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 likely want a way to make your celebration unique. Whether you’re movie buffs, art aficionados, sports lovers, or just love any excuse to host a themed event, an engagement party is a great way to share fun facets of your relationship with your friends and family.
To inspire you, we rounded up the best unconventional engagement party ideas—with tips from experts—to take your celebratory soirée to the next level.
Screen Your Love Story
Rent a projector and turn your engagement into a real-life rom-com with an outdoor movie theater-themed party. Sunny Ravanbach, president of White Lilac Inc., 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.
Get Retro at the Roller Disco
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-wheel fun.
Taste Wine and Cheese
Toast in style with a wine and cheese party! Decorate tables with flowers or linens, and 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.
Reserve a Suite at a 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 that food and beverages are often included in many packages, as noted by 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."
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
If you've got a sweet tooth, paradise is a dessert party. Create heaven on Earth with a dessert bar filled with treats like white-chocolate macadamia-nut cheesecake, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and truffles. You can serve a selection of dessert wines, such as tawny port, Riesling, and Sauternes, along with typical after-dinner beverages like espresso, coffee, and tea.
Take Your Bets
You've already won the jackpot by finding the love of your life, so keep the good times rolling with some dice and cards at your own casino night. Rent blackjack and craps tables, and dole out play money to guests so they can battle it out for a prize.
Get Down With a 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.
Sail the Ocean Blue
Ready for plenty of “I’m on a boat” selfies? Invite friends and family on a sunset sail to toast 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.”
Bundle Up for a Chic Chalet
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. Don your winter whites and cozy up with hot chocolate, mulled wine, and anything else après-ski. Any indoor space will do, but bonus points if it includes wood-paneled walls like an Aspen lodge.
Recreate an Art Gallery Opening
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 spotlighting," he says. "Serve butler-passed canapés and wine and Champagne for this event."
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 or pit guests against one another in nostalgic, camp-inspired games like a hula-hoop contest or 100-meter dash. “Pick a cool place that’s easy to manage, like a site that already has cabins and tents,” Treynet advises.
Sip Rosé on the Roof
Nothing says festive like gazing at a skyline while toasting with the ultimate warm-weather beverage: rosé wine. Many apartment buildings have finished rooftop spaces, and some you can even rent by the hour for events. If you don’t live in an apartment complex, head to your local bar with a roof deck to create the same experience.
Cool Off With an Ice Cream Social
Craft your own ice cream social, where guests can help themselves to a toppings bar. You can serve American favorites like banana splits and root beer floats, or get a gelato cart for a little European flair.
Dive Into a Pool Party
Honor your new status as a to-be-wed and the start of summer with a kickoff pool party. Stock the area with animal—and food—shaped rafts, pop on a feel-good playlist, and serve tropical-inspired drinks, like piña coladas. Place an amenities basket with sunscreen, refreshing face spray, and paper fans for guests to grab as they soak up the sun.
Mix Your Own Cocktails
If you're a cocktail aficionado, you just might want to run with this idea. Host a mixology 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. Batch the base drink so guests can add garnishes like fruit, herbs, and spices.
Host a NOLA-Inspired Jazz Brunch
Who says engagement parties must be in the afternoon or evening? Plan a late-morning soirée by combining a classic brunch with jazz music. 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’ll feel like you’ve been transported to NOLA.
Head Off to the Races
If mint juleps and Derby-worthy hats are your things for the first Saturday in May, consider using this as inspiration for your party. Host a “day at the races” and ask guests to dress in 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 über fans, throw the whole affair at the tracks.
Cozy Up With a Beach Bonfire
Invite friends and family to a sunset bonfire on the beach, complete with oceanside games, s’mores, and drinks. Time the event so that guests have a moment to meet in the daylight before the pink 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.
Host an At-Home Soirée
Sometimes you’re living in the perfect engagement party venue. Invite friends and family to celebrate in the place you and your partner call home.“Keep it easy, breezy, and light,” says planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events, who also notes it can be a more cost-effective party plan. You can have a caterer manage the food, bartenders pour the drinks, and servers pass hors d'oeuvres. “You don’t want to be working more than celebrating,” Meyer adds.
Host a sustainable engagement party that gives back. Make sure all of your food is ethically sourced and buy decorations from local artisans. You can hand out scratch-off cards that donate to charity for party favors, and instead of engagement gifts, encourage your friends and family to make charitable contributions to organizations close to your heart.
Surprise Your Guests
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 think they're just coming to a house party. Then, when everybody is gathered, make the announcement.
Vibe With a Music Festival
Too busy planning your wedding to attend any music festivals? Host your own music festival-inspired engagement party by setting up in your local park or outdoor space and hiring an artisan 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.
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 Édith Piaf and Juliette Gréco) to macarons and Champagne. You can use Eiffel Tower decor and even write menus or signs in French.
Channel Hollywood Glam
For an old Hollywood glamour-themed party, invite guests to dress like their favorite vintage stars, like 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.
Kick Back at a Brewery
Crack open a cold one with your besties with a laid-back engagement bash at your favorite brewery. It's the perfect stress-free celebration—you can hang out with friends, snack on pretzels, talk about the engagement, and play a board game or two. You can even arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour to make the party memorable.
Throw a Masquerade Ball
If you love carnival, throw an over-the-top, elegant masquerade ball to celebrate your engagement. Invite guests to dress to the nines and wear extravagant masks. Serve Venetian-inspired food and cocktails by candlelight and use gold decorations to set the mood.
Be Inspired by Shakespeare
No one understood love better than Shakespeare, so why not let the famous playwright inspire your engagement party? Handwrite your favorite Shakespeare quotes in calligraphy on Elizabethan era–inspired invitations, decorate with flowers and tealight candles, serve Shakespeare-era treats like citrus tarts, and have English Renaissance music playing in the background.
Spend a Night Under the Stars
Grab some blankets, telescopes, and your closest friends as you set up for a night under the stars at a park or backyard. Add touches of sparkle with twinkle lights and cosmic decor, and don’t forget to provide warm drinks to keep guests cozy throughout the night. To take it to the next level, look up local observatories that you can tour or rent out.
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.
Spend a Night at the Museum
If you're an art or history lover, find a museum or art gallery to rent out. Your guests can explore the corridors while enjoying cocktails and appetizers, and curators can even provide quick tours to guests.