Post # 1
I haven’t really heard mention from the American Bees about having an engagement party, so perhaps this is mostly an Australian tradition? To fill anyone in who doesn’t know, an engagement party is usually held within 3 months of engagement and is normally a more low-key affair than the wedding. Many are held in backyards, so have themes (such as Halloween) and their main purpose is to get both families (and friends) together so that they can meet and mingle and make the wedding itself (and hen’s party [bachelorette] etc) a better event because everyone has already met and broken the ice.
I didn’t really want an engagement party, most of my FI’s family has either already met my family at previous events over the past 8 years, or they live overseas and would not be flying in for an engagement party. I thought it would be a bit of a waste of money. But my parents really wanted to have one and they offered to pay for it and organise pretty much everything so we went with it, and I’m SO glad we did! Not only was the party a lot of fun and gave my friends a chance to re-meet my family and each other, it was nice to be surrounded by so many people who were so excited for us. People also gave us some really generous presents which I am so, so grateful for.
However, most unexpectedly of all are all the advantages that come with having an engagement party. So, for anyone on the fence, here are the benefits which will make the wedding much easier:
- You are forced to decide on the guest list NOW. Because it’s rude to invite people to the engagement party and not the wedding (or vice versa), your engagement party guest list IS your wedding guest list. This gets the awkward conversations with family out of the way early on in the planning, rather than 3 months before as you are trying to put together invitations. It also helps you look for venues and set a budget with an actual number of guests in mind, rather than an estimate which may blow out or shrink.
- That horrible job of gathering addresses? You’ll be forced to do it early too in order to send the invites for the engagement party. That way you’ll only have to update one or two addresses for those who move once you get really to send the actual invites. Another not-so-fun job done!
- Our engagement party invites are a less formal version of our wedding invites, so now we know what they are going to be like too!
- It gives you an idea of how easy/hard it is to gather people up for photos and just how easy it is to miss out on photos with important people if you don’t have a list
- Family get a practice run at speeches, my parents have no decided to contact a guy who helps people write wedding speeches because it’s really important to them to give a really great speech but when they try to be heartfelt they always end up saying something they regret later (nothing too horrible, just a bit embarrassing for them). I know that might not be for everyone, but it makes them feel better so I don’t mind at all.
That’s all I can think of for now. Any other Aussie Bees have an engagement party? Any other advantages to add?
Post # 2
It’s not just Australian at all! I’m US and we had one, FIs parents did it all and it was so amazing, I was in bliss for weeks after. I had about 15 friends and fam fly in from across the country which really touched my mrsbueslebee heart. 100 people total.
It was more formal (country club, dinner, open bar etc) than the e parties I grew up hearing about (which were more like you described informal, at a home etc). And I also was shocked and moved by the gifting. Where I grew up in the US (south/Midwest) e parties are not gifting occasions but I guess in NY it is.
totally agreed about gathering all the addresses, and it also let me get experience being on point at a big party, thanking every guest, talking to everyone etc. And the families got to bond, it was a great time, I cherish it.
To be frank it’s a total extravagant luxury and we wouldn’t have done it ourselves but I feel really lucky and #blessed and just wow that we got one! It was a wedding warm up in tons of ways.
Post # 3
MrsBuesleBee: That’s exactly what I felt, that it was a wedding warm up!
I just don’t see them mentioned on the Bee much at all, even by the blogger Bees.
Post # 4
I personally don’t care for them, BUT it does have some advantages. An engagement party does keep you from having to do as many introductions on your wedding day. I kept my wedding super small, but if it was going to be a local wedding I would’ve wanted an even before where everyone could meet.
Post # 5
Everdeen: Canadian bee here. We had one… kind of. We has just moved into our house so we had a house warming/engagement party. But it was VERY casual and low key. Invites were word of mouth, there were no speeches, and the focus was not all on us getting married, but also looking at our new house.
We ended up having about 50 people show up though, which was great! I had some family members come from out of town too.
Post # 6
Everdeen: Another Aussie bee and we had one too. Just about everyone I know has them and they range from formal events to barefoot bowls down the bowling club (love these ones) to backyard BBQ’s.
I agree that it really helps you think about who you are going to invite to the wedding. It is true that those that are invited should be invited to the wedding but not about if they are not invited (by ettiquette standards anyway).
I agree with the not having to introduce people at the wedding thing. We had a small wedding and a small backyard bbq engagement party and I think our wedding reception was far more cozy because everyone knew each other already.
