Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life. You are probably over the moon and can't wait to celebrate your impending nuptials with your family and friends. Before you dive headfirst into wedding planning, an engagement party is a great way to kick off the festivities.
After purchasing the engagement ring and setting your wedding budget, it may seem frivolous to spend money on another event, but throwing an epic engagement party doesn't have to break the bank!
Read on for our tips on how to throw the engagement party of your dreams on a budget.
Engagement Party Ideas
1. Keep it intimate
Traditional etiquette states that your engagement party guest list should only include those who are also invited to the wedding, but not everyone who will be attending the wedding is required to be invited to the engagement party.
Inviting only your closest family and friends to your engagement party is a great way to make your event feel extra special while cutting costs. Having fewer guests at the party will allow you to spend more quality time with each person. Out-of-town guests may even appreciate not having to travel for the event, and will be happy to join you for the big day to come.
2. Send out digital invitations
Image credit: Leone Venter
Save on stamps and printing costs with digital party invitations. Sites like Joy are free and allow you to design your own custom wedding website, along with matching digital invitations for multiple events. Guests can check your wedding website site periodically for any event updates. Digital invitations are also eco-friendly and they make it extremely easy to keep track of RSVPs.
3. Throw a garden party
Venue hire is one of the highest costs associated with throwing any type of party. It may take a little extra planning, but throwing a garden party in your own backyard can save you thousands.
If you don't have the space at your home, consider asking a family member if they would let you host the party at their house. You also may be able to reserve a space at your local park for little to no money.
4. Give old decorations a second life
Image credit: Mohau Mannathoko
A great way to save money and the planet is to reuse party decorations. Do you have a friend who has recently thrown an engagement party or got married? Ask if you can borrow their previously used decor for the day.
Another option is to check your local thrift shop or second hand store. You can find beautiful glassware, candles and votives to be repurposed as elegant table settings.
Try joining a local swap and sell or wedding group on Facebook. Many couples are looking to pass on their lightly used items for a small price or may be willing to give them away for free. Once the party is over, return the favour and pass the decorations on to another couple.
5. Buy food in bulk
Whether you choose to go with an outside caterer or prepare the food at home, serving family or buffet-style over individual plates can save you money, and guests can pick what they want to eat and how much. Be sure to buy local, in-season produce for extra savings.
If you're handy in the kitchen, cook the food yourself. It may sound overwhelming to cook for a party but you can enlist the help of friends and cook over the week. You can even freeze main dishes and defrost the day before.
6. Consider the time of day
Image credit: Brooke Lark
Hosting your engagement party between meal times can save you a considerable amount on catering. Time your party after dinner or in the morning before lunch. Rather than providing a substantial sit-down meal, you can serve light nibbles or roving canapés—giving your guests more opportunity to move around and mingle.
If you're hosting the party later in the evening, a candy bar is a unique option for feeding your guests. Purchase a few different types of candy in bulk and display them on a long table in bowls. Sprinkle some confetti and small decorations across the table for a festive look.
Be sure to let your guests know what's on the menu in advance so that they don't turn up hungry!
7. Keep your bar menu simple
Forgo spirits to cut costs on the bar tab. Sticking to beer, wine and champagne will cater to most guests' tastes while saving you money.
If you're keen on having cocktails, pick your favourite spirit and add one signature drink to the bar menu for the evening.
8. Save on your look
Image credit: Randy Novantino
If you view pre-wedding events as an opportunity to get dressed up and show off your personal style—no need to fret—you can still look great on a budget. This is another opportunity to utilise Facebook Groups or check out clothing resale apps such as Depop and Poshmark. Brides and grooms often post their worn-once outfits for sale and you can snag a great deal.
Rather than hiring a makeup artist to come to your home, head to the makeup counter at your local mall. Makeup counters often let you cover the costs of having your makeup done by purchasing products, so you can recreate the look over and over again.
Throwing a budget-friendly engagement party is easier than you think
Hosting a party can get expensive fast, but putting a little extra thought and creativity into the planning means you can have an incredible engagement party on any budget. From invitations to your menu (or lack of) and your outfits—you can save money every step of the way. Time to pop the bubbly and celebrate!