and provide an environment to socialize and enjoy some food and drink together.
You don’t need to plan an elaborate program for your party, but consider including:
• A toast from the host and any other friends and family who want to share a few words.
• A “thank you for coming” speech to your guests. Often this includes a short story of your engagement.
All this hinges on you having a traditional engagement party though. Remember, you can plan this party however you want! We’ve known couples to plan untraditional engagement parties ranging from group camping or beach trips to roller derby games, bowling, and backyard movie nights.
Start with the basics and make this party your own!
The best engagement party venues in Baltimore
Since your engagement party can be as large or intimate, formal or informal as you like, your Baltimore engagement party venues are nearly limitless. Choose a place where you and your fiance feel most comfortable and go from there.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Parent’s home
• Friend’s backyard
• Local park (how about Sherwood Gardens or Federal Hill Park?)
• Your favorite Charm City restaurant (like Nick’s Fish House or Sotto Sopra)
• A local brewery (Momentum City Brewing, Waverly Brewing)
• A winery or museum (American Visionary Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Industry are great choices)
• A wedding venue (the Hippodrome Theatre and the Coradetti Glass Studio are two favorites)
A few more engagement party tips
• Don’t feel the need to have any sort of theme
• Plan decor to match the look and feel of your venue. Often keeping it simple is the best bet
• You have lots of options for your invitations — text message, evite, or paper mailed invitation may all be appropriate based on the size and formality of your party
• If they haven’t met already, introduce your parents before the party so they don’t have to meet in front of a crowd
• Polish your ring before the event so you can feel confident about flaunting your new bling
• Don’t forget to say thank you. A small favor might be appropriate, or send out handwritten thank you cards to every attendee.
Up next? Choosing your wedding bands
There are so many fun things ahead beyond just the engagement party — one of them is selecting your wedding bands.
At Samuelson’s, we pride ourselves on carrying the highest-quality selection of wedding bands in Charm City. From the latest fashions to vintage-style classics, we’ve helped countless couples choose wedding bands they absolutely love. We can’t wait to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, too.