When Ryan and I got engaged, his parents asked us if we wanted an engagement party. Truthfully, I thought it would end up being something similar to a birthday party. We had already told our friends and family after Ryan asked me and then went right into wedding planning. I cannot tell you how wrong I was! The party ended up being one of the best and most special days of my life. It’s so important to take time and really celebrate your relationship without all of the chaos of wedding planning.
It doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money to throw something special together either! Here’s how our backyard engagement party came together (plus a few tips to keep in mind):
Instead of a venue, we opted to have it in Ryan’s parents backyard. My parents flew in from Kentucky the day before and we all stayed at the house and set up together. We rented a tent, tables, and chairs that way regardless of weather, we could fit everyone outside. It was raining the entire week, but we caught a break and had the most beautiful sunny day! My dad + Ryan installed their first balloon garland that I made the night before (I’m so proud)!
Decor: we picked up two bouquets + 1 filler flower from Costco then I reassembled them into smaller arrangements for the tables. Each table got a different tablecloth so when all together under the tent looked like a rainbow. PS definitely buy those tablecloth clips to keep everything in place with the wind! I regret not having 4 for each table.
Food: we had BBQ! Instead of doing the grilling ourselves (we had over 50 people at the party), we hired someone to come in and grill everything up. Did you know you could have a catered BBQ because I didn’t! That was the main expense but was SO worth it so that we could be part of the party and not have to worry about hostess duties. For dessert, we got a plain white sheet cake from Costco and I made a sprinkle stencil to decorate it. Simple and delicious!
A few things to keep in mind when throwing your own party:
1. Send an invite as ask for an RSVP by a specific date (important if you need a headcount for food + drink). We sent an e-vite for the party and that allowed us to track guests and send a reminder. Plus it saved on money/postage!
2. When planning the guest list, invite people that are 100% being invited to the wedding. These are the friends and family that will be with you on your wedding journey.
3. Don’t wait until the last minute to order your tent + food. Our party was in May and lined up with graduations, communions, etc so we ordered them as soon as we picked a date. Send your invites out early too to get an estimated headcount so you know how many seats you’ll need.
4. Register for a few items before the event. Chances are people will want to give you a gift to celebrate so even if your registry is small, it will help them know your style.
5. Don’t stress too much about the decor details. I know that might be surprising but it’s true! Could I have made 100 DIYS and spent time photographing them? Of course. But sometimes it’s best to keep it simple so you can savor the moment and the people.
So that’s the party! Happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments!
PS We now have less than a year until the wedding! It’s going so fast!