Post # 7
I will also add, that my eparty was in his region, and the wedding will be in mine. Many of his older family and family friends won’t be able to make the trip so half the point for Future Mother-In-Law was for their side to celebrate.
Post # 8
I’m American. My in-laws hosted the engagement party for us in October at their house when we had got engaged in May, but we weren’t getting married until the following year in August. It was super casual and we only had our parent’s and wedding party members there. It was great for our friends from different chapters to meet each other. My Mother-In-Law was just so happy to have everyone together and provide a nice party for us. The only people that weren’t there were the Best Man, 1 out of 2 Bridesmen, 1 out of 2 Bridesmaids, and 2 out of 5 Groomsmen, because they were either out of town or sick.
Post # 9
my situation is similar to MrsBuesleBee: we had an engagement party in my fiancé’s west coast hometown, but we’re getting married about 2000 miles away in my hometown so it was a way for his family to host their family and friends at a wedding event and for everyone to be able to make it.
we loved ours! it was very generous of his parents to host it. it was fairly fancy – ours was in their lovely backyard for about 60 people. it was catered with delicious mediterranean food, appetizers, etc. and the catering company set up tables and chairs, hung lanterns in the trees and a family friend did amazing floral arrangements. we had a signature drink and bartenders and tons and tons of amazing food – we had so much fun!
we had also lived abroad for our engagement until then, so it was a nice welcome back to the continent and helped us feel like we were really engaged and starting the wedding planning process.
Post # 10
- Wedding: September 2016 - Hunting Hill Mansion
We are having one! Our tentative plans to have a backyard BBQ this summer following our engagement. It will be very casual but we are planning to have some catering as we have a large family. The reason we plan on having an engagement party is because we are going to have a long engagement so the wedding won’t be for a while and we want to celebrate!
Edit: we also live very far from our families and we wont be able to see anyone in person until a few months after our engagement (when we move back home) so we might as well have a party and see them all at once!
Post # 11
Not just anAustralian thing at all. I’m in the US and my parents gave us an engagement party and it was WONDERFUL!! My fiance’s family had never once met my family so it was a wonderful way to get them all together. Some people dont want it because they feel that it’s a lot of work and money and in some ways it is. I had a wonderful time at our engagement party and so did the rest of the families. If you want one have one! If you dont, then don’t. It’s a matter of personal oppinion. My engagement party was 9 months after we got engaged (illness in the family prevented us from doing it sooner) and it was in a catering hall last July. Our wedding isn’t untill this October so it also doesn’t have to be informal OR 3 months after you get engaged.
Post # 12
We are having one! My parents are traditional Italian (in fact I didn’t realize how traditional they were tI’ll wedding planning started happening…) But like other bees said its a chance for the families to meet, my dad hasn’t even met my finances parents yet! But it’s more of a meet and greet.
Post # 13
We are in the US and also had one (well two, our families live on opposite ends of the country) and it was a chance for both sets of parents to share the occassion with THEIR friends and they had complete control over the event and all the decor, food, guests, etc. I really didnt want one and wish I had the foresight to say no because it was a stressful disaster. But now that they are over I am getting back to my normal level of relaxation, lol. We are having a small destination wedding so we are not inviting everyone to our wedding and our parents know that. They chose to invite whomever they wanted knowing this, and even though it may be considered a no no, we are going to do it this way. This also gave the moms an opportunity to call the shots so they will back off during wedding planning.
Post # 14
We just had our eparty! Timing of it was just a little over two months after the proposal. Two wonderful ladies hosted our eparty. It was held at a restaurant which had a private room. We are a chinese amercian couple and in our case, some of our guests had heard of an eparty and some had not.
Having an eparty helped us in the following ways. We have a final guest list. We started a guest list for our eparty and built from there. We gave our save the date as party favors which saved on postage. The party itself was a good indicator as what to expect on our wedding day.
The party was a blast. We felt an overwhelming amount of support and love from everyone. In hindsight, I should have been less nervous leading up to our party. I was concerned for other people. How silly of me to worry myself…the night flew by! After all was said and done we stayed up, opened our gifts, reminisced on how much fun we had and went to bed. We couldn’t have asked for a better party to celebrate our engagement.
Post # 15
We are going to miss out on one as my Fiance proposed wit him 12 months of my mum passing and I wasn’t feeling particularly celebratory. instead we will probably host a gathering of very close friends about 12 months out from our wedding. I say phooey to only being able to have an e party within 3 months of getting engaged. Phoey, I tells ya!
We don’t want gifts though! I guess if it was gift grabby that would be different.
I like this thread!