Engagement Party IdeasJeff Jacobus
Should you go formal or keep it simple?
Getting engaged is a monumental undertaking, in and of itself – letting the world (your family and friends) know that you're engaged can be an even greater hurdle, but it's not an impossible feat. If you've already popped the question, the worst is over.
All that needs to be done now – it's not a necessity, but it can help to strengthen the bond between you and your significant other – is to channel your radiant jubilation; and the best way to accomplish this is to throw an engagement party, which will a) enable you to meet your fiancé's family, b) declare your commitment, publically, c) give you an excuse to throw a party with your loved ones.
This isn't considered a “rite of passage”, but it is preferred by an overwhelming majority of couples who want to involve their loved ones in one of the most most joyous and profound events of their lives – this will undoubtedly lead to a healthier, more honest and sincere relationship in the longrun.
The setting of the party should depend solely on one factor: whether it should be formal or informal. A formal party would involve printing invitations and reply cards, and the budget would generally be a bit more liberal. An informal party would take place in a very laid back, carefree environment (i.e. A backyard party; a barbecue; a coctail party; etc).
If you have large families, and a lot of people are going to be in attendance, then an informal party would probably be the way to go. This will give everybody a chance to meet each other at their own leisure, and the planning put into the party will be a bit less daunting – an informal party can almost be announced right before the party takes place, and a formal party will require lots of forethought and rigorous work.
Meeting your fiancé's parents – most likely you've already done this in an informal setting, so arranging a formal get-together, in order to “break the ice” and introduce each other, should be a walk in the park. How you want to go about doing so is completely up to you.
Traditionally, the bride's parents host the engagement party, but in today's increasingly diversified society, the sky is the limited – the bride or groom can host the party, themselves, or a friend of the bride and groom, or even another family member of each respective family can be designated to host the festivities.
This is all completely up to the bride and groom (unless the couple's families come from a dyed-in-the-wool, traditional background, then the parents of the bride will most likely be in charge).
Declaring your commitment, publically – sure you've already gone down on bended knee and proposed, but truly unifying a bond between you and your fiancé takes more than just a personal proposal (unless you plan on cutting yourself off from the rest of the human race and living in seclusion with your loved one for the rest of your days).
Showing your family and [close] friends that you're really ready to take the plunge shows that you're officially ready to take the plunge, and will not only convince yourself that you're ready for the road ahead, but will also convince your fiancé and your family (who will always be there, regardless of how successful your engagement/marriage is). This is an integral step in the engagement process, and if overlooked, could fatally wound the relationship at a later time.
Gifts are something that shouldn't be expected at an engagement party, but should be welcomed if offered. Usually, there will be family members/close friends who will feel obligated or compelled to shower the couple with gifts, but that doesn't mean that it's required by each person in attendance. If anything, gifts should be kept to a minimum.
This is a time for the couple to meet and greet the relatives of each other's families, and shouldn't be turned into an act of material one-upmanship. If gifts are brought into the equation, some of the best to give are: clothing (both outerwear and undergarments), bedroom accessories (sheets, pillows, etc.), cash and tickets to entertainment events (such as movies or concerts).
As you can see, an engagement party can invariably determine the fate of a relationship. There's a myriad of different ways to go about arranging the party, and it can go by smoothly, with minimal effort, or it can be an undertaking of epic proportions – it's all up to the bridge/groom, in the end.
Once the engagement party is over with and both the family of the [hopefully-soon-to-be] husband and wife have been introduced to each other, the “big day” will seem much less worrisome. Engagements parties are often seen as a necessary evil, but they can be extremely enjoyable and bring the couple closer together, as well as their families.