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How to Plan a Great Engagement Party (a wedding photographer’s guide)


June 27, 2022

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When working with my wonderful couples, I often capture more than just the wedding. After all, there are so many pre-wedding events and to-dos! Once you get engaged, you probably want to take a moment to celebrate before planning your big day. An engagement party is the perfect opportunity to do so. There are still some preparations you need to make in order to bring this event to life.

Backyard engagement party in Charlotte


I’m sharing how to plan a great engagement party on this blog!

Do you need to have an engagement party?

Wait, do you need to have an engagement party? You might be asking this question! You absolutely do not need to have an engagement party. This is simply a wonderful option for those who want to bring some of their closest friends and family members together to celebrate their engagement. It doesn’t have to be a large event! 

Guests and future bride mingling with guests at engagement party

What to consider first.

If you decide to plan an engagement party, let’s go over what to consider first.

What is your estimated guest count?

Like I mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be a large event (but it certainly can be)! Write down everyone you would like to invite to your engagement party. With this list, you will have an idea of what you need to realistically support your event. 

How to you envision your event?

Next, how do you envision your engagement party? Do you have a certain theme in mind? Maybe you want a relaxing intimate dinner. Perhaps you want more of a high-energy party. Turn to Pinterest to gather some ideas for your event first.

Think about your location.

While you are picturing your event, think about your location. You will probably want to stay local for your engagement party. Often, your engagement party will be planned 1-3 months after your official engagement. If you have a certain venue in mind, contact them as soon as you are interested in learning more. Even local restaurants and non-wedding venues are booked further out than in previous years. Get creative with your location! Many couples decide to go with a backyard engagement party rather than a traditional venue.

Poolside backyard engagement party

What is your budget?

With the general idea of what you are looking for when it comes to your engagement party, it’s time to determine a budget. How much are you willing to spend on this event? If you already have a wedding planner booked, ask them if they are available to plan this event at an additional fee. They will be able to take this task off of your hands and help you hire other vendors.

Hire your vendors.

That’s right! You need to hire vendors for your engagement party. At minimum, you will want a caterer, planner, and photographer. Again, a planner is highly recommended since this is the first of your “wedding” events. You will probably need to hire a wedding planner anyway so, why not start working with them now? Your photographer is another vendor you will most likely end up working with throughout the wedding planning process. Pre-wedding events like this are great ways to get to know this vendor and practice being in front of a camera. Then, the caterer is essential because you will need to feed your guests. It is up to you to determine the scale of your food served. 

Couple toasting at backyard engagement party

Here’s a list of other vendors you might need:

  • Bartender
  • DJ/Band
  • Lighting
  • Furniture and Decor Rental Companies
  • Dessert 
  • Clean-Up Team/Bussers

Have fun!

Lastly, remember to have fun! You will love looking back at all of the photos from this first wedding event. Enjoy the moment. I know being a newly engaged couple is so exciting but also can be stressful. Don’t worry about the wedding planning coming up! Have confidence that everything will come together. It is your time to celebrate. 

Black and white photo of couple kissing at engagement party

After the engagement party, you can look forward to your engagement photography session. How exciting! Here’s one of my favorite local Charlotte engagement sessions to inspire you.

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I'm Amy and I'm so happy you're here. This is a journal about my life as a photographer, mom, wife and friend. Stay a while and say hello!

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