Five Tips for Planning Your Stress-Free Engagement Party

Table set for a festive party or dinner

Five Tips for Planning Your Stress-Free Engagement Party

Guest article | 27 January 2013


Table set for with a brown box

Planning a wedding is stressful enough…

…you don’t want to stress yourself with engagement party preparation

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, so you don’t want to stress yourself out with engagement party preparation; however, the engagement party may be the first official celebration of your upcoming nuptials, so you want it to be special. Let us walk you through everything from engagement party decorations to menu items to help you plan this party with minimum hassle.

1. Choose the Right Time

One mistake that could cause you a lot of stress is choosing the wrong day for the party. If you pick a date too close to your wedding, it could clash with your bridal shower or bachelorette party — and those cause headaches and require planning of their own. Similarly, if you pick a date near a major holiday, birthday or anniversary, your guests may have to choose which festivities to attend. Two months after your engagement is an ideal time for your party, just be sure to have it at least a week before or after the holidays and special family occasions.

2. Stick With Simple Décor

There’s no need to spend thousands or even hundreds on the engagement party décor, but at the same time, you want to do something to mark the festivities. Shop through an online supply catalogue and look for decorations that won’t tax your budget or require a lot of effort to put up. Some simple ideas include:

  • Streamers
  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Balloons
  • Signs
  • Party favours

Stick with a set of decorations in coordinated colours that you can put up in less than an hour on the day of the party.

3. Set a Small Budget

It can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and not think about how much you’re spending on your party, but remember that this is just the first of many celebrations for your wedding. The less you spend now, the more you’ll have to spend on the wedding. Before you do anything — before you even book a venue or set a date — give yourself a modest budget and stick to it. If it’s a small gathering, aim to spend no more than $50. If it’s a larger one, perhaps $100 to $200 will do. Keep careful track of your expenditures and always seek cheaper options.

4. Opt for a Stress-Free Venue

Looking at a small budget, you may shake your head: That won’t even cover the venue rental, right? If you opt for a stress-free venue, you could spend much less or nothing at all. Start with your own home or the home of friends and family. Would your friends and family be willing to play host or help you clean up for the party? If a home is out of the question, consider these free or affordable venues:

  • Public parks
  • Public beaches
  • Restaurants with no reservation fee
  • Your house of worship

5. Offer Light Dining Fare

Food is another expense that can eat up a lot of your budget. Instead of paying for a catering service, make the food yourself or with friends and family. Because you’re making it yourself, you don’t want to stress over the cooking, so think of simple and inexpensive finger foods, such as:

  • Cookout meats and veggies
  • Cold-cut sandwiches
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Tea and biscuits

Alert your guests that the dining fare will be light and hold the party in the middle of the afternoon, between meals, so people won’t expect a full-course meal.

If you hold the party at a restaurant and you don’t think paying for everyone’s meal is within your budget, provide a link to the restaurant’s menu and let your guests know up front that this is a casual gathering and they’ll have to pay their own way.

If there are any last-minute party supplies you need to pick up, order them online. Shopping from the convenience of home or work is much easier than taking a trip to a supply store, especially when you have so many things to plan for your upcoming wedding.

About the Author: Jimmy Tremper is a contributing writer and a special event coordinator. He’s contributed to a number of wedding publications, both online and in print for engagement party decorations.


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