Monday 8 April 2013

Engagement Party

I've been reading a lot about engagement parties: to have or not to have. The answer to this is simple: HAVE ONE.

My parents very generously announced their desire to host a party for us at the family home. In the past, family parties have often been hosted elsewhere (church hall and rugby club) but last year my parents had an extension built - now known as the FEB, (F***ing Expensive Bit). It comprises a kitchen and orangery and is a stunning addition to the house. Well done, Ma and Pa.

Mam and Dad took to organising the event with gusto. Remember that your families and friends will be excited and eager to be involved with your preparations and, if you're the bride, an engagement party is a wonderful way for your parents to feel like they're a big part of your wedding. Of course times have changed and etiquette no longer demands that the bride's parents host this party, but I recommend you hark back to tradition on this one.

The invitations were sent (isn't it lovely to receive a real life invitation and not a Facebook imitation?) to 40 guests. My mam and grandma cooked the majority of the food - my uncle even cooked a salmon! Caterers were drafted in for other bits and bobs.

Mam decorated The FEB with bunting, fairy lights and balloons and made a cake. Dad created his play list and bought barrels of beer.

The evening was a wonderful mix of northern family and friends. Dad's speech made me tear up - and his entirely accidental slip "no father ever imagines his little girl will be good enough for any man" set the tone for a very merry occasion.


  1. Traditionally the bride's parents should organise the event and it's a lovely way to involve your parents. If this is not possible - say, if you live away - organise your own, or do as we did and have an extra low-key get together with friends nearby.
  2. Send out invitations! You could make them yourselves or buy lovely ones. Guests will appreciate the effort. Expect RSVPs.
  3. Inform guests of the nature of the party - 'party' should suggest that some food will be provided, but some people are often unclear. Make some sort of reference to 'drinks and buffet' or 'buffet reception and dancing'.
  4. Have a cake. No one makes cake like Mam.
  5. Don't expect gifts. If some guests bring them, put the gifts somewhere to be opened later. This is to avoid embarrassing those who do not bring presents. You'll no doubt find that most people bring you something, so make a note of the present to make writing your thank you cards easier.
  6. Mingle. You should ensure you speak to everybody there - avoid being monopolised by anyone.
  7. Buy or present a gift to the organisers/helpers, but present these before or after the party. Doing this during transforms the party into an awards ceremony and may cause embarrassment.

And lastly: smile, laugh and enjoy yourself.

What did I wear?

View the engagement party as a practice-run for your wedding. All eyes will be on the bride and so you and your groom-to-be should be the best dressed there (aren't you always?). Think Kate Middleton in THAT Issa dress.

My engagement ring is made of sapphires and diamonds and is based on an Edwardian design. Therefore I wanted my dress to compliment it, while also looking wonderful.

I found perfection in Charlotte Casadejus' 'Sofia' dress. Charlotte is an extremely talented designer and I'm desperate to try her exquisite Maimuna dress. She successfully captures elements of vintage designs and transforms them into effortlessly chic and chaacterful creations. These are dresses you just know you're going to have wonderful memories of wearing and your daughter will be so glad you kept them.

As an owner of THAT (beautiful) Issa dress, I can honestly say that this dress was so much better. Sorry K-Middz.

Sofia                                                     Maimuna


I accessorised the dress with the blue Paris shoes, antique sapphire earrings which my fiance bought for me two Christmases ago and a gold and diamond bracelet. The bracelet has particular significance in that it was bought by late grandfather who died when I was 11. His intention was to give it to me for my 18th birthday (which my grandma did). I think sentimental jewelry is the best accessory.

If you're having an engagement party, I'd love to hear about it!

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