(Closed) Is there a short window for Engagement parties?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

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sarahquinn:  yay engagement!! i just got engaged myself weekend before last, so i’m no veteran on the subject, haha. but 8 months does seem just a tad bit out there. it would be like having your 50th anniversary party 4 months before your 51st. it’s just a little too far after the point.

also, are you guys throwing the party yourselves? maybe instead, call up a few of your nearest and dearest to have dinner at a restaurant or something to celebrate, and then throw a party for FI’s graduation! you’ll be able to get everyone together early next year, and trust me they’ll still be excited to talk engagement (especially since Fiance will be done w/school!) and yet they won’t be like, “ugh can’t believe they threw an engagement party a year after they got engaged…” lol

Post # 4
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

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sarahquinn:  why not just have a christmas party? you could even skip calling it an engagement party to avoid any side-eyes from etiquette snobs. but that way everyone could get together at one time, and i guarantee that it’s still soon enough after your engagement that your big news would be a major focus!

Post # 5
449 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Yes, the ship will have sailed after 8 months. You also should not host your own engagement party.

Post # 6
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I am also in the same boat. Got engaged two months ago but now my fiancé is on a army course till january. I want to experience all the fun wedding stuff (including a engagement party) cause you only get it to do it once. I say go for it!!! If you want it then do it! Plan it yourself and just have fun!! people will understand, especially if they know how intense your fiancés schooling is.

maybe make a joke of it and say our “halfway to the wedding engagement party” think I’ll do something like that 🙂

Post # 8
1692 posts
Bumble bee

Tradition recognizes two kinds of “engagement party”. One is a general party to which all of the folk with whom you commonly socialize are invited, with no prior indication that you have any hidden agenda in hosting such a party. During an appropriate pause in the night’s festivities, you announce your engagement. Include a few appropriate words to the effect that you want your guests, the most important people in your lives, to be the first to know. Then as quickly as possible, put the focus of the night back off yourselves and onto your guests and their entertainment. The window for this kind of engagement party is very brief indeed: it extends from the moment you become engaged until the moment you tell someone who can’t keep a secret. You hold the party the evening before your engagement announcement is published in the local paper’s social pages (or you change your status on Facebook.) You may certainly host this kind of engagement party yourself, since it is held in honour of your guests and there is no indication given to them that they are expected to honour you for any reason (nor to give you gifts, which they ought not to do for an engagement, anyway.)

The second traditional etiquette-approved kind of “engagement party” is an intimate meal arranged for the two immediate families to meet and become acquainted. You may also host this kind of engagement party yourself: simply ensure that the focus remains as much as possible on the families, particularly their elder members. Especially if the families are going to be involved in the wedding planning, this is a good opportunity to foster the kind of collaborative relationships that such involvement requires.

The kind of engagement party that you may not throw for yourself, is the one that is advertized as “Sarah and Quinn’s ENGAGEMENT PARTY” with half the guests mistakenly thinking that they are obliged to bring gifts and the other half mistakenly dreading that the couple are launching a never-ending multi-month string of “pre-wedding events” that will wear their friends’ patience to the bone. Those parties are a modern innovation that was never even contemplated by traditional formal etiquette.

Post # 9
1632 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

An engagement party 8 months after the fact is extremely indulgent. Just host a party when he gets back. See all your friends. I’m not sure what you expect to happen at an engagement party, but 8 months down the line everyone who matters to you will know and already given their congrats.

Post # 10
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

My Fiance and I got engaged in July, and our parents wanted to throw us an engagement party in October. Now, there’s huge issues going on in my FI’s family, and we asked them to hold off because of it. Depending on how things pan out, we maybe have one in the spring or even next summer instead because I don’t think there should be a time limit on it if it’s an aspect of wedding planning that is important to you..especially if it’s no gifts or anything like that. We see the idea of engagement party as our friends and family all getting together for the first time, and why should there be an expiration date on that? 

Have your party when you want to, call it whatever you want to, and I’m sure all your family and friends will be there to support!

Post # 11
7625 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I would find it strange if I were invited to an engagement party eight months after the actual proposal took place. Why not just skip the party?

Just out of curiosity… Why would a Christmas engagement party be tacky? As long as you don’t actually have it on Christmas day I don’t understand why it matters.

Post # 12
3031 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

Engagement parties are also, not required. I have only ever been to 1 and it was thrown by the bride’s father. He just invited a small group of friends/family to his favorite local bar/restaurant and paid for pizza/wings/beer. 

I think 8 months out is too late. 

Post # 13
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017 - Northern Territory, Australia

My Fiance and I got engaged back in May. Due to health issues, university, moving house and family issues, we are not having our engagement party until the end of November. My sister and future Mother-In-Law are holding a BBQ dinner at a local hall and we are not expecting gifts. Because we live a interstate from most of our family this will consist of mostly friends.

We are not worrying about traditions because that is not who we are, or anyone in our community is like (woo for laid back Darwin, Australia!). Our wedding is also not until 2017 so it is close enough to the actual engagement and not the wedding to be okay in our minds (some people are saying we could even do it next year which we feel is too far away). <br /><br />Honestly, do whatever is right for you. Not everyone is going to like your decisions, but they are your decisions and you made them for a reason. 

Post # 14
9575 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

My FIs parents are throwing us one this Nov,  after our May proposal, just under 1 year till wedding. There just wasnt time to book the nice venue they wanted in Sept or Oct and people are quite busy then. They wanted a big party for his side as they are in NY and the wedding is in KY and many people won’t make the trip. We see it as a courtesy cocktail party to include those unable to travel in our festivities. Plus the NY grandmas might not be around another year, and they really are so excited to get dressed up and join us.

Were not putting “no gifts” as Mother-In-Law and my mom found that wording presumptuous. Engagement parties are not gifting occasions- it’s a cocktail party. Any gifts or cards that do show up will be whisked away and not displayed to not make other guests feel bad. 

But honestly timing wise, I feel like even our party is pushing it but at least there’s nearly a year till the wedding. But the inlaws wanted this shindig at their home country club, that was the next date available, and I was not about to be a party pooper. If anyone is put off by a 3 hour open bar and heavy hors d’ouerves they can just not come.


Post # 15
3723 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

We didn’t have an engagement party and we still feel like we were able to celebrate all of the wedding-y things. If you can squeeze it in sooner, do it. If you can’t, I wouldn’t wait 8 months — that’s too long. People will be so happy for you when you see them whether it be a graduation party, Christmas party, etc. You will be toasted and celebrated regardless of an e-party or not.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it. The truth is, being a bride-to-be is a fleeting moment that you should feel good about.

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