Everything you need to know about engagement party etiquette

You’re engaged! Congratulations! It’s now time to start the wedding festivities in style. An engagement party is a fun and thrilling way to let everyone in on the good news and celebrate this joyous occasion with you.

If you’re new to hosting an engagement party, you’re likely to have some questions about etiquette. To that end, Boardwalk Catering is here to provide insider tips and address important questions regarding the guest list, invitations, gifts, and everything in between.

Are you ready to kick-start the festivities? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on everything engagement party etiquette.

Answering engagement party etiquette questions

You may be wondering who should plan and cover the expenses for an engagement party. Who should be invited? And what’s the best method for sending out invitations? Below, we have answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning engagement party etiquette.

Who hosts the engagement party?

Traditionally, engagement parties were hosted by the bride’s parents, but nowadays, anyone can throw an engagement party. Most Sydney couples are choosing to organise the celebration themselves!

When should you have an engagement party?

Host your engagement party shortly after getting engaged. Since there will be many other events honouring you along the way, it’s best to spread them out. If you have a longer engagement or cannot immediately travel home, a slight delay is not unconventional.

Who should you invite to an engagement party? 

Just like all your pre-wedding events, anyone invited to the engagement party should also receive an invitation to the wedding. 

Should you send formal invitations?

Whether or not you should send formal invitations depends on the nature of the event. If you have enough time and are planning a sit-down dinner, paper invitations can add an elegant touch. For a more casual affair, consider an e-vite with a playful theme. The advantage of e-vites is that you have endless design options, allowing you to choose a formal design for a more sophisticated engagement party.

Should there be registry information on the invitations?

In our experience, registry’s are reserved for the wedding. Remember that giving gifts, although customary, is not obligatory for engagement party etiquette.

Can you have multiple engagement parties?

Having multiple engagement parties is quite common, especially when the bride and groom are not from the same location or live far away from home. This allows for a celebration with non-local friends as well. 

Can you combine the party with a holiday or birthday?

Whether you got engaged during the holidays or any other time of the year, you can choose to combine your engagement party with another celebration. However, it’s best to avoid holidays when people may have existing plans (like Valentine’s Day) or be focused on family traditions (e.g., Christmas or Ramadan)

When should your parents meet for the first time?

An engagement party may not provide the ideal atmosphere for the parents’ first meeting. It’s better to arrange a separate occasion that allows them to have meaningful conversations and get to know each other in a more private and intimate setting.

Key steps for planning an engagement party

From early decisions to the final touches on the day of the event, here’s a step-by-step guide to planning an engagement party.

#1 Decide who will host

Anyone, including you and your partner, your siblings, your best friend, or your partner’s family, can plan and finance the engagement party. If you’re going all out, consider hiring a professional, as some wedding planners include engagement parties in their packages.

#2 Pick a date

The best time to have an engagement party is within the first few months of your engagement. The excitement is fresh, and you aren’t generally focused on wedding planning yet.

#3 Create the guest list

It’s advisable to keep the engagement party intimate and invite only those who will also be attending the wedding. If someone is hosting the party on your behalf, consult with them before sending out invitations.

#4 Pick a venue 

Engagement parties can range from small and casual to grand and formal, providing you with ample flexibility in terms of the venue. Hosting the party at your parents’ home or in a backyard can create a cosy, low-key atmosphere, while booking a private dining room at your favourite restaurant offers a more intimate and formal setting.

#5 Send out invitations 

Invitations ought to be sent out at least a month in advance, and remember to include an RSVP date. The choice of invitations should align with the style of your occasion – there is no one-set engagement party etiquette here. The good news is that they don’t have to match the rest of your wedding stationery, so feel free to select something festive that resonates with your taste.

#6 Plan the menu 

If you’re serving alcohol, it’s important to offer food as well (which you can read all about in this blog post on how to make your engagement party memorable with delicious catering). For a cocktail evening, consider passed appetisers or a selection of cheeses, meats, and vegetables. If you’re hosting a backyard gathering canapes or paella are always a great option. For a more formal engagement party, a plated menu can add an elegant touch, but it doesn’t need to be an extensive five-course dinner with wine pairings.

#7 Set the atmosphere

 The theme and decor for proper engagement party etiquette can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. The main focus should be on celebrating, so choose elements that enhance the celebratory atmosphere. Candlelight always adds a warm glow, and small floral arrangements can liven up the space.

#8 Choose your outfit 

Select attire that is appropriate for the party’s setting. You’re not limited to wearing all white, as floral patterns or soft pastels can also create a beautiful look. Ensure that your partner’s attire complements yours and matches the tone of the celebration.


As always, we are here to help. If we can ever assist with an occasion, please don’t hesitate to contact us to get the ball rolling.