I’ve had a few fun lists floating around in my head for some time and today I wanted to kick them off by focusing on the engagement party! Leave a comment with your tips, because I’d love to hear them!

1. Ignore Timelines

While sometimes timelines apply when it comes to celebrating your engagement, if it takes you a little longer than three months to get your head around your sparkly new stage of romance, don’t stress. Those who love you won’t care and will celebrate with you anyway!

2. Hire a Photographer

If you’re a sentimental sort (i.e me) consider hiring a photographer. For such a casual event you can look at budding photography students. Even if it’s for a few hours you’ll get some gorgeous photos of yourself in engagement glow, and your loved ones.

3. Stop

Make sure you find your partner in amongst the celebrations, hold their hand and say “LOOK, We’re at our engagement party!” Stop and smell the roses, soak it in!

4. Don’t be afraid to host it yourself

Seriously, it’s not a big deal to throw your own engagement party. It doesn’t have to be hosted by parents, or friends. You can host your own and have a ball doing it!

5. Send thank yous

Get in practice for the wedding by sending thank you cards. I’m not sure why this tip has to be written but each guest needs to be thanked for attendance, and if they gave a gift.

6. Break the ice

It’s true that your friends and family are adults, but it’s fun to include a few fun things that can get people mingling – especially as this may be the first time your various friendship groups have come together. A photo booth is a tried and true classic (easy to pull together yourself with some fun fabric and a few props) but setting up fun games like croquet and bocce, a DIY cocktail station, photos of yourself and your beloved taken over the duration of your relationship, even a different kind of interactive guestbook, can all get guests talking.

7. Don’t invite guests that won’t be there for the vows

Allow me to get a little Emily Post on you. While it’s hard to know your guest list when you’re still in the engagement haze, it really is impolite to invite guests to your engagement party that you won’t invite to your wedding day (except if you’re eloping, of course!). Sit down and think through who you might want at your wedding and make sure you think through the actions and reactions. As with every decision around the wedding there are choices made which have repercussions long after the day. The question is, whether those decisions are worth the invitation!

8. Eat like a king

Make sure you provide enough food and drink for your guests. It’s funny, food and drink is often a lasting memory for guests (and we have all heard the stories of people having to stop by a fast food chain on the way home!) So whether you are hiring a caterer or catering yourself make sure you provide enough food (taking into account guest’s dietary restrictions) and alcoholic and non alcoholic options for beverages. It needn’t be expensive or fancy- things like serving a fun cocktail can cut down on bar costs and there are plenty of options for parties with low food budgets- an afternoon tea  or a dessert function are fun ideas!

9. Get really organised

Set up a dropbox or Google document and share it! Itemise your vendors involved and break down your costs against your budget. Note whether the vendor has been booked and confirmed. For parties outside of home, make a list of absolutely everything you need to cart to the venue (including often forgotten essentials like sticky tape, scissors and even aspirin). Number the boxes and make yourself a list so there are no last minute “where is the guestbook pen?” Write up every task that needs completing (hanging lanterns, greeting caterer, passing around the guestbook) and delegate. The more organised you are, the less stressed out you’ll be and the more you can sit back and enjoy!

10. Do it your way

Especially for those hosting their own parties! The engagement party is really the first time most couples face the challenges of the combined family & friends celebration in such a large format. So make sure you stay true to what you want for your party – whether that may be a picnic in the park or a dinner with friends. Make sure it’s fun and reflective of what you both want. (Oh and traditions? It’s completely up to you whether there are speeches, cake or any other formalities!)

Photos from Anitra and Ben’s Engagement Party by Leo Farrell