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Engagement Party Etiquette

Your engagement party is a way to share and celebrate the news of your future wedding with your beloved family and friends. Traditionally the bride hosts the engagement party, but in todays modern times, the couple often plans it themselves. Here are our basics on engagement party etiquette.

When To Have It

It is always nice for the engagement party to take place soon after the engagement. They typically take place anytime within 1 week to 3 months after the engagement. This way the news and excitement is still very fresh. Although, its is a good idea to give yourself time to envision your wedding first, as you may want the style of your engagement party to be cohesive with the style of your wedding.

Who To Invite

Traditionally the rule of etiquette is that whoever is invited to the engagement party, should also be invited to the wedding. Although, as many people now have more small intimate weddings with just close friends and family, the engagement party often includes people who are not invited to, or can not make it to the wedding. Typically the families of the bride and groom are invited, close friends of the families, and any other good friends.

Formal Or Informal

How formal or informal your engagement party is is entirely up to you. Many couples often opt to hire a restaurant as their venue while others have something very casual at their own homes.


Giving gifts to the bride and groom is not customary at the engagement party although, guests will often arrive with gifts for the couple as it is part of the celebration manner of weddings. If you are creating a wedding registry, you may want to add some low to middle price ranged gifts early on as guidance for those wanting to give you a gifts at your engagement party.


The type of invitations that are sent are completely up to the couple. If your engagement party is going to take place a few week after getting engaged, it is acceptable to send out electronic invites. This could be via social media, email or even inviting your guests over the phone. If your engagement party is months away, you will have the time to mail out your invitations to your guests.

Remember The Wedding

When planning your engagement party keep in mind that you do not want to upstage the main event – your wedding. We suggest trying to create a different mood for your engagement party, while still keeping the style cohesive with the wedding to come.

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!