55 Unique Engagement Party Ideas to Kick Off Your Wedding Journey

Think outside the box with fun, creative ways to celebrate your engagement

Updated 01/03/19
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Photo by Taylor Abeel

You've got the ring and the partner of your dreams, so now it's time to pop the bubbly and celebrate. While you can't go wrong with a classic engagement party, we know you’re looking for a way to make your own celebration unique. So we've rounded up 55 unique engagement party ideas that share fun facets of your relationship with your friends and family. Whether you’re movie buffs, art aficionados, sports lovers, or just love an excuse to wear a good costume, you'll find plenty of creative engagement party ideas that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

1. Movie Night

Rent a projector and turn your engagement into a real life rom-com with an outdoor movie theater-themed party that's bound to be a box office hit. Sunny Ravanbach, president of White Lilac Events, recommends screening montage edits of your favorite moments as a couple. "Also, be sure to have care packages for guests on hand including all the classic cinema treats. Think popcorn, Kit Kat bars, Sour Patch Kids, and Twizzlers," he says. Don't forget the 21-and-over beverages either.

2. Throw a Luau

Bride-to-be Reynaley Buenaventura was inspired to throw a luau for her engagement party by her fiancé’s surprise proposal in Honolulu. “I wore a Hawaiian print dress, and so did my fiancé’s daughter," she says. "We both wore flowers in our hair. The guests got into the spirit by wearing leis. We served traditional Hawaiian dishes including egg rolls, pineapple upside down cake, and kabobs.” Decorate an outdoor space with bright flowers and tropical décor. Pineapples will make for perfect table centerpieces. Make a Hawaiian playlist and add a Tiki bar and you’re good to go!

Photo by Chris J. Evans

3. A Suite Sporting Event

Cheer on your favorite professional or college team and toast to your engagement at the same time. Reserving a suite at a sporting event is surprisingly affordable, especially considering the fact that food and beverages are often included in many packages, points out Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events. "The event will be casual allowing a lot of interaction among guests, and the game will keep things interesting all night," she says. "To really save on this idea, plan it on a weekday night, which works great for baseball and basketball games."

4. Roller Derby

Channel your inner kid and kick off your newly-engaged status with an adults-only disco party at your local roller skating rink. Rent out the place, hire a great DJ, and ask everyone to dress in their best '70s look, advises Ravanbach. You can't go wrong with classic tunes, retro outfits, pizza, and four-wheeled fun.

5. Pay Homage to Your First Date

Share a bit of your romance’s history with your friends and family. Hold your party at the location where you first met or where you got engaged. You can even turn an inside joke into a party theme. Did you first set eyes on him when your cars were stuck side-by-side in a traffic jam? How about inviting your pals to a bumper-car rink? Yours can be an event for your memory book. If you met on a dating site, you can pay homage to that, too. Let’s say you met on the app Coffee Meets Bagel—why not serve coffee and gourmet bagels at a brunch buffet? Make it witty.

6. All-American Picnic

An engagement party doesn't have to be a stodgy affair. The old-fashioned, Americana-inspired backyard shindig can be a perfect way to celebrate. Decorate the trees with streamers, unfurl mini flags for your table centerpieces, and artistically place your condiments in a small picnic basket in the middle of the table. Don't forget the classic touches: potato salad, chips, bottled beer—and music by Bruce Springsteen, of course.

Photo by KT Merry; Design by Lisa Vorce

7. Bowling Alley Affair

Invite your friends and family them to bowl a few games in celebration of your big news. Notify the alley in advance to ask for super-special treatment, like customized soundtrack, lighting, or culinary options. Talk about a unique party theme. When's the last time you went an engagement party at a bowling alley?

8. Throwback Sock Hop

Gear up for your impending vows with a 1950s sock hop. Rent a jukebox so your guests can scroll through the playlist to find the perfect songs for the happy occasion. Options for the sock hop setting can range from your parents' finished basement to a private room in a restaurant. Don’t forget to advise guests of the period-inspired dress code, and you can even give a prize to your favorite outfit.

