In days past, engagement parties were formal to-dos with as many guests as the wedding itself. Today, they're optional, and may include just the immediate family, the bridal party and close friends. An engagement fete can take any form: a classic buffet dinner, a swanky cocktail party or a laid-back outdoor barbecue. If an engagement soirée is on your must-do list, here's some handy planning advice:
- Who hosts? Anyone can throw an engagement celebration—family members, friends, even you and your fiancé. It's also fine for each set of parents to fete you with separate engagement get-togethers if they live far apart and plan to invite different people to their shindigs.
- Who's invited? Generally, the guest list is limited to family members, the bridal party and close friends. Just remember: Everyone who is invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding.
- What about gifts? Guests may bring engagement presents, but these aren't required. If you do receive some, wait until after the party to open them. That way, you won't make those who didn't bring a gift feel uncomfortable.
- Should we register? Proper etiquette is to prepare your wedding registry before the engagement party. Be sure it includes smaller-ticket items, like picture frames, toasting glasses and candlesticks, since engagement gifts tend to be more modest than shower and wedding presents.