Instead of retelling the events of the night, I thought I would try something different and share with you all this lengthy and somewhat stressful process planning the engagement party (not sure how I’ll cope for the actual wedding). All in all, I think we were pleased with how it all ended up turning out. Enjoy!
TIPS FOR HOW TO THROW AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY
1. Get a notebook/planner/bullet journal for all wedding related things to work out the following things.
I used my dark green TDE notebook.
2. Set a budget
3. Work out what kind of party you want:
- is it going to be during the day or night?
- are you providing lunch/dinner/canapes/byo finger food/drinks?
- entire venue hire or partial?Ours was held from 7pm, we chose to do this so that people could enjoy drinks and have a good night.
4. Other things to consider:
- how many guests and who are you going to invite?
We had around 100
- how will you invite them?
I used PaperlessPost and designed my own invitations to cut costs. I’ll be sure to use this app again for our wedding!
- is there going to be a tab?
Not a party without a bar tab!
- is there going to be a cake?
Yes, I tried to make one myself (even bought the tools for it), but decided it was too stressful, I wasn’t skilled enough to satisfy my own high expectations, so we decided to invest in one!
- are you going to hire a photographer?
Yes, professional quality photos are a must for an event like this!
- are there going to be speeches?
Kind of? Ours was improvised and casual.
- is there going to be a DJ?
We opted for mp3/Spotify to cut costs, as hiring a DJ would not only cost us money to hire, but additional costs were also involved to have them on site.
- do you want a powerpoint slide?
Yes! We had one projected on the top wall above the staircase to save room – it added a pretty cool effect too because it filled up the space and made it more interesting.
- what kind of decorations do you want, and how are you going to acquire them?
I love foliage and native flowers. I made sure these were sprawled across the entire venue. I also made leafy vine crowns for the bridal party!
I went for a simple cream Zimmerman floor length dress (it was on sale, so that was a plus)
- where do you want to stay after the event?
Do you need to organise accommodation? Kenny organised airbnb at an apartment just across the road! Which made it super easy for us to unload and transport all the decoration before the event started.
5. Once you have figured out the above, you can now start your research. Begin with your selected venues. Inquire the costs involved for all of them; this is when you’ll learn what additional costs need to be taken into account, and any services that might be complimentary.
We had our party at Lucky Penny, and understated venue (brunch place by day) with an upstairs function room. I particularly liked the white walls surrounded by weathered boards for the modern/rustic look. The major selling point for us was that the venue did not contain bolted down utables/chairs, it held just enough people (100), and it didnt contain strange nooks and crannies that could seclude people. We really wanted a place that would promote mingling without it being overly spacious. To place the cherry on top, the venue is self-decorated with foliage and contains a hanging foliage piece.
6. Weigh up your options, decide what you would like to DIY to cut costs.
I decided to DIY: table linen, foliage/floral decorations, hanging fairy lights, signage, neon sign, guestbook, photo booth station, flower crowns
7. Once you have shortlisted your choices, decide what your priorities are on the night. Work out your costs, then lock and book in your decisions.
We invested in our cake and photographer – both being one of the major highlights of the night! Everyone loved Sean‘s friendly face and easy-going demeanor. He is thorough and just so easy to be “candid” around – no awkward moments…that’s a huge plus! I had a few anxieties about the lighting situation of our venue. Given the nature of our event, it did not at all promote airy light photos I typically enjoy. However, Sean was able to ease me of these worries through his confidence and competency, delivering amazing photos under dim, challenging tungsten lights. He was also kind enough to come to the venue a little earlier to give us a hand on setting up. It’s true what they say when they say it’s important that you can get along with your photographers – it’s even more true that you know the people you are working with care. He even packaged some printed photographs and wooden USB laying on a bed of dried foliage in a vintage glass box! Sean made sure he was able to get a few shots of me and Kenny, just as I had requested even whilst I was stressed and busy trying to entertain guests. But even amongst the hustle and bustle, Sean was not afraid to remind us and take us away to getaway and remind us what this is all really about. For this I thank-you!
It’s truly inspirational to see old friends share their work with the world, I’m not surprised why you’re successful at what you do Tam, artistic talent and attention to detail clearly runs in the family! Tam’s (Humble Crumble) Ispahan cake was also a crowd favourite – everyone loved the flavours of rosewater lychee and raspberry jam in the cake! For those who know me, they would know that these flavours fit me to the T. The cake was decorated with an assortment of native flowers and leaves I selected from a local florist and the body of the cake was immaculately butter-cream coated with a concrete effect. This was Tam’s first concrete-effect buttercream, so she was a little nervous about the results. But for her first time she surely impressed and I was absolutely over the moon with what she was able to create. Thank-you for being so flexible and accommodating Tam!
I decided to get my make-up done by Kitrina (@kitrinavu), an old friend and colleague. I could not deny her skills and her good-eye for colour when I stalked and watched her build her own make-up business on instagram. She isn’t want to shy away from being creative with her looks, her modern edge is distinct and undeniably captivating. I liked how she made “runway looks” look so wearable! Thank-you so much for doing such an amazing job on my awkward face.
Tammy (@tiedbytammy) (and future sis-in-law!) did a wonderful job with my hair. As I had recently chemically treated my hair, I really did not want it to get into too much contact with heat or chemical products. She was very happy to oblige, and was very capable of working with minimal heat, whilst using organic products that are gentler on the hair. Tam does a brilliant job creating effortless ‘undone’ looks with perfect loose waves that frame the face. Thank-you for always being my designated hairstylist!
It was so wonderful to have been able to catch up and reconnect with old friends, and even better to know that I can support friend’s work! Knowing that I can rely on friends truly makes all of this so much more meaningful. A party that can seem so self-absorbed and so concerned with outward appearances, can be less so when you can support others in the process. I am so lucky to have such talented friends!
8. Try not to stress. In the larger scheme of things, this is only one day/night. You have plenty more important things to invest your energy and life-savings in. Be reasonable with yourself, and make sure you just do the best you can to have a great time with great people around you!