How To: Engagement Party Planning

We’re planning an engagement party for my sister and her fiance in a few short weeks so I’ve had good reason to dive back into all my favorite things: food, decor, and party planning. Since we’re a smaller group, I’m leaning toward hosting a dinner party. I love the idea of a long table, intimately lit with candles and lots of wine and champagne and leisurely toasting the couple all evening.

I’m imagining this really incredible all-vegetarian menu, possibly done completely in my tagine which I’ve been dying to use since I first read Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. Vicky loves Indian so I thought doing Moroccan could be a fun twist on cuisine she’d probably enjoy. I also love the presentation of this salade niçoise. Aside from the tuna, etc, of course. My vegetarian sister might not like that.

engagement party/ our address and contact information was edited-out obviously /

Since we’re on a tight schedule as far as the date is concerned, I opted to skip the mailed invites in favor of my favorite e-vite company, Paperless Post. We used them for our 2011 Christmas party and loved the ease of use. I just purchased 25 credits for $5, and after confirming the guest list with my sister, emailed them out, easy-peasy. Don’t worry, there was really fun animation that accompanied them that included an envelope popping up, flipping over and then opening to reveal a fun envelope liner before the invitation popped out. But my favorite feature of Paperless Post is that you’re able to track RSVPs online and communicate event updates to guests easily and in a way that is a bit more special than throwing together a Facebook event.

I wanted the feel of the event to be simple and elegant, but still playful — it’s an engagement party after all — so the invitation needed to feel equally spirited and celebratory but not necessarily overly formal. For dress I’m thinking semi-formal. Dressy, jacket and tie welcome, but not a must. As I researched engagement party ideas and etiquette I was really surprised to learn that engagement parties are typically less formal affairs than the bridal showers and rehearsal dinner to follow. Barbeques and clambakes were two top engagement party themes in fact, which makes perfect sense when I think about it. Basically, you don’t want to out-do the wedding events to follow with anything overly lavish. So I’ll have to think more about this menu. My next step will be to talk to Vicky and Dan about what they like and go from there!


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