How to Plan an Outdoor Engagement Party

two women admiring another's engagement ring outdoors

An engagement party is a celebratory event held to announce and celebrate a couple’s recent engagement with family and friends, and everyone gathers to offer their congratulations and well-wishes. This gathering can be as simple as a backyard barbecue or as elaborate as a black-tie event, and typically includes food, drinks and activities. Planning an outdoor engagement party can be a wonderful way to celebrate in a natural and relaxed setting. Here are some ideas to help you start planning.

What Happens at an Engagement Party? 

An engagement party is just like it sounds, a party thrown to celebrate a couple’s engagement. Traditionally, engagement parties are hosted by the bride’s parents, but really anyone can throw an engagement party. Some couples even choose to throw their own celebration. It’s best to throw your engagement party soon after you get engaged, as there are many other festivities along the way, so it’s great to spread them out. This is the first of many celebrations; next comes a bridal shower, followed by a bachelor and/or bachelorette party, and then the main wedding event.

The engaged couple usually begins the event by making a formal announcement of their engagement which may include a short speech or toast expressing their joy and gratitude. Following that, guests may also offer toasts to the couple. Much of the engagement party revolves around socializing. Guests mingle, chat, and get to know each other, especially if the couple’s families or friend groups are meeting for the first time. It’s a great opportunity for the couple’s loved ones to connect and build relationships. Depending on the venue and the couple’s preferences, there may also be music and dancing at the party.

Engagement parties often include food and drinks, which can range from a casual buffet or barbecue to a formal sit-down dinner or cocktail party. Some engagement parties incorporate games or activities to entertain guests and add to the festivities. These can be lighthearted and fun, such as trivia about the couple or a photo booth with props. While gifts are not mandatory, some guests may choose to bring engagement gifts or cards for the couple. These gifts are typically smaller and more focused on celebrating the engagement. 

How to Plan an Outdoor Engagement Party

Congratulations, you’re engaged, now it’s time to kick off the wedding celebrations with a bang! An engagement party is the perfect way to share this exciting news and get family and friends together to commemorate your forthcoming union. The first step to throwing a party is to decide who’s hosting. Whether it’s you and your partner, your siblings, your BFF, or your partner’s family, just about anyone can plan (and pay for) the celebration. Then determine a budget which will also help you pick a party theme and decide on other aspects.

Hosting an outdoor engagement party can offer several benefits that can make the celebration memorable and enjoyable for the engaged couple and their guests. Outdoor settings usually provide a stunning backdrop with natural beauty, whether it’s a garden, beach, park or backyard. The beauty of nature can enhance the overall atmosphere, theme and decor. Outdoor venues tend to create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere, and offer more room to accommodate larger guest lists or creative seating arrangements. Keep the seasons in mind when choosing a date for your party and try to have an indoor backup plan if the weather doesn’t cooperate. 

Once you’ve chosen your venue and date, it’s time to create a guest list and send out invitations. It’s a good idea to keep the engagement party more intimate and only invite those who will be at the wedding and be sure to make it clear that the event is outdoors so guests can plan accordingly. As your RSVPs come in, plan your menu, decide if you’ll need any additional decor and choose your outfits for the first of many celebrations you’ll be enjoying together leading up to the big ceremony. 

Keep in mind that outdoor events can come with challenges, such as weather and the need for additional planning like seating and catering. Having a contingency plan and considering the weather conditions in your region is crucial when planning an outdoor engagement party. If you’re looking for engagement party venues in Hershey PA, consider Historic Acres. Our stunning property features three spaces for events including indoor and outdoor options and can accommodate small and large groups. Contact our team to plan your event.