30 Unique Engagement Party Ideas to Kick Off Your Wedding Journey

Think outside the box with these creative ways to celebrate.

Woman dancing with guests at a party

Photo by Mark Spooner

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 celebration unique. To inspire you, we rounded up unconventional 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 any excuse to host a themed event, you'll find plenty of creative engagement party ideas that are guaranteed to be crowd-pleasers.

Keep scrolling for our list of 30 unique engagement party ideas—with tips from experts—to take your celebratory soirée to the next level.

6 Fun Themes for Your Engagement Party
Emily Roberts/Brides 
01 of 30

Screen Your Love Story

Guests sitting on blankets outdoors under a tent

Photo by Lisa Poggi; Event Planning by Exclusive Italy Weddings 

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.

02 of 30

Reserve a Suite at a Sporting Event

Woman watching sports in stadium

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images 

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, 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."

03 of 30

Get Retro at the Roller Disco

Two girls sitting on the floor of a roller skating rink laughing

Flashpop / Getty Images

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.

04 of 30

Picnic Americana-Style

Picnic tables with umbrellas at an outdoor reception

Photo by KT Merry; Design by Lisa Vorce

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 place condiments in small picnic baskets. Don't forget classic touches like potato salad, chips, bottled beer—and music by Bruce Springsteen, of course.

05 of 30

Taste Wine and Cheese

Wooden boards with assorted cheeses and fruits

Photo by Erich McVey; Event Planning by Laurel & Rose  

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.

06 of 30

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Dessert table with assorted sweets

Photo by Phil Chester 

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.

07 of 30

Recreate an Art Gallery Opening

Defocused photo of man walking in an art gallery

Kittiyut Phornphibul / Getty Images 

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."

08 of 30

Take Your Bets

Friends playing cards at home

Wundervisuals / Getty Images 

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, 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."

09 of 30

Channel Paris

Multicolored French macaron tower

Photo by Amanda K; Event Planning by Marjorie Burgarella of By Mademoiselle C 

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. You can use Eiffel Tower décor and even write menus or signs in French.

10 of 30

Get Down With a Silent Disco

Man and woman in formalwear dancing while guests watch in the background

Photo by Leo Patrone; Event Planning by Ashley Smith Events 

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.

11 of 30

Sail the Ocean Blue

Boats sailing on Lake Como

Photo by Ross Harvey

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.”

12 of 30

Bundle Up for a Chic Chalet

Group of friends with beverages in winter clothes at an outdoor party

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images 

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.

13 of 30

Go Glamping

Furniture set up at a campsite

Courtesy of Megan and Tim Stack

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.

14 of 30

Sip Rosé on the Roof

Group of friends hanging out on a roof

Maskot / Getty Images

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.

15 of 30

Host a NOLA-Inspired Jazz Brunch

A bunch of cocktail stirrers with phonographs printed on them

Photo By Scott Andrew Studio

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.

16 of 30

Cool Off With an Ice Cream Social

A woman scooping ice cream

Photo by Lisa Poggi; Event Planning by Exclusive Italy Weddings 

Craft your own ice cream social, where guests can help themselves to a toppings bar. You can serve American favorites like banana splits or root beer floats, or get a gelato cart for a little European flair.

17 of 30

Dive Into a Pool Party

Pink flamingo float in a pool at a pool party

Photo by Jessica Bordner Photography 

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.

18 of 30

Mix Your Own Cocktails

Bartenders mixing cocktails at an outdoor bar setup

Photo by Erich McVey; Event Planning by Laurel & Rose  

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.

19 of 30

Head Off to the Races

Women at a derby drinking champagne with big hats

Solstock / Getty Images 

If mint juleps and Derby-worthy hats are your things 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 über fans, throw the whole affair at the tracks.

20 of 30

Cozy Up With a Beach Bonfire

Lounge seating set up on a beach

Photo by Paige Jones Photography 

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.

21 of 30

Host an At-Home Soirée

Guests holding sparklers at a dimly lit house party

Franckreporter / Getty Images 

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 to pass hor d'oeuvres. “You don’t want to be working more than celebrating,” Meyer adds.

22 of 30

Surprise Your Guests

Couple dancing amongst guests under confetti shower

Photo by MK Sadler; Event Planning by Princess Wedding 

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.

23 of 30

Channel Hollywood Glam

Bride and groom filling champagne tower

Photo by Christina McNeill; Event Planning by Ruby & Rose 

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.

24 of 30

Give Back

A heart-shaped piece of paper wrapped around a napkin detailing a charity

Photo by Andrew Graham Todes Photography

Host a sustainable engagement party that gives back. Make sure all of your food is ethically sourced and buy decorations are 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.

25 of 30

Spend a Night Under the Stars

A crescent moon decoration suspended in the air at night

Photo by Erin McGinn; Event Planning by Metta Events 

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 décor, 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.

26 of 30

Vibe With a Music Festival

Young woman at a summer music festival wearing golden sequinned hot pants, dancing among the crowd

Mint Images / Getty Images 

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.

27 of 30

Kick Back at a Brewery

Bottled beers in an ice bucket with custom coozies

Photo by Henry + Mac

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.

28 of 30

Get Spooky With a Gothic Affair

Dark table setting with black pillar candles

Photo by Plum & Oak Photo, Design by Folklore Vintage Rentals 

If you love deep colors, October weather, and opulence, consider throwing a modern Gothic engagement party, complete with Victorian-themed décor and spooky details. It's a perfect theme if you're hosting an event around Halloween. You can project silent horror films and incorporate skulls and dark flowers throughout the space.

29 of 30

Throw a Masquerade Ball

Man in a masquerade mask

Westend61 / Getty Images 

If you love carnival, 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.

30 of 30

Be Inspired by Shakespeare

Love poems and candles hanging off of trees

MK Sadler; Event Planning by Princess Wedding 

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.

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