9. Wine and Cheese Tasting

Toast in style with a wine and cheese party. Highlight certain cheeses and their complementary wines on small tables decorated with strewn flowers or elegant linens. Let your guests sample Brie with Beaujolais, Stilton with port, and Gouda with Riesling—just like you and your partner, they’re all perfect pairs. If Champagne is your preference, you can't go wrong with strong cheeses alongside appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe. As you sip and savor, everyone can share your joy.

10. Dessert Party

If you've got a sweet tooth, paradise is a dessert party. Create a little piece of heaven-on-earth with a white-chocolate macadamia-nut cheesecake, strawberries, and truffles. Serve up a selection of dessert wines, such as Tawny Port, Riesling, and Sauternes, as well as typical after-dinner beverages such as espresso, coffee, and tea. You can always send the men off with Scotch and a cigar.

Phil Chester

11. Famous Couples Costume Party

Here's another one of our favorite unique engagement party ideas: Invite your guests to dress up as famous couples for a fun twist on a traditional engagement party, says Tessa Lyn Brand, owner of Tessa Lyn Events. From Romeo and Juliet to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, guests can really have fun getting into character.

12. Art Gallery Party

Roll out the red carpet and premiere your engagement photos with an art gallery opening party. Planner Donnie Brown of Donnie Brown Weddings and Events, suggests blowing up your engagement photos to poster size and having them mounted on foam core. "You can then display them around your event space on easels with spot lighting," he says. "This creates wonderful décor and inspires conversation as people take in the shots. Serve butler-passed canapés and wine and champagne for this event."

13. Casino Night

You've already won the jackpot by finding the love of your life. Keep the good times rolling along with some dice and cards at your own casino night, says Brand. "Give out play money to guests when they arrive to play on rented blackjack and craps tables. The last man standing gets a prize."

14. Paris Perfect

When people think of Paris, they think of love. Honor your engagement with a party that embraces the city of light. From a vintage Parisienne playlist (think Edith Piaf and Juliette Gréco) to macarons and champagne, live it up. You can use Eiffel Tower décor and even write menus or signs in French.

15. Silent Disco

Dance parties don’t have to equal noise complaints, which is why a silent disco is both a novel idea and a practical one. Here’s how it works: Guests wear custom headphones that allow them to tune into the signal coming from the DJ. With the headphones on, it’s like you’re in the club. Take them off, and it’s the normal, conversation-level noise. Invite guests to grab a set of headphones and let loose to your favorite party jams. Just warn them that singing along is much more obvious than when the speakers are blasting in a large room!

16. Sunset Sail

Ready for plenty of “I’m on a Boat” selfies? Invite friends and family on a sunset sail to toast to your engagement. It offers an intimate atmosphere for you to converse with your guests, and allows guests to bond with one another. “It’s the perfect romantic setting,” explains Jennie Maretti of Pixies and Petals. “Just make sure that everyone knows that there is a hard ‘send-off” time!”

bride and groom on boat

Photo by Cynthia Chung

17. Chic Chalet

Don your winter whites and cozy up with hot chocolate, mulled wine, and any thing else après-ski. Nod to your love of the slopes by hosting a chic chalet party, which works especially well if your engagement party falls during the cold weather months. Any indoor space will do, but bonus points if it includes wood-paneled walls like an Aspen lodge. Decorate with festive snowflakes and ski equipment, and serve comfort-food dishes like fondue and shepherd’s pie. Guests will thank you when they can show up in cashmere sweaters rather than cocktail dresses.

18. Go Glamping

Elevate a campsite by inviting friends and family to go glamping, suggests Teissia Treynet, founder of Firefly Events. Organize a day at a local campground, where you can upgrade the experience by adding a ton of amenities: games, blankets, rustic furniture, and of course, a bar. Stock the bathrooms like it’s a five-star hotel and plan a hiking excursion. Pit guests against one another in nostalgic camp-inspired games like a hula hoop contest or 100-meter dash. You can even invite guests stay the night. “Pick a cool place that’s easy to manage, like a site that already has cabins and tents,” Treynet advises. “You won’t have to worry about setting them up or coordinating who has what gear.”

19. Rosé on the Roof

Take advantage of your urban environment and head on up. Nothing says festive like gazing at a skyline while toasting with the ultimate warm-weather beverage: rosé wine. Many apartment buildings have rooftop event spaces you can rent by the hour for such a party. Don’t live in an apartment complex? No sweat. Head to your local bar with a roof deck to create the same experience or ask a friend to use their space.

