Throw an amazing, but affordable, engagement party
BY CATEY HILL
Whether you and your fiancé are throwing yourselves an engagement party or you’re hoping to give your BFF the engagement party of her dreams, the party can get expensive – fast. From the drinks to the food to the invitations, many engagement parties end up costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: savvy spenders can throw a festive engagement party on a shoestring budget.
The first thing to remember is that the wedding itself is the main event (and that’s what most guests will remember anyway!), so you don’t have to go all out for the engagement party. (Believe me, you’ll want that extra money to put towards the wedding!) Consider having a more low-key affair at your home or your parents’ home. You’ll save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by not renting out a venue for it. Here are five more ways to save big on the engagement party:
Make a budget – and stick to it
Before you spend a dime on the party, make a budget. First, determine how much you are willing to spend on the party: How much do you already have saved for it or how much can you realistically save in time for the party? Then, list out every element of the party (food, drinks, decor, music, invitations, etc.) and what it will cost. Cut any unnecessary items (do you really need to hire a DJ when your iPhone and some speakers will work just fine?) until you’re within your budget. Be sure to add in a little wiggle room in your budget (I usually increase the budget by 10%) for unexpected expenses
Make it an intimate affair
While your guest list for the wedding will likely be big, you needn’t invite everyone you are inviting to the wedding to the engagement party. Instead, consider hosting a more intimate affair with just your family and close friends. This will help cut down on food and drink costs and make having the party in your or your parents’ home a viable option.
Opt for drinks and hors ‘d’oeuvres
Guests don’t necessarily expect a big sit-down dinner for an engagement party, so you can easily get away with just serving drinks and a few finger foods, especially if you start the party a little later in the evening when people have already had dinner (just make sure you’re clear on the invitation that dinner will not be served). Pass around between three and five hors ‘d’oeuvres and serve a few drinks, beer and wine and you’ve got a lovely party for a relatively low cost. To cut costs even further, don’t serve alcohol and make the event a potluck where everyone brings a finger food.
Don’t go crazy on the decor
While it’s tempting to deck the party spot out with flowers, these can be very pricey. Instead, opt for something inexpensive and simple like strands of white lights or small votive candles – both of which give the room a romantic flair. For more festive decor, consider brightly colored balloons or streamers, which you can likely find for next to nothing at your town’s dollar store.