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Planning an Engagement Party on a Budget

So, you just got engaged and are ready to start planning your engagement party. Your wedding will be one of the most expensive events you will probably ever throw. You’ll want your engagement party to give your close friends and family a taste of what to expect at your wedding. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that your engagement party doesn’t need to cost as much as your wedding and we will tell you why. This is a much smaller event than your wedding. The guest list is smaller, the venue will be smaller, and pretty much everything else will be much more toned down than at your actual wedding.

Before you get too stressed having to plan your engagement party, we have some tips that will help you reduce costs. 

What Do You Do At An Engagement Party?

Think of your engagement party as a pre-wedding celebration. Before you go to an event, it’s common to get together with the people you will be attending the event with. This is what your engagement party is for your wedding.

You are having a pre-celebration with your immediate friends and family that will most likely be in the wedding party. This is where everyone gets excited for the big day before all the actual stress from planning the wedding kicks in. 

Who Is Invited To An Engagement Party?

Often, the people invited to an engagement party are your close friends and family. It will include people coming to the wedding. Inviting someone to your engagement party but not your wedding may cause some feelings to get hurt. But, inviting someone to the wedding and not the engagement party, isn’t a big deal. 

Staying On Budget At Your Engagement Party

A wedding isn’t just one event, there are several events that lead up to it. The engagement party, the bachelor and bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and the actual wedding. These costs add up quickly. With that being said we have come up with some ideas to help you throw a budget-friendly engagement party. 

Simple Decor 

You want your engagement party to be welcoming and a little more laid-back than your actual wedding. After all, it is just a glimpse of what your wedding will be like. Decor doesn’t need to put your indebt. So, think simple, clean, and easy. All you really need is nice lighting, a few flower arrangements, and maybe a backdrop for photos.

You can easily DIY your decor for your engagement party. If you buy faux plants for flower arrangements or a backdrop, you can save them and find ways to include them in your wedding. Or, you can just rent a backdrop. 

Food & Beverages

Food and drinks will most likely be the most costly part of your engagement party. With that in mind, try to keep it simple. If you are serving alcohol, try to stick to wine and beer as it is more affordable. Are you only serving small bites? Host your party before dinner or after dinner time. This way people don’t get too hungry and it may help reduce waste. 

You can get creative with your food choices as well. Frozen foods are easy to prepare, are relatively cheap, and are easy to clean up.


This isn’t your bridal shower or bachelor party, no one will expect too many activities. However, if you want more than conversation, there are some easy and cheap activities you can offer your guests. Trivia games about the couple, having a sports game on in the back, or including karaoke can help to entertain your guests. 

Toasts & Gifts

Toasts and gifts are not expected at an engagement party. It isn’t a rule if someone wants to toast the couple, but no speeches are necessary. Additionally, gifts are also not obligated for an engagement party. If your guests do show up with gifts, keep them to the side and open them at the end of the night.

Ideas For a Budget-Friendly Engagement Party

Ok, now that we have covered what is expected at an engagement party and how you can stay within your budget, let’s check out some budget-friendly ideas. 

A Backyard Engagement Party

This is a very cost-effective idea for an engagement party. Avoid renting a venue and utilize a friend or family member with a nice backyard. When it comes to a backyard engagement party, there are endless opportunities to get creative. 

Throw a low-key BBQ with lawn games and the game going in the background. Alternatively, plan a semi-formal cocktail party with hanging lights. Serve your favorite snacks or get the event catered since you’re saving money on a venue. 

Brunch Engagement Party

Everyone loves brunch. But, it’s also an easy way to save money on the venue and on alcohol costs. Brunch is more affordable than dinner but still feels elegant and fun. You can make a reservation at a restaurant, or even cook it yourself with the help of some friends or family. 

Set up a mimosa or bloody mary station for your guests. Include brunch staples like pancakes, fruit, eggs, toast, and whatever else you’d like to feature. If you are looking to save even more, make it a brunch potluck. 

Picnic Engagement Party

If your backyard isn’t big enough, try taking your engagement party to a local park. You’ll have to bring all your own equipment like plates, utensils, food, drinks, etc. It will give everyone the opportunity to spread out and enjoy the outdoors. 

Small Gathering At a Local Venue or Bar

Are you forgoing all food and just looking to have your friends and family come to meet you at a venue? Call your favorite bar and ask them if they do buy-outs for a few hours or if they are able to hold a large group for an engagement party. There are many places that will require you to have a minimum spend which can be food or drinks. Some will ask you to rent the space and pay for what you order. But, It is an easy and less stressful way to host an engagement party. 

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