The engagement party, the bridal showers, the hilarious hen and buck's nights... In case you haven't noticed, getting engaged is the all time best excuse to party!
Type of party
There are no hard and fast rules to throwing an engagement party, only have fun. It can be anything from a backyard soiree to a bow-tie dinner. Here are some fun ideas to get you started.
- A barbeque - nothing beats the relaxed atmosphere of a get-together in the sunshine with your family and friends. Try to come up with some gourmet snags, though - it is a special occasion.
- A dinner - in the beer garden at the pub - your sweetheart, your mates, a few beers and some true-blue pub grub. What else could you ask for?
- A champagne picnic - spread some blankets on the grass, watch the sunset and break out the champagne for a romantic celebration.
- A dessert party - paradise for the sweet tooth. Pile on the buffet profiteroles, crÃ¨me brulee, cheesecake, lemon tart and other sweet delicacies. Drink-wise, go for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. If you can stretch your budget, serve a selection of dessert wines such as port or stickies.
- A wine and cheese party - celebrate in good taste with lots of gourmet cheeses and vintage wines. Serve with hearty breads and nibbles to absorb the booze.
- A honeymoon party - if your destination is not a secret, throw a Tuscan soiree or an Outback party complete with native food, regional music and traditional costumes.
- A dance party - move back the furniture, plug in the ipod and shake your booty. If you want to go the whole way you can hire a professional DJ or even a live band.
- A fancy dress party - ask your guests to dress up as famous married couples. There's Marilyn and John, Minnie and Mickey Mouse or Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, just to name a few; they'll be spoiled for choice.
- A cocktail party - all the fun of a dinner party without the fuss. Concoct a drink and name it after the two of you. You'll be sipping on Marty and Simone Martinis 'til the wee hours of the morning.
- A formal dinner - hire a hall and plan a sumptuous reception with caviar, cake and speeches. If you're planning a getaway wedding this is the perfect substitute for your guests to a big day invitation. Otherwise, think of it as a practice run for your wedding day.
- A romantic TÃªte-Ã -tÃªte - forget the guests and light the candles. Your engagement party can be a strictly intimate affair.
Once you know what type of party you are going to have, coming up with the guest list should be a cinch. It can range from just the two of you to pretty much any name that crosses your mind. Remember that an engagement party is the ideal occasion for both your families to get to know each other. A big bash is the perfect opportunity to introduce your friends to your partner or his family. Plus it is great if you are trying to keep the numbers down for the wedding - hosting a large but casual engagement party will help those who aren't on the guest list to swallow the pill.
If you decide on a traditional engagement party then etiquette dictates that the Groom and the Father of the Bride will say a few words. There will be a toast to the happy couple and of course some mortifying words about their childhood/schooldays/misspent youth. Don't let Dad have the last say, you must thank all your guests for coming.
Tips for a successful party
- Flash your ring, everyone wants a glimpse at your stunning rock.
- Get a manicure, your hands will be in the spotlight.
- Have a facial, get your hair done and pick a new outfit, you need to look the part.
- Buy plenty of booze - your party will end with the last bottle of Champas.
- Don't forget the ice - warm beers are not a good idea.
- Organise your ipod playlists, music is the key to a good party.
- Sneak a glass of bubbly before the guests arrive - it'll get you in the mood.
- Check your lippy and prepare to party!