Considering it’s a moment many dream of for years (if not, decades!) before it actually happens, there is something magical about the period when you’re newly engaged. Traditionally, couples have an engagement party to toast to their upcoming wedding and their lifelong commitment to one another—but some may ask themselves: “Do I really need an engagement party?” It can be a tricky question—yes, parties are fun, but some couples may wonder if this shindig is really necessary.
If you’re wondering “Do I need an engagement party?” it’s important to weigh these pros and cons, straight from wedding professionals who have been there, planned that.
Maybe not: You’ve already made a big splash on social media.
After you made the respectful phone calls to Grandma, your parents and your bestie, you uploaded a photo to tell the whole world — or at least Instagram — about your happy news. Since you tagged your spouse to be, nearly everyone within your joint circles knows you’re gettin’ hitched, so it may not be worth it to also have a celebration, too. As Jen Avey of DestinationWeddings Travel Group explains, engagement parties are becoming less popular with millennials since they take the social media route instead of telling friends and family face-to-face.
Maybe yes: You haven’t met his or her family yet.
While some duos date for ten years before they finally take the next step, others make it to the altar in six months. There’s no right or wrong timeline, but one practical use of an engagement party is to introduce your families to one another. As Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events in Los Angeles, California explains, this can be a stress-free way to join the tribes together. “It's a fun setting which helps breaks the ice and allows for people to mingle and get to know each other. Having the engagement party also makes it easier for future conversations about the wedding — and other things — since they will have already met,” she explains.
Maybe yes: You’re going to have a big wedding.
Your partner’s family is Danish, so you’ve decided to rent out a castle in Copenhagen and throw one hell of a party. Or perhaps, your family is a little extra and they want to have a full weekend of festivities. Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California says if your plan is to host a destination or a luxury celebration, you may want to skip engagement festivities. Not only does this save you money, but it’s also a way to go easy on the guest’s budget, too.
Maybe yes: Your friends or family want to plan it for you.
You called your best friend all the way from Venice when you said "Yes!" to that wonderful man of yours. Once she finished squealing, she excitedly asked: “Can I throw you a party?!?!” How can you say ‘no’? Chang says if anyone within your family or friend group wants to go the extra — super thoughtful — mile and host a gathering for your happy news, don’t stop them. If you want to keep it intimate and simple — say just wine and cheese or champagne and cocktails — let your pal or family member know they don’t have to break the bank on your behalf.
Maybe not: Your friends are spread out.
You have a group of pals from college you still text on the daily. And your first co-workers? You’re still on one another’s speed dial. Your book club friends? And your traveling buddies? Everyone you hold close to your heart isn’t exactly near you in miles, so hosting an engagement party could be stressful — and expensive — for everyone. If you know they will already be traveling to your wedding, Jones says it’s probably best to forgo. “If you think that the turnout (or lack thereof) may not be worth a full-blown get-together, consider leaving this off your agenda and focus on your wedding planning instead,” she shares.
Maybe yes: You want a surprise engagement party.
Though traditional engagement parties are declining, Avey shares ‘surprise engagement parties’ are on the rise. You know the drill: a friend or family member knows your partner is proposing, and gathers your community together to be there once you say “yes”. If this is something that you would enjoy and appreciate, let your best friend, parent, or even your partner know. This is usually a low-key type of experience and one that allows your loved ones to see you right after you take the next step in your relationship.
Maybe not: You’re worried about finances.
Truth be told, a huge factor in deciding to have an engagement party or not is money. As Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York explains, it’s smart to really understand your limitations before you go all-out on one party after another. “If you have extra cash you can use to throw an engagement party, that is great,” she continues. “But if throwing the party is going to eat away a chunk of your wedding budget, it may make much more sense to skip it. The same is true for you daily budget: if an engagement party is going to take away from your ability to pay your bills and buy groceries, it is not worth it!”
Maybe yes: You just want to!
Is it really that simple? Sure is, according to Danielle Lee of My House Social in New Orleans, Louisiana. Maybe you love planning events, spoiling your friends and overall, you’re always looking for a reason to celebrate. Whatever the reason, it is your wedding and it’s up to you on how you want to share it with loved ones. “You can use it as a practice round to see which types of food you and your partner want to highlight as well as general event aesthetics,” she explains. “You could go themed and curate a Parisian style brunch with baked goods and crepes for a daytime affair, a beautiful coursed dinner for a more formal evening, or maybe if comfort food is more your scene, get everyone together for burgers and fries, a much more casual vibe.”