Weddings may be the ultimate expression of true and unique love, but sometimes it can feel as though every member of the family has some sort of say in their planning. But the engagement party? This one’s all yours. Here are some popular trends to help you celebrate your newly off-the-market status in style.
Take Your Engagement Party Off-Site
Family homes are always a solid choice, but consider taking your engagement party off-site to shake things up. Think favorite restaurant, local park, stadium suite, hotel ballroom or art gallery. The Kimpton Alexis Hotel in Seattle combines the latter two with its own “art walk” of rotating works by Pacific Northwest artists, in which guests can sip, mix and mingle. Casual or formal, the idea is to choose a place that reflects who you are as a couple.
Don’t Write Off the Idea of a Theme
Engagement party themes can be a great idea when done thoughtfully. Alfresco aficionados can host a garden party complete with shaded canopies and herbal sodas. Or how about a Vintage Cocktail Party with chic early 20th-century barware and classic drinks (which, let’s face it, have made a big, stylish comeback)? From beachside New England Clambakes to winter-themed wonderlands (because: fairy lights), keep the concept manageable, low-stress and fun.
Engagement Cakes Are a Thing
A proper sit-down dinner may be right up your alley, but if not, no worries. Cocktail hours are a great way to avoid multiple-course menu stress. Have a dessert and champagne bar, or a DIY taco bar with margaritas—both no-fail crowd pleasers. By the way, engagement cakes are really in now, too, so you don’t have to wait till your wedding day to feel that sugar high.
Activities Are In
While an engagement party is all about mingling, reveling and sharing quality time, many couples are leaning toward offering something to do. Lawn games like a bean bag toss or croquet are a laid-back way to connect. Polaroid photo guest books are one activity du jour, and we’ve even seen couples tack up a global map and let people throw random darts to see where they should go on their honeymoon!
Do Your Guests a [Party] Favor
Unless you invited the world, your engagement party guest list will be smaller than your wedding guest list, so favors are do-able. Edible treats like chocolate bonbons or homemade jam in tiny mason jars are great, but house plants are all the rage this year, too. Tiny succulents or cacti will make people smile long after the party ends. Anything for the home, like beeswax candles or personalized matchboxes, will be a hit as well.