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Engagement Party Checklist

Flowers and Styling  by Harlow Garland for a  Formal 30th Birthday Soiree  - let us create your dream engagement party venue!

Flowers and Styling by Harlow Garland for a Formal 30th Birthday Soiree - let us create your dream engagement party venue!

The Engagement Party signifies the official start of your wedding countdown.

Ten to Eight Weeks before the Party

Agree on a Host

Traditionally, the Bride's family throws the engagement party, but often the Groom's family likes to share in the festivities by co-hosting the affair. Part of the fun of an engagement party, is letting your two families get to know each other, as well as friends or extended family you don’t often see.

Pick a Date

Generally, the engagement party is held three to four months after the proposal.

Compile a Guest List

Make sure your invitees are also on the guest list for the wedding ceremony and reception.

Register... or not.

Decide if you want to register (preferably for gifts in the low to middle range of prices – don't forget, the wedding is still to come), or include a note in the invitation kindly requesting no gifts. If guests do bring presents, wait until after the party to open them so as to not obligate or offend the other guests.

Four to Six Weeks before the Party

Send Invitations

The tone of the party should be in keeping with that of your upcoming wedding. These can be as formal as you like but the engagement party is usually a more relaxed, playful occasion.

Decide on Decorations and Centrepieces

If you wish, choose a theme that reflects you as a couple or something that reflects your two families. No need to go overboard though, the point is to celebrate your engagement. If you’ve already decided on your wedding stationery / theme motif, including it in the engagement party lends a welcome element of cohesion.

Plan a Menu

Whether your party will be held at a restaurant or a private home, you should be mindful of any allergies or food specifications of your guests.

The Week Before

Go Shopping, if Necessary

If the party will be in a home, give yourself a comfortable margin of time to buy the food, drinks, party goods or anything else you may be contributing.

Prepare the Venue

Make sure there are plenty of places for guests to sit and eat as well as an area to store gifts. For a party at someone's home, arrange to have the lawn cut and the house cleaned and be sure the air conditioning/ heat works. Let the neighbours know you will be having a party so as to preempt any complaints of disruption.

Lineup your Help

Need some extra hands to get everything done? Involve the members of your wedding party if you've already chosen them, or ask for help from willing friends and family members.


Just because it's not the main event, doesn't mean you can't go a little overboard on the decor. Especially if you're using a house, this is your chance to turn an ordinary flat or home into an opulent reception venue for your engagement party for the evening, and if it's a family home, you'll always have the memory of how beautiful it looked! Look what we did to a Remuera flat (home to 6 boys!!) in just the space of a few hours!

We'd love to help you style your home or venue for your engagement party!

Formal 30th Birthday Soiree

At Harlow Garland, we have a wealth of experience in not just weddings, but corporate events, special occasions and formal soirees like the one held recently for our Managing Director's 30th birthday.
With an affinity for the opulence of Paris and the feel of the 1920s, we came up with this formal birthday reception which mirrored a wedding reception in its formality yet breathed an air of frivolity.

Choosing a home in Remuera for the venue, we gutted the house of all furniture and turned the living room into a formal dining room for 32 guests. The mantle was dressed with a selection of brass vases and compotes and an antique look bust and finished with flowers and greenery.

We went direct to Van Lier Nurseries for the 600 white avalanche roses and to the early morning flower markets on the day to find the Hypericum berries, Succulents, Kaspea, Gentin and gypsophila (baby's breath) and to our own garden for the various grasses and ivy.
Printed linen invitations, a formal dress code and a tonne of glitter rounded out the evening and created a memorable atmosphere.

This lady in black and gold is Rhonnie, our Managing Director - the Remuera Library is one of her favourite buildings and so it was only natural, that we'd head there for the afternoon to shoot around the amazing building to capture this milestone with Lene from Lene Photography before heading back to the venue to meet with the videographers.

We were so impressed with the video of the event by Alex & Victoria Mitchell who were near invisible the entire night but managed to expertly capture the elegance and atmosphere of the event through their lens.

Check out the video on our Videos tab and further images in our homepage galleries!