Planning an engagement party: what to keep in mind

While planning our engagement party, I was surprised to realise that there is a little bit more organizing that goes into a party like this than what I had expected! Getting quotes for various venues, organising the guest list, deciding on the décor, designing the invitations – just a few of the things I’ve had to think about. I soon realised that planning an engagement party can get out of hand quickly, and that cost of the party can escalate if you aren’t careful! I’ve learned my fair share about planning an engagement party, and I wanted to share some ideas with you on how to plan an engagement party.


Before you start planning, make sure you know what the budget is for the party. I found that the best way to get a realistic idea of what the budget should be was to contact venues I liked to get a quote from each one. This helped me to set a realistic budget. To cut down on the cost of the party, consider having it as home, or ask your parents if they’d be prepared to help you by hosting the party. Make sure that they know that you and your fiancé will clean up after the party, as it would be unfair to leave them with a huge mess afterwards! If you decide to do this, keep in mind that you may have to hire some extra glasses, crockery and cutlery.

Guest List

Once you have set the budget, sit down with your partner and finalise the guest list. If you’re planning an engagement party on a tight budget, keep the party small and intimate. There are no rules when it comes to planning wedding events, so don’t feel that you have to invite everyone that you’re planning to invite to your wedding! If you want to have a small, fuss-free engagement party, invite your close friends and family only.


When choosing a venue, think about the the space you’ll need to create an event that reflects who you and your partner are as a couple. If you’re a relaxed, easy going couple, maybe you’d like to have a braai at home, or maybe you’d like to have a cocktail party at a hotel or guest house. A great venue option to consider if you’d like to keep your costs down is to hire a coffee shop for an evening party. Because they are closed in the evenings, they don’t lose profit, and venue hire is often cheaper than other venues.

Food and Drinks

This can be a difficult one, because the question is, how much do you provide, and how much do you expect your guests to do for themselves? The best thing to do is provide your guests with food, and have a cash bar, as drinks can become an expensive item to provide. If you’d still like to give your guests something to drink, ask the venue if you can have jugs of water with glasses available on the table.

If you’d like the catering to be done by the venue, find out whether they offer platters, or if they have a set menu. Ask if you can bring your own cake or cupcakes, as this is one way to keep your costs down.

And At the end of the day

It’s your day! Do what you feel works best for you and your partner. The best piece of advice I can offer is this – don’t spend a ridiculous amount of money on an engagement party. The purpose of an engagement party is to celebrate the beginning of your new journey together. Save the money you’d spend on an engagement party for the wedding. Find ways to make your engagement party unique and your own – without having to break the bank.

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