Decide on the host/location Traditionally engagement parties are thrown by the bride's family and often at their home, but a casual get together at a favorite bar is a perfect way to go too.

Draft your guest list As it's customary to invite all those who attend your engagement party to the wedding too, it's good to get a sense of your wedding guest list first, if you can.

Pick a Date Generally parties are thrown one to three months after the engagement and up to six months after for couples with a longer engagement.

Choose food & drink Often this depends on the location, but it could be anything from a rooftop potluck to a five-course menu to cocktails and hors devours.

Decide on an invite These days the question is: to invite or to evite (or to facebook?). You know your friends and family best, and as far as engagement parties go, we think an evite is a perfectly suitable option.

Send the invites About 2-3 weeks before the party.

The guest list Engagement parties are increasingly becoming a way to involve more of your friends and family if you hope to have a small or destination wedding. Just be sure to make your plans clear early on.

Toasts Typically, toasts begin about two thirds of the way through the party. The bride's father gives the first toast, followed by the groom, and then the floor opens up to whomever is interested.

Gifts Common opinion says bringing gifts to an engagement party is unnecessary, but some people just don't like showing up to a party empty-handed (like us!). It's also a good idea to provide hosts, if you won't be hosting, with an answer to gift questions before your invites go out. If you'd prefer no gifts, if you'd prefer to have guests contribute to a favorite charity, or if you happen to have a registry set up with a few smaller items, guests may ask, so it's best to have an answer ready.

Location, location, location
Choose a location for your party that reflects your relationship. Find a drive-in movie theater and let guests mingle while the film from your first date plays in the background. Or if you're a couple who likes the great outdoors, secure a picnic pavilion at your favorite state park. Organize a scavenger hunt where guests find objects that when put together tell a story about your romance.

Instagram photo album
Why not create a personal hashtag for your party so that you can easily capture all the great snaps your friends take while they're there. Simply scribble your unique hashtag inviting instagraming friends to participate on a sign near the entrance.

Friendly entertainment
If you have some particularly funny groomsmen in your bunch, have them act out 'silent movie' skit of how the two of you met.

Set up a playlist bank
Ask your guests to scribble down songs they'd like to hear at the wedding reception and catch their requests in a vintage tin or piggy bank.

Dessert test run
Your engagement party is a great place to try out dessert ideas for the big day. Invite your guests to partake in the sampling by setting up a table where they can try different options and fill you in on their favorites.

Unique favors
Give your wedding party potted flowers along with drawstring bags to collect petals to throw on the big day.

Little touches here and there are a great last-minute way to personalize your event.

In Denmark, a gate of honor or an archway made from twigs and branches was set up in front of the bride's family home to celebrate an engagement.

Flouncing was an event held in parts of England to officially announce the engagement of a new couple to their families. It also established a version of today's prenup.

Scottish wedding announcements were traditionally made via the parish church in a ceremony called the banns of marriage.

By the 1900s, formal newspaper announcements taken out by the couple would break the news on the day of their party. Guests would therefore find out the morning of what they were celebrating (if that hadn't already guessed!).

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