Advise now needed...engagement party

mizmomAugust 24, 2007

Our oldest daughter recently (last week) surprised us with the news that she is engaged. It was a BIG surprise since she has 2 more years of college and we do expect her to finish. Hopefully SHE expects to finish before getting married also. The prospective groom also has another year at LEAST before he graduates.

So.... we are just digesting this information when the question of an engagement party comes up. AAAGHHHH. Isn't this kind of rushing things? We have 2 in college right now and the last thing I want to think about is paying for a wedding and all of the hoopla that leads up to it.

What on earth is an engagement party? I have not heard of such a thing. Is this another of those "supposed to do's" that involve asking the invitees for gifts? I thought that was what bridal showers and weddings were for. I googled engagement parties and even found a website that spoke of engraved invitations for such an event. No wonder the wedding industry is known for being such a money making machine....everyone has their hand out for more money.

Any advise would be appreciated. Has anyone gone through this recently? Is an engagement party a necessity? Will we deprive our beautiful child of something that everyone else has, if we say NO to this party idea?

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When my daughter came home from college with a sparkler on her finger, we ran to the store and bought a case of champagne and called about a dozen of very close friends who had known her since she was a baby and had a party that evening.
I think engagement parties are done less and less in this informal world, but I wouldn't be throwing a big formal party if the wedding won't take place for 2 years or more.
And by "engaged" does she mean that he has asked her to marry him and she has agreed? Or that he has presented her with a diamond and they will be having a formal portrait taken and an announcement put in his and her home town newspapers?
I have no idea who asked about the party...but in my opiniopn it's too soon to start on the pre nuptual rat race.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 12:17AM
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My understanding of the purpose of an engagement party is to allow the family members from each side to celebrate the couple engagement and, more importantly, to meet each other.

I think gifts are unnecessary and would even specify best wishes only. However that's a personal thing with me, just makes me crazy how materialistic weddings have become.

When my son became engaged I told him we would host an engagement party once they set the date. I was not throwing a party years ahead of the event. Good move as they are no longer a couple!

My niece became engaged while still in school and my sister threw her a big engagement party in her backyard, tent and all. Not only were gifts "expected" my sister even indicated on the invitation that money would be preferred in lieu of gifts because they were moving to England and didn't want to ship or store a bunch of stuff! I was mortified!!!!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Chase, you have some very sensible thoughts. An "engagement" announcement and party makes more sense if there is a date established and more concrete plans are being made. Two years out is a long time. I also am against the "come to a party and bring something with you ie money or gifts" for a marriage that is years away.

Yes, there is a ring on her finger however we have not seen it since she is away at school. We have not met any of his family and as a matter of was his family who apparently brought up the subject of an engagement party. And yes lindac, it does sound like everyone else wants to start on that "prenuptal rat race" except us (her parents). His family is apparently very anxious to "get things started". I am not even sure I want to meet his family yet. I need to come to grips with this matter myself first.

Today I looked at the engagement announcements in the paper. Announcements that were published were for weddings taking place this fall. (more ammunition for my side of the argument).

Thank you for your thoughts on this weighty matter.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 1:15PM
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We had an engagement party for our son and his fiancee in October before a December wedding. We invited our friends so they could meet the bride to be, as she is from out of town. I specified no gifts, in fact, I enclosed a card that read something to the effect that since the wedding was at Xmas and far away, we were not expecting many people from our town to be there. I asked that if anyone thought they could make it, to please let me know so that they could be included on the wedding list. A few people did let me know. Her parents had an engagement party in August. No gifts there, either. I think 2 years out is pretty far. If you hold an event, I'd have it a few months before the actual date. It might be a good idea to meet the groom's parents at this point, though, but not at a party.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 6:06PM
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Easy for me to say, I know -- if my child were a college junior and announced his/her engagement, I would freak out.

But if they aren't planning to get married yet, not even an idea of what year (or an idea more than a year or so ahead), I think that what you have here is basically a serious boyfriend and a piece of jewelry.

DON'T say this to HER, or anyone else, and don't let it show. That will just insult her maturity and the seriousness of her relationship and make her dig her heels in hard. It's just for YOU to keep in mind. So much can happen before they are ready to get married.

I definitely wouldn't throw an engagement party. Maybe a small family celebration -- like lindac's running out for champagne, but not a full-blown party. Actually, I don't think I'd throw one for my own child; around here, that's something friends or other relatives usually do, I think. We just co-hosted one for a friend's daughter. We didn't call it an "engagement party," just a "party in honor of Petunia and Cuthbert," but it was the same idea. Anyway, I don't think anyone ought to be giving an engagement party at this point. I'd wait until the wedding date is set, and no more than a year before, and even as late as a month or so before the wedding.

I suppose that engagement parties were once to announce the engagement of a child to one's social circle. But at least in my community, they now seem to be sort of the first of the pre-wedding parties.

If your daughter is making you think that you MUST run around and host parties in her honor and put announcements in the newspaper, she is just playing bride. Don't do it. (Even if the circumstances were different -- i.e., she were older and they did have an approximate wedding date chosen), it certainly isn't something you HAVE to do. I don't remember the last time -- if ever -- anyone I knew gave their own child an engagement party, so it certainly isn't "required" or something "everyone else has." Tell her how much you love Cuthbert and perhaps meet his parents if it is convenient and you are ready. If she asks about a party, tell her it's too far before the wedding. Don't let his family push you, either; just tell them pleasantly how much you like Cuthbert and don't get sucked into planning yet (it can be tempting).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 12:07AM
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