Popping the question? It’s a big deal! More and more couples are choosing to share their excitement with friends and family. The wedding day may be months or even years away and happy couples want to celebrate their commitment sooner. One way to do that is by throwing a backyard engagement party. Keep reading to learn more about how to throw a backyard engagement party with our engagement party tips.
Guest List and Invitations
Planning your outside engagement party starts with the guest list. You and your fiance will have to decide on the number of guests you’d like to invite and also what your budget will allow. Once you’ve decided on a guest list, you’ll need to think about invitations. If all of your friends and family are on social media, you can send invitations and RSVP online - saving yourselves a lot of time and money.
You’ve got your guest list and sent out the invitations. Don’t take any chances on the weather. Event tents will help ensure that your guests are comfortable no matter what Mother Nature decides to do on your big day. You’ll want to talk to an experienced tent vendor who can help you decide what kind of tent will work best for your backyard engagement party.
If you’re planning a romantic evening engagement party, then lighting will be an important consideration. Candles provide timeless, elegant, and always flattering lighting. Your photographer can take advantage of the candlelight for intimate photo opportunities. If you use real candles, be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby for safety. Otherwise, if wind or other concerns prohibit the use of real candles, battery-operated candles can be surprisingly realistic and affordable.
An engagement party is all about the future bride and groom…but it’s still a party! Creating a playlist curated from the couples’ favorite tunes will definitely help personalize the event. You could ask guests to choose songs from their first wedding dance or first date or even songs that remind them of the couple. Be sure to include the older generations and them about their special romantic song favorites. Just make sure to mix up the tempo; romantic slow songs are great…to a point. Throw in some upbeat dance tunes as well to keep your party lively and fun.
A well-groomed backyard makes decorating your outdoor engagement party much easier. Depending on the time of year, you may have flowers blooming providing a beautiful, natural backdrop. Add some simple centerpiece decorations using inexpensive dollar store vases and fresh cuts from the flower garden. For fun, set up a small table with photos of the future married couple. Customized balloons with the wedding date or couples’ names would also add a nice touch. If the budget is small, just use balloons that are the couples’ favorite colors.
Menu and Beverages
Save the formal sit down dinner for the wedding reception! This is a backyard party and that calls for simple, casual food. Round up the grill master in the group and put together a menu fit for an outdoor feast. Favorites include:
- Corn on the cob
- Potato salad
Shish Kabobs can be assembled ahead of time and easily tossed on the grill when guests are ready for some grub. Fresh, cut up seasonal fruit in decorative bowls are both delicious and decorative additions to the tables. Be sure to provide options for vegan or vegetarian guests, such as veggie burgers and salads. If you are expecting young guests, assemble peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ahead of time to keep hangry little bellies full. Drinks can be simple with coolers filled with your guests’ favorite adult beverages along with non-alcoholic options for children or those who choose to abstain.
Be sure to let your guests know ahead of time that you want their “presence” not “presents” at your engagement party. They can save those for the bridal shower! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have party favors. Centerpieces are often the easiest and most cost-effective party favors. Encourage guests to take home a centerpiece. Or set out small bags of chocolate hearts or kisses for guests. Children are always more than happy to take home balloons.
For a fun and wonderful backyard engagement party, be sure to plan some games! Traditional outdoor games include:
- Ladder toss
- Scavenger hunt
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, plan for games you can play under the wedding tent. Couples trivia, charades, and bingo are fun choices for all ages. You also could put together a word scramble with words that are associated with the bride and groom. Or, ask guests to write down advice for the couple and date night ideas.