When a happy couple gets engaged, they want to share the news with the world. They call their friends and family. They post it on social media. They might even call the local paper and issue an announcement. After a week or so, they may still be in the glow but is that reason enough to throw an engagement party when, realistically, they are now in the throes of planning the biggest party of all? Yes. However, there are also other, more practical reasons as well.
1. Dying or Elderly Relatives. Weddings take a long time to plan. The average wedding usually occurs between 12 and 24 months from the date of the engagement. If a relative is in a situation where it is possible or even likely that they will not be around for the big day, celebrate now. The engagement party does not have to be nearly as big, elaborate or expensive as a wedding. It should, however, include all of the important people in the bride and groom's life.
2. Gifts. It is tacky to throw an engagement party in the hopes of making money in gifts to pay for the wedding. However, if some friends and relatives are generous enough to gift the couple with money, that will certainly help toward the costs of the larger affair. Don't expect it but be grateful that it is a possible added bonus. In order to assuage any accusations of greed or tackiness, be sure to include on the invitation that the gift of each guest's company at this special time is the point of the party.
3. Sets the Tone for the Wedding. If certain people are invited to the engagement party, they know they will be invited to the wedding. The engagement party serves to set the core list of invitees. It can also set the tone in terms of more surface details such as color theme and design elements (for example, black and gray damask used on engagement party invitations, cocktail napkins and cake can be carried through to the wedding invitations, napkins and cake, etc.). Also, the engagement party is the perfect time to come up with a wedding hashtag that will be used for all of wedding-related events on social media (for example, #JillTedWed)
4. Meet the Family. Relatives who have not yet met can do so now before the big, and oftentimes hectic and stressful, day. The engagement party is far more relaxed than the day of the wedding when everyone is trying to get ready, get pictures taken, dance and have a memorable time.
5. Fun. On the day of the wedding, it is important to greet all of the guests. This is often time-consuming and exhausting but essential and good-mannered. Engagement parties are less formal and more centered on the joy of the moment. So, enjoy it!
When the idea of an engagement party is broached, it is often met with "How tacky." "Why?" "Too many events on top of bridal shower and bachelorette party too." However, those are all happy events. There should be more happy events. There are enough funerals. If that is not reason enough, there is the list above.