Usually, the bride's parents throw an engagement party for her and her fiancé a few months after the engagement. The party allows the groom's and bride's families to meet each other and gives friends and families a chance to celebrate. Since there's still an entire wedding to pay for, you may want to stick with a low budget for the engagement party.
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Hold the party at home to save on the cost of renting a venue. A home party automatically cuts down the size of the guest list, too, unless you live in a palatial mansion. An outdoor party will work well in the spring or summer, as long as you have a large enough yard or access to a public outdoor space, such as a park. You may have to rent chairs if you don't have adequate seating in your home, which can add to the cost of the party.
Keep the decorations for the party simple and cheap. A few framed pictures of the happy couple along with taper candles can serve as the centerpiece for a buffet table. Arrange cut seasonal flowers, such as pansies in the spring or sunflowers in the summer, in vases strategically placed around the house or outdoors. Keep in mind that the decorations for the party do not need to be anywhere near as lavish as the decorations for the wedding.
Appetizers or a dessert will be less expensive than serving a full meal at the party. Set up a buffet table with crudités, small quiches and other bite-sized snacks for guests to nibble on. The food doesn't have to be very formal. If the engaged couple like Buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks, go ahead and serve that at the party. For a dessert party, serve mini-cupcakes, petite fours or other cute, small pastries.
Since the purpose of an engagement party is to celebrate the couple and introduce the families, plan a few "getting to know you" icebreaker games, such as a type of BINGO, where guests have to find another guest who has a specific hobby or trait, such as collecting baseball cards. Create a BINGO grid with 25 squares on a computer and write traits or hobbies, such as "Likes to go fishing" or "Sings karaoke" in each square. Leave the center square as a free space. Give each guest a BINGO sheet and have them ask each other the hobbies or traits on the squares. Guests write their name in the square that fits them. Whoever finds someone to fit each square in a row gets BINGO. Set up an area for dancing and play music over a stereo instead of hiring a DJ or band.