20. Jazz Brunch

Who says engagement parties must be in the afternoon or evening? Plan a late-morning soirée by combining brunch with jazz music. It already sounds awesome. Guests can dig into waffles, made-to-order omelets, and, of course, Bloody Marys, while listening to an upbeat jazz quartet. A few songs in, and it’s like you’ve been transported to NOLA.

21. Ice Cream Social

We all scream for ice cream, even if it’s freezing outside. (Admit it.) Craft your own ice cream social, where guests can help themselves to a toppings bar. You can also serve banana splits or root beer floats for a pure Americana twist. This idea works especially well if your guest list includes several kids. They’ll love that they can be a part of the action, though, their parents may not thank you for the sugar crash.

22. Pool Party

Another one of our favorite engagement party ideas is the a classic pool party. Honor your new status as a to-be-wed and the start of summer with a kick-off to both! Stock the area with animal- and food-shaped rafts, pop on a feel-good playlist, and plan to serve tropical-inspired drinks like mojitos. Place an amenities basket of sunscreen, refreshing face spray, and paper fans for guests to grab as they soak up the vitamin D.

Photo by Jessica Bordner Photography

23. Hidden Speakeasy Soirée

If you are a cocktail aficionado, you just might want to run with this idea. Host a mixologist course with a pro, who can walk you and your guests through how to shake and stir, plus craft your favorite drink. Or keep it simple by inviting guests to a make-your-own cocktail buffet. Have the base drink batched, so guests can add garnishes like fruit, herbs, and spices to take the drink to the next level.

24. Fiesta, Fiesta

Tacos and tequila, please! Hang papel picados from the rafters, cover tables with brightly colored linens, and roll out the margarita machine. It’s time for a proper fiesta. Have the event catered by your favorite local Mexican restaurant, especially if they will come onsite to mix tableside guacamole for your guests.

25. Off to the Races

If mint juleps and Derby-worth hats are your thing for the first Saturday in May, considering using this as inspiration for your party. Host a “Day at the Races” and ask guests to don their best equestrian-inspired outfits. Serve bourbon cocktails in stainless steel julep cups and place “bets” on fun facts about you and your significant other. If you’re uber fans, throw the whole affair at the tracks.

26. Beach Bonfire

It’s like all your OC dreams come true. Invite friends and family to a sunset bonfire on the beach, complete with oceanside games, s’mores, and drinks. Time the event such that guests have a moment to meet in the daylight before the pinks and orange hues cover the sky. Post-twilight, take the fire to a roar, and pull out the marshmallows and ukulele. It’s time for a classic treat and traditional bonfire tunes.

beach lounge seating

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

27. Murder Mystery

Bring Clue to life with a murder mystery party. Plenty of party companies will come to your home and host the game. As each guest arrives, give them an envelope that explains their persona. It’s extra hilarious to match their personality with that of their character. Once everyone arrives, the leader will kick off the start. From there, it’s a classic hunt for whodunnit.

28. I Do Barbecue

It’s tough to say no to a barbecue, and when it comes to celebrating your engagement alongside a rack of ribs? Not a chance that guests won’t show up. Host a backyard barbecue with all your go-to dishes: smoked meats, burgers, potato salad, and coleslaw. You can even hop on the pie trend and slice into a lemon meringue instead of cutting the cake. Talk about delicious.

29. Homecoming

Sometimes you’re living in the perfect engagement party venue: your house! Invite friends and family to celebrate in the place you and your significant other call home. It’s super personal, and a meaningful way to show the new adobe you’re building with your soon-to-be spouse. “Keep it easy, breezy, and light,” says planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events, who also notes it can be a cost-effective party plan. He does recommend hiring help to pull off the party, though. Have a caterer manage the food, bartenders pour the drinks, and servers to pass the hor d'oeuvres. “You don’t want to be working more than celebrating,” he adds.

30. Picturesque Train Ride

Why not throw your engagement fête on destination train? Imagine traversing wine country by train while cheers-ing to your engagement—it sounds idyllic! Look up local train routes and find out if they have a dining car you can rent out. Make the journey extra special by finding routes that stop in areas significant to your relationship.

