Getting engaged opens up a flood of emotions. There will be happiness and excitement, maybe even disbelief. During this time, it can be easy to think of no one but yourself and your future spouse. But you also need to be considerate of your family and friends, especially if you want them to hold a meaningful part in the wedding.
The first people you and your fiancé should tell about your engagement is your parents. Tell them either in person or over the phone. You don't want there to be any hurt feelings if they hear it from someone else. After you've told your parents you can tell everyone else.
While engagement parties aren't required, they are an excellent way for members of both your families and your attendants to get to know one another. Engagement parties can be as formal or informal as you feel comfortable with and should be held four to six months before the wedding.
Engagement parties are intimate affairs so you should only invite close friends and family. Anyone who is invited to your wedding can be invited to your engagement party, but don't invite anyone to your engagement party who isn't invited to your wedding. Doing so would be considered in bad taste.
Remember, if you're the one doing the inviting, you're the one doing the paying. If you can't afford a formal dinner, for example, you should opt for a less expensive alternative such as a cocktail hour or afternoon tea.
Once the party begins, make sure you acknowledge and thank everyone for coming. It's also a good idea to introduce guests to one another, especially if members of each other's family never met before. Neglecting an introduction may make the person feeling unwelcome or unimportant.
If you're marrying someone from a different cultural background, research what is and is not considered a polite gesture or greeting.
There is bound to be someone who doesn't agree with your choice of partner or who preferred one of your exes. Try to nip any negative or embarrassing comments or remarks from your guests in the bud.
Finally, accept toasts made in your honor with good grace. Remain seated and avoid raising your glass. Instead, respond in kind with a thank you toast.
Gifts are not expected at an engagement party. You should, however, have your bridal registry set up just in case. Don't advertise to people, though, that the registry is set up. It will be used later for events such as bridal showers where gifts are expected.
If someone does bring you a gift, thank them and tell them you will open it after the party. If they insist they would like to see you open it, do so away from the other guests. Either way, send a thank you as soon as you can after the party.
It's your party so be sure to take a deep breath, smile and have fun.