How Soon Should We Have an Engagement Party?

Here's how to time it just right

Updated 01/11/18

Photo by Ke-Li Photography

Congratulations, you’re engaged! There’s a lot to plan—and also a lot to celebrate. You and your partner have probably already popped some champagne and jumped for joy with your families, but an engagement deserves to be celebrated with a crowd, too! But how soon do you have an engagement party? We turned to the experts to figure out the optimal engagement party timing.

While there are all sorts of etiquette guidelines for other pre-wedding celebrations, the engagement party has the fewest restrictions, which means there is no hard-and-fast timeline for when your engagement party takes place. So if your partner (oops, we mean fiancé!) has planned a surprise engagement party for immediately after they pop the question, enjoy it! It’s never too soon to celebrate. Of course, some couples choose to get engaged in private, meaning an engagement party will take place a little later. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you (or a loved one) are planning.

Consider the Length of Your Engagement

Your engagement party should take place within a few months of your engagement, up to three months after you say “Yes!” This falls right in that sweet spot, where you’re on cloud nine with your big news, but haven’t gotten buried in wedding planning tasks. However, if you’re planning on a shorter engagement, you may want to host your engagement party within the first month so you can really focus on getting your wedding planned (and leave time for events like your bridal shower and bachelor and bachelorette parties.) For a longer engagement, feel free to spread out the celebration! Enjoy your newly engaged status for a little while in private before you have a big bash to celebrate.

Leave Time to Plan What You’re Envisioning

The amount of time before your engagement party will also depend on the type of party your hosts have in mind. If you and your partner or a friend are hosting something more low-key (think cocktails at your house or at your favorite bar or restaurant), the relaxed atmosphere doesn’t require too much planning—and therefore doesn’t need too much lead time. On the other hand, if your parents or another family member wants to mark the occasion with something more formal, the event could require a little more time to take care of all of the details. A more formal party also necessitates a longer timeline because there are often printed invitations involved—you’ll want to allow a month or so to have invitations ordered and mailed to guests!

Location, Location, Location

You can’t have an engagement party without the guests of honor! Do you live near both of your families? Putting together an engagement party on a short timeline is as easy as making sure everyone is free on the same evening.

If you and your partner live farther away from one or both of your sets of parents, you should plan your engagement party a couple of months in advance so you can take time to fly home (or fly your parents into town) for the occasion.

Plan a Few Parties

Engagement parties don’t have very many rules, which means there’s nothing limiting you to having just one. Celebrate with different groups whenever it’s convenient for you. That could mean drinks with your friends shortly after your engagement, a dinner with your parents while they’re in town, and a separate evening with your partner’s parents during their visit later. If your parents want to host engagement parties in your honor, you may find yourselves making trips to each of your hometowns. Hey, three engagement parties is better than one!

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