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Should We Have An Engagement Party?

by Scott
(Messina, New York)

I asked my girlfriend to marry me last month, and she accepted. Now a couple of our friends have asked when the party is- I didn't even know that we were expected to do anything except the wedding.

What kind of party should we have?

I'd be happy to have our friends over to the house for a BBQ, but we don't have a huge budget. Is it ok if we have a potluck and have everybody bring something? I'm not trying to be cheap, I was just thinking this might be the most fun, just us hanging out and celebrating.

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Enjoy yourself.
by: Paula

Your engagement is about you and no one else so enjoy yourself in any way that you can or that your budget will allow.

Have a bash, have a family dinner, have a cocktail party or don't have anything--just don't worry about it or try and keep up with the Jones'. Your union is what's important and how you celebrate your upcoming nuptials is entirely up to you.

Not Mandatory
by: TheHeartBandits

As a Proposal Planner we constantly are asked about the rules of an Engagement Party. Our answer of course is there are none! Engagement Parties are not mandatory or the "norm" per say. They are, however, a nice way to celebrate your new stage in life with your close friends and family. So if you want to have one, just do a small BBQ I think that would be perfect!

Have A Party and Have Some Fun!
by: The Engagement Experts

Hi Scott... Congratulations!

Your question is a little more complicated than it seems.

First of all, an engagement party is NOT necessary and not everyone has one. Normally engagement parties are given by the parents of the bride to celebrate (or even announce) the engagement. They're also a great way to have the two families meet if they don't know each other.

There are a bunch of traditions behind the etiquette and protocol of an engagement party and one of the most important 'rules' is that the couple never throws one themselves. Actually, that particular rule applies to all parties, proper etiquette dictates that one should never throw a party to celebrate one's self.

We're not so sure how applicable that is today, at least when it comes to an engagement party. Today many newly engaged couples are older than they once were and don't like the idea of putting any sort of financial burden on anyone else. So they may choose to have a party, pay for it themselves, but have it hosted by someone else (usually a parent, family member, or very close friend). That's the best route to take, in our opinion, if you want to abide by traditional etiquette but want to 'throw' the party yourselves.

On the other hand, we've found that many people today, like yourself by the sounds of it, just want to have a party to celebrate and don't necessarily consider it an 'engagement party'.

What they really want to do is have a bunch of friends over and are using their engagement as an excuse to have a party. There's nothing wrong with that but for those who may be offended just don't call it an engagement party.

Have a party, have fun, celebrate all the good things that are going on in the lives of your guests as well as in your own. Make it potluck or do whatever you want. It's all good.

At the end of the day, it's your engagement and you should be aware of all the etiquette and protocol that surrounds this milestone in your lives. Know them, understand them, and then decide for yourselves whether you want to uphold any or all of the traditions that come with being engaged and getting married.

One thing we do need to mention here is that you need to consider everyone who is close to the two of you (especially family) when deciding on what and what not to do. It could be very important for certain members of either family that certain traditions are upheld, so consider their feelings as well when making your decisions.

Your engagement is all about you so have fun and go with your heart!

Relax, and Fiesta!
by: Susan

You can have any type of party you want!

Just relax! I'm kinda known as the
party lady in my community because I look for any excuse to throw a party - and this is a fun occasion, and your friends are urging you to have a party because they want to celebrate with you.

To answer your basic question easily, yes, it's okay to have a potluck. Here are a few ideas...

Pick a theme. I know that a potluck is often just that, "luck" in what shows up, someone might bring spinach dip and someone might bring a Mexican dip. While that can be fun, how about choosing a theme for the potluck, and help assign the dishes that correspond with the theme?

Make a list of all of the dishes you would like, and email the list (Facebook is a good tool for this), and then have your guests commit to an item. The great thing is that you can even assign some of the decorations, plates, napkins, etc. for your guests who either don't or are too busy to cook.

Here's a quick list of stuff we had at one of our themed potlucks and you could use the same Mexican theme for your engagement party.

7 Layer Dip
Cheese Platter or Shrimp Cocktail
Sliced Grilled Chicken or Beef for Fajitas
Tortillas for Fajitas
Sour Cream
Grated Cheese
Enchilada Casserole
A Taco Bar (see below)
Black Beans (no lard like refried!)
Spanish Rice
Flan for Dessert

Margarita Mix
Soft Drinks
Plastic Cups
Heavy Duty Paper Plates

The Taco Bar: This is a really fun and easy way to add a bit of flair to your party. If you have been to a Chipotle restaurant, you might know the concept.

On your table or bar, you have several platters. First, your have soft or hard taco shells. Guests take the ones that they prefer and then head down the line, where they find platters of chicken, shrimp or sliced beef and pork which can all be barbecued.

Next, the toppings. Go wild and give everyone lots of choices.

Bowls of sour cream, grated cheese, guacamole, and salsa from mild to extra spicy. Other items can be sliced black olives and jalapenos, roasted peppers, chipotle peppers, whatever you guys like.

You can provide the booze and the plates/cups if you feel uncomfortable with the guests bringing everything - but you can assign those too.

If you farm out the entire list, and anyone balks and remarks "What are you providing?", you can always say, "Why, the reason to celebrate, of course", or "Have you seen the engagement ring? We can't afford anything right now!"

Remember to let everyone know your head count - they have to plan accordingly. If you're only having 10 guests, the last thing you need is 20 pounds of guacamole leftover!

Have fun!

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