The ring has been purchased, the date has been set and, most importantly, you're in love. For most brides- and grooms-to-be, the engagement period is a flurry of activities, emotions and planning.
While many people put all their celebration eggs into the wedding day basket, the engagement itself is party-worthy all on its own.
Weddings have come a long way from the days when the bride's mother did the majority of the planning, including who to invite and what type of punch to serve at the reception.
Now, more couples are doing most of the wedding planning themselves, though chances are good their parents will still influence some of the details.
That’s another reason why holding an engagement party is such a great idea: It’s an opportunity for you to plan a party that's all about you, your fiancé and what you two like.
With the arrival of warmer weather, backyard engagement parties are a great way to host a fun and festive event that celebrates your commitment to each another.
As a bonus, a backyard party or summer party is typically pretty low-key and easy to plan. With a wedding coming up, you'll likely want to keep the engagement party as simple as possible.
If you don't have a large enough backyard, you'll have to ask friends or family members to use their backyard for a few hours. Rather than borrow several card tables from a bunch of friends, it’s easier just to rent tables and chairs from a local party supply store, if you can afford to do so.
As for the invitations, you can buy postcards online that feature a recent photo of the couple on the front and the party details on the back. This is a great idea for couples who plan to send out engagement photos anyway.
OvernightPrints.com features a selection of postcards in different sizes, and if you want to include something in addition to your photo, TheKnot.com has some terrific ideas. For instance, the bride- and groom-to-be can stamp their thumbs side-by-side in the shape of a heart—now how cute is that?
When thinking about decorations or a theme, it's not necessary to spend a lot of money. Focus on something that makes you both so special.
For example, if you met at a basketball game, place an inexpensive basketball in the center of each table along with some Sharpies, and ask the guests to sign the ball with their well wishes.
Or if hiking is your thing, consider a pair of clean and well aired-out hiking boots as a centerpiece, filled with wildflowers.
Food and Drink
Of course, no party would be complete without delicious food and beverages. Since it’s an outdoor party, grilling is an easy and tasty option.
To help you determine how much of everything to buy, RealSimple.com features an easy-to-use party food and beverage calculator. Catering is also an option, if your budget allows it. Whatever you decide to serve, don't forget the cake. Above all, have fun.