One minute you're basking in the excitement of your recent engagement, and the next thing you know, you and your betrothed are being feted at an engagement party, with your likenesses rendered in marzipan atop a cake.OK, so maybe that last part isn't true for everyone, but you may be surprised to find that when you get engaged, people want to throw you parties. Often, it's friends of your parents, who want to return some long-lost favor, or friends who love any excuse to celebrate. For five reasons why this tradition makes sense (and one reason it doesn't), read more
Weddings call for many celebrations, but all those parties don't need to be formal affairs. There are many fun ways for you to celebrate your engagement and bring guests together without having to stress about seating arrangements. Here are a few of my ideas for healthy and fun engagement parties.
Garden party: In my mind, a garden party is just a little more formal than a BBQ, but games are a featured activity nonetheless. You can play badminton and croquet. The Italian lawn game bocce ball is a fun way to engage (pun intended) guests of all ages. I also like that the Italian word for kiss, bacio, sounds a lot like bocce — it adds a romantic twist to the game.
Healthy cooking class: Many chefs, restaurants, and catering companies offer hands-on cooking classes, where every guest gets to play chef. Guests are placed into small groups to prepare different dishes. At the end of the class, you all sit down to eat the feast you created. Many of these schools allow you to participate in planning the menu, so you can opt for healthier fare.
See my third idea when you read more
So you got invited to an engagement party. Fun! But what should you bring?
First things first: you are almost never required to bring a present to an engagement party. In fact, bringing something too extravagant could be considered poor taste. The couple will get plenty of gifts at the wedding, so you don't want to overdo it at the more informal gathering.
But, if you're like me, you probably want to share your excitement for the couple by offering them a thoughtful gift. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Lighten up: Depending on the couple's sense of humor they may get a chuckle out of a book like Honeymooners Forever: Twelve Step Marriage Survival Guide.
- DIY: You could team up with friends to make a photo memory book of good times shared among the couple and your group of friends. Or you could put together a book of well-wishes from the guests and present it to the couple.
- Keep it simple: a nice bottle of wine or a fancy box of chocolates shows that you're in the mood to celebrate.
- Stick with the planning theme: Planning a Wedding to Remember: The Perfect Wedding Planner would be thoughtful and useful.
- Be sincere: A heartfelt card might make the best gift of all.
Theme parties are my favorite to decorate because it's so easy to create a festive look. For Ronda and James's Latin-themed engagement party, complete with salsa dancing class, the look will be fun and fabulous.
Set a folding table or console in an area that is far away from the dance floor. Run a printed table runner down the middle. Place the empanadas and chicken with mango salsa on dark blue serving platters. Serve the Mexican seafood cocktail in stemless martini glasses.
Stack red cocktail napkins near the pitchers of mojitos and arrange the glasses next to them. Geometric candles cast an inviting glow and a beautiful bouquet of yellow flowers adds a pop of color.
While some parties — like a bedazzle bonanza — require nothing more than a neverending flow of bubbly, others — like a Latin-themed engagement — scream signature cocktail. When selecting a signature cocktail, be it for your engagement or wedding, it's best to choose a drink that's easy to make in batches, matches your theme, and represents your personality as a couple.
When I was planning Ronda and James's engagement, sangria was the first drink that popped into my head. However, I came across this recipe for pomelo-mint mojitos. Although it makes one drink, I will increase the proportions to make a big pitcher.
To look at the refreshing recipe, read more
Since the cake is a huge part of your wedding day, when planning the engagement party, select a dessert that is not cake based and totally different from what you want to serve on the big day.
For Ronda and James's Latin-inspired affair, I'm making caramel-coconut shortbread. Cut into rectangles or squares, it's ideal because no utensils are necessary. Although this dessert has several components, it's far from intimidating and comes together quickly. Get the easy recipe when you, read more
If you were recently engaged: congratulations! While the weeks after he proposed can be overwhelming, they are also very exciting. First things first: you'll want to properly announce the engagement. One way to do so is by hosting an engagement party. To find out my tips for planning the perfect engagement party, read more
Two weeks ago, I was starting to panic. Wedding season was nearly upon us and I had no bride and groom. Luckily I got a call from one of my oldest friends announcing her engagement! Giddy and excited, Ronda agreed to be my featured bride. Never one to procrastinate, Ronda and her fiance, James, are ready to celebrate with an informal engagement party. They're enthusiastic dancers, so the party will revolve around a salsa dance class. Everyone will be invited to join; after the class we'll toast the couple and enjoy a buffet of spicy Latin food. The menu will be a mix of homemade and store-bought items.
Bowls of purchased guacamole and a variety of salsas are perfect for dipping when paired with crunchy tortilla chips. Beef empanadas are filling and can be mass produced in advance. Plantain chips with chicken and mojito mango salsa are festive and delicious. A Mexican seafood cocktail packed with crab and shrimp finishes up the menu. For these recipes, read more