31. Love Around the World

Start your honeymoon early by taking your guests around the world with you. Incorporate maps, globes and photographs from the countries you and your fiancé have been to (or hope to go!). Carry the theme throughout your party by serving hors d'oeuvres from around the world and playing international music hits.

Vintage Globe Wedding Guest Book

Erin McGinn Photography

32. Surprise Engagement Party

If you haven't announced your engagement yet, you can make the engagement element of the party a total surprise. Keep the announcement hush-hush and make your friends just think they're coming to a house party. Then, when everybody is gathered, you can make the announcement!

33. Love Blooms Garden Party

Love blooms all around in a garden-themed engagement party. This isn’t your grandmother’s traditional garden club get-together. Begin by decorating your space with cascading foliage, bright flowers and terrariums. Keep the plant theme going by serving plant-based food. You can host the party in your own backyard, or find a community garden to rent out.

34. Hollywood Glam

Relive Hollywood glamour with this epic engagement party idea! Invite your guests to dress like their favorite vintage stars. Channel Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Marilyn Monroe and more in black tie attire. Set out a red carpet and decorate with vintage movie posters. Get inspiration for drinks and food from classic films, like the hazelnut gelato seen in Roman Holiday or Casablanca's French 75 cocktail.

35. An Engagement Party that Gives Back

This particular party theme isn’t linked through color scheme or activities. Rather, your gathering will be filled with ways you and your guests can give back. This can be done through making sure all of your food is sourced ethically, decorations are from local artisans and by handing out scratch-off cards that donate to charity for party favors. Instead of engagement gifts, encourage your friends and family to make charitable contributions to organizations that are close your heart.

36. Night Under the Stars

Grab some blankets, telescopes and your closest friends as you set up for a night under the stars. This engagement party can happen wherever convenient: a local park, recreation area or even your own backyard. Add extra touches of sparkle by hanging twinkle lights and cosmic decor all around. Don’t forget to provide some warm drinks to keep guests cozy throughout the night! If you want to take it the next level, look up local conservatories that you can tour or rent out.

37. Mad About Mambo

Infuse your engagement party with salsa, mambo, meringue, bachata and cha cha! Channel Latin vibes with Tito Puente, Machito and La Lupe and clear the floor so there's plenty of space for friends to cut a rug. Serve Mexican food, Cuban cigars and plenty of Jose Cuervo as you celebrate el amor!

38. Broadway Bliss

If you're a couple of theater buffs, this is the perfect engagement party idea. You can create custom playbills that announce your engagement details. To set the stage, create a playlist of show tunes and set up a karaoke station. Guests can sing whatever they want with only one caveat: it must be a love song. This makes for a quirky party that your friends and family will never forget!

39. Wet Hot American Summer

If you're throwing an engagement party during the summer, take advantage of the sticky weather and make the party a throwback to the good ol' summer camp days. Plan for the event to be outdoors and make personalized camp signs that pay homage to your engagement. Don’t feel like you have to provide the same mediocre food served to you as kids. Have your favorite restaurant cater the event or bring in a fun food truck. Rent a tent and make a photo station inside, set up camp games for your friends to play, make a s'mores station—the possibilities are endless! And, in true camp fashion, you can even make it an overnight party.

Camp goer guests

Photo by Kate Headley

40. '80s Extravaganza

An engagement is as good an excuse as any to throw an '80s extravaganza. Go back to a simpler time where no song was complete without a synthesizer, mom jeans were cool and video killed the radio star. Guests can dress up as a Madonna lookalike and other '80s stars. Hire a tribute band or play music on a boom box.

41. Music Festival Hangout

Too busy planning your wedding to attend any music festivals? Create your own! Host your own music festival-inspired engagement party. Set up in your local park or outdoor space and hire a hipster food truck to cater the event. Encourage your guests to wear flower crowns, bohemian tapestries, and body glitter, and have your musically inclined friends bring their instruments.

42. Retro Arcade

Time to put wedding and adult responsibilities temporarily aside and act like a kid again. Retro arcades have been popping up everywhere and make for fun an unique engagement party. With Space Invaders, Pac Man and pinball machines stacked to every corner, minimal decor (and clean up!) is needed. Some arcades even have a bar, so guests can enjoy adult beverages while acting like kids.

