Traditionally, it is the task of the bride's parents to stage the couple's engagement soiree. The groom's parents can then throw their own party, or both sets of parents can join together to host the fete. The celebrations usually take the form of either an informal meal; a cocktail session at home; or dinner at a restaurant. If both sets of parents have never met, consider a pre-party get-together for an ice-breaking session. Suggest a meeting at a restaurant or whip up some bites at home and invite your families over (if either or both your parents are divorced, the people who raised each of you should meet first).
An increasing number of couples are taking the lead and hosting their own engagement parties without the parents. Or, they'll arrange for a separate event especially for the parents and relatives for the following reasons: Many of your friends may not be invited to your parent-hosted soiree because majority of the guests will be family and their friends; there's limited space; or the fact your friends don't know your parents well and may feel uncomfortable to let their hair down to celebrate your auspicious moment.
Your best friend or colleagues who are close to you can equally do the honours. On your part, be sure to thank the people who throw you a soiree with a nice note and flowers soon after the event. Most importantly, don't forget to have fun and bask in your newly engaged bliss!
Type of engagement do’s:
Instead of the usual cocktail affair or a round at the pub, consider having it alfresco, as this will save you the cost of hotel or restaurant.
Backyard barbecue - Nothing promotes conversation better than an open grill. Place members from each family with alternate seating to encourage them to mingle.
Outdoor activity - A friendly game of basketball or any outdoor game with a picnic is an excellent icebreaker. Each team should be an equal mix of the bride's and groom's crew.
Pot luck & BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) - Perfect for a party of close friends. Have everyone bring a specialty of theirs with a bottle of wine each. Being with people you love will add to the comfort of the celebration. Not to mention you won't be bothered about the rules of fine dining.
Other ways to pare down costs:
Deformalise the food: Serve up casual low-cost finger foods. You don't need an expensive caterer to co-ordinate a royal dinner, instead ask close friends to help out with the prep work instead. If they're good friends, they'll be more than willing to help. That is what friends are for, right?
Skip the main course: Plan a cocktail party instead - appetisers, fruit juices and martinis only. Another great, economical alternative: A dessert-only party.
Cut loose: Turn the celebration into a night out on the town. After the first round of cocktails at a favourite bar, hand out disposable cameras, compile the candid pictures taken in a scrap book and hand it over to your mate as a special wedding memento from the girls.