Everything you need to know about planning an engagement party.


by Quendon Hall

If you’re the party type, an engagement party can be great fun. It’s a time when you’re happy after saying “I do” and a time for sharing that joy with family and friends. It’s a time for celebration and for basking in the happiness that is engaged bliss.

If you haven’t planned engagement party before, it’s an ideal opportunity to get into planning mode. Weddings take a lot of planning, so any practice you can get in advance is key. Here’s what you need to know.


Traditionally, an engagement party is held at the same time as you make the general announcement. Practically, that isn’t always possible so any time soon after saying “I do” is good.

Much depends on you, your fiancée and the type of friends and family you have. For some, nothing short of a formal event will do. For others, everyone piling round to your house on Saturday night for wine and pizza is the ideal. Formal events will need scheduling, less formal will just need a free weekend.

Any party is best held on a Friday or Saturday night when the majority of people don’t have to get up the next day. Selecting a date can be as simple as checking a calendar and sending out a Facebook invite, or asking your nearest and dearest when they are free.


Some people like to live in the moment and just plan a bash at a local pub or restaurant. Others like to plan something at home, while others will opt for something much more extravagant. Whichever type you are, the planning is the same, just on a different scale.

If you need a venue you have to either book a table, a room or the entire place. That will influence when you have your engagement party quite a bit. If you’re looking for something less formal, get everyone together at your place that weekend and just enjoy yourselves!

Like the scheduling, where to have your engagement party is as much about you as a couple as it is about anything else. If you’re more comfortable down the pub with friends, that’s the kind of engagement party you should have. If you’re happier dressing up and enjoying canapés somewhere formal, that’s the party you should have.


The how of an engagement party is actually quite simple. Sometimes your fiancée will plan a surprise party in order to propose. Sometimes you will both plan a part to announce the engagement. Other times you will organise something afterwards.

The first step in engagement party planning is deciding the when, then the where and the who. They are all dependent on each other, so should ideally be made at the same time. The when can depend on the availability of a venue and who you’re inviting. The same for the who, that will depend on the when and where and so on.

If it becomes problematic, don’t be afraid to take control and tell people when and where it’s going to be. Then tell them to just get there. If they love you they will make it.


Traditionally, engagement party guests will also be your wedding guests. Try not to invite anyone you won’t be sending wedding invitations to. It creates expectation and can cause problems you don’t need. It’s much better to invite someone to your wedding and not the engagement party than the other way round!

Other than that one caveat there are no hard and fast rules about the guest list. Just invite your family, friends and anyone else you want to share the good news with.

Other considerations

If you receive engagement presents, don’t forget to send a thank you card. Keep a record of who attended and who didn’t so you can check it several months down the line when creating your wedding guest list. Also consider all the lessons learned about planning the event for your wedding too!

Finally, remember that a party is a time for having fun and enjoying yourself. Try not to get too tied up in the details or stressed out with the planning. It’s supposed to be a celebration!

COVID-19 Update

If you are attending or planning a wedding before the 19th July 2021, please visit our Health and Wellbeing page.

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