The Engagement Party: How to Plan Your First Wedding Event

Your boyfriend popped the big question, and now you can't wait to show off that gorgeous new diamond ring on your finger. What's a better way to celebrate than with a party?

Between the words, "Will you marry me?" and "I do," you'll have a lot to think about and plan. Your first decision will be whether you're having an engagement party. While it's not required, many engaged couples appreciate getting together with loved ones to celebrate this huge milestone in their lives. Here are some tips for planning your first official wedding event:

Why Have a Party?

The best reason to have an engagement party is to celebrate this exciting new phase in your life. Sharing the news in person is certainly sweeter than just telling everyone over social media. It's also the perfect time to introduce your families, if they haven't met each other yet. Your first party as an engaged couple is also great practice for all your future wedding parties, so think of it as a dress rehearsal.

Hosts

Traditionally, the bride's parents host the engagement party, though that's not the only option. Both sets of parents could cohost, a close family member or friend might offer to host, or you could even organize the event yourselves. Also, it's fine to have two parties, especially if your families live far away, or if your parents want a formal affair for family while you want a casual gathering with friends.

Guests

The best advice here is to invite the same people who will also be on your wedding guest list. You certainly don't have to invite all of your wedding guests to your engagement party, but make sure to include your wedding party and close family and friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as if you're having a destination wedding not everyone will be able to attend.

Scheduling

Feel free to spend a little time savoring your new engagement before you plan a big party. Schedule your party for several weeks to within a few months of the proposal. You want the engagement to still be fresh, but you're going to be busy planning your wedding, so you don't want it to get in the way.

Location

Engagement parties are often held at the bride's parents' home or a restaurant. However, there are no real rules for this. Pick a location that works with the vibe you want to create for your party. Decide whether you'll complement the style of your wedding or opt for a totally different theme to celebrate. Anything goes! You can choose to have an elegant cocktail party or even a low-key backyard cookout.

An engagement party is a fun way to celebrate getting engaged, especially because it brings together the people closest to you.