He liked it. He put a ring on it and a nice sparkly one at that.
You’ve told your nearest and dearest. The next step is to start planning the wedding, right? Well, hold on a minute, how about taking a moment to celebrate the engagement?
Whether you opt for champagne and cupcakes with close family and friends; a full-on disco with flashing lights, dancing Dad’s and buffet food; or a sit down dinner – do something!
Yes, getting hitched is exciting in itself and it’s all to easy to jump feet first into creating scrapbooks of hair and dress ideas, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the planning process it’s to enjoy every moment. So it seems only right that you take some time out to celebrate what is on its own – a momentous occasion.
We knew we were going to have a long engagement, as we wanted to save for a place of our own first and then the wedding, so we definitely wanted to celebrate the milestone of being engaged. We went for a carvery with our close family and friends and it was lovely. It was a great opportunity for our family and friends to get to know each other (which makes it much easier when it comes to wedding planning and the big day itself). The men bonded by talking about golf and their pet dogs, the women bonded by talking about the children, and well, the children just enjoyed playing with the balloons!
Here’s some tips on planning your own engagement party:
- Think about what’s appropriate for you – if you don’t like big crowds, go for something low-key. If you’ve got a large boisterous family – do something where they’ve got space to burn off that excess energy.
- Don’t blow the budget – it’s likely you’re going to need to pool all of your money for your forthcoming wedding, so don’t go too over the top. At our meal we got everyone to pay for their own meals, whilst we provided champagne, favours and some table decorations.
- If you don’t want gifts tell people – but don’t be surprised if they bring them anyway. People are happy for you and want to give you something to mark this occasion. Accept the gifts graciously and remember to send thank you cards.
- Only invite people to the engagement party who will receive an invite to the ‘day do’ of your wedding (although we kind of broke this rule as we had to reduce numbers dramatically due to our venue). But at the same time, you don’t have to invite EVERYONE who will be there on the big day – perhaps just opt for the ‘big players’.
- Think about your outfit. You want to look stunning, but if you’re going to be celebrating with the in-laws, think demure and classic as opposed to hi-fash and skimpy.
- Give it a sense of occasion. Anyone over the age of thirty will know that when you go out for birthday meals as you get older, it stops actually feeling like your birthday and you sometimes forget why you’re out for a meal at all. Make sure this doesn’t happen with your engagement party. Maybe have some decorations, get someone to make a speech, have a guest book (ask for advice on married life/wedding planning) and favours.
- Mix it up. If you’re having a sit-down meal draw up a table plan and try to mix your family and friends up a bit, so they get to know each other. Make sure you seat people next to each other who have something in common, or who you are certain will get along. You don’t want to have to referee disagreements.
- Polish your ring before-hand, after all everyone is going to ask to see it!