43. Color Party

Sometimes all you need for a party theme is a color. You can keep your palette wedding white, or you can use your wedding colors if you already have them figured out. Invite guests to wear the color of your choice, and infuse your food, drinks and decor with the same color. This will also make shopping a breeze—just look for matching colors!

44. Fairy Tale Fête

Kick off your happily-ever-after with a fairy tale engagement celebration. Incorporate all the classic fairy tale romances you can think of. Make centerpieces using stacks of vintage hardback romance novels. Make signs using your favorite fairy tale quotes, and decorate with plenty of tulle and tea light candles.

45. Valentine's Day Party

Planning on having an engagement party around Valentine's Day? Take advantage of the holiday that's made for lovers, and snap up white, red and pink decor. Serve spiked pink punch, set out dishes of sweetheart candy, and make each guest their own homemade Valentine as a special way to say thank you for coming!

Courtesy of Love Me Do Photography

46. "Fall" in Love

There's something so romantic about fall. From the warm hues to the cool autumn breeze, the pumpkin spice season makes for a perfect engagement party theme. Incorporate the warm reds, oranges and yellows in streamers and table decor. Pumpkin patches make an ideal off-site location for your party. Plan activities like bobbing for apples, corn maze walks or tractor rides.

47. Masquerade

Want to go all out? Throw an over-the-top, elegant masquerade ball to celebrate your engagement. Invite guests to dress to the nines and don extravagant masks. Serve Venetian-inspired food and cocktails by candlelight and use gold decorations to set the mood.

48. Kickback at the Brewery

Crack open a cold one with your besties at a laid-back engagement bash at your favorite brewery. Guests can enjoy a variety of beers and ciders. You can even arrange for a behind-the-scenes brewery tour to make the party memorable. The casual event is the perfect way to celebrate stress-free, just hanging out with your friends, snacking on pretzels, talking about the engagement, and even playing a board game or two.

49. Scavenger Hunt

If your friends are competitive and are always up for a challenge, then kick off your engagement party with a scavenger hunt. Break up guests into several teams and send them with clues of where to go. Each hint will lead members to locations that were milestones in your relationship. Have your last stop be a lovely sit-down dinner. Talk about a unique engagement party idea that your friends and family won’t be able to stop talking about!

50. Modern Gothic Engagement Party

If you love deep colors, October weather and opulence, consider throwing a modern Gothic engagement party, complete with Victorian-themed decor and, if you like, some spooky details. A modern Gothic engagement party is perfect if your hosting an event around Halloween time. Project classic silent horror films onto a large, white wall and incorporate skulls and dark flowers throughout the space. It is death 'til you part, after all!

Photo by Plum & Oak Photo, Design and Table Décor by Folklore Vintage Rentals

51. Geeky Get Together

Everyone geeks out about something. Whether you and your honey are big on Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or something else entirely, you can find away to infuse the party with a gloriously geeky theme. This party is to celebrate your union—what better way to do it then by incorporating your favorite delightfully geeky interests!

52. Museum Party

Where better to throw an extravagant engagement bash that will go down in history than at a museum? Find a museum or art gallery to rent out. Your guests can explore the corridors while enjoying cocktails and appetizers. Curators can even provide quick tours to guests. Keep the party going all with a DJ and dance the night away!

53. Shakespeare in Love

No one understood love better than Shakespeare. Consider throwing a Shakespeare-themed engagement party! You can handwrite your favorite Shakespeare quotes in calligraphy on the invitation and use invitations straight out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Add flowers, tea light candles, and have English Renaissance music playing in the background. Want to go over the top? Hire an improv group to do a small scene from one of your favorite Shakespeare plays.

54. Breakfast Club

If you’re looking for something more intimate and casual, an engagement breakfast or brunch will do the trick. Invite your friends for a morning affair and have coffee, tea, pastries, finger sandwiches and other hors d’oeuvres. Who says you can't have a smash party in the morning?

Bottled Cold Brew Coffee

Asya Photography

55. Laser Tag Party

Last but not least in our list of engagement party ideas: a laser tag party! Your friends will have a blast—and we guarantee they've never been to an engagement party with this theme before. If you want to let loose and partake in some friendly (or not so friendly) competition to celebrate your impending nuptials, this is the party for you.

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