I love the idea of Engagement parties (well of course, I love parties...)! Why not start the engagement off with a bang?? Everyone is so happy about the upcoming wedding celebration, so its a great way to get the families and friends together to get the party going!
One of my Brides sent me pictures from her Engagement party, which was held at The Wine Loft...a great place for a party like this. They had a "wine" theme-- and of course, the bride to be wore white!
They also had a great idea....they had all their guests sign a plate, instead of a guest book! What a great thing to have for future entertaining in their home!
Engagement parties can vary, but my opinion is that they should be more of a cocktail party and hors d'oeuvres menu. A large place to hold a good amount of people is probably best, since you will be combining both families and all your friends. Usually engagement parties are held at the beginning of your engagement, but depending on the length, they can be held closer to time when other parties and showers begin to kick-off the celebration!
Just remember these few rules of etiquette:
1. Only invite people that you will for SURE be inviting to the wedding, but you don't have to include everyone. Usually an engagement party will be a more intimate affair, with just families from both sides and close friends.
2. Usually gifts are not required. Save the gift-giving for themed showers or bridal teas. (If someone does bring a gift- make sure you say thank you, and then put them somewhere where other guests cannot see, so that they don't feel pressured to have a gift as well.)
3. Make sure you, the bride and groom, acknowledge every guest at the party. They are there to honor you and you should definitely thank them for coming.