Sunday, 3 March 2013

Tips for the perfect engagement party

It’s natural to feel excited when your man pops the question but it’s also normal to feel a little overwhelmed. So if dresses, venues and flowers all see a bit much to handle right now, why not take a step back and plan an engagement party?
Write your guest list

Engagement parties tend to be much smaller than weddings, so don’t feel obliged to invite everyone you know to the event. If you’re trying to keep the budget down, just invite close friends and family including the full bridal party.

Pick a theme
Choosing a theme can be tough so we’ve put a few ideas together for you.
- Vintage cocktail party: Encourage your guests to dress from a certain era (for example the 1920s) and focus your theme on that decade. There’s no need to serve large platters of food, keep it simple by offering trays of drinks and tasty canapés. If you really want to push the boat out you might want to consider hiring a jazz band.
- English tea party: A great idea for sunny afternoon, serve finger sandwiches, scones and cakes with tea. For a truly British feel don’t forget to decorate your garden with bunting, which can be bought cheaply online.
- Barbeque: Unlike the UK, the weather in Dubai is likely to be good enough for you to host an afternoon barbeque. An affordable way to get a large group of friends and family together, stock up on meat from Spinneys and encourage guests to bring their own drinks.
- Brunch: If you want to celebrate with a small group of friends, why not hire out a section of a restaurant for a celebratory Friday brunch? With the food and drinks on tap, all you need to worry about is finding a few balloons for decoration.
- Nautical: You’re in a sunny climate near the sea so why not spin a theme around this? Choose blue and white decoration and a nautical style dress to impress your guests.
Choose a venue
Though it’s traditional to hold the engagement party at the bride’s parent’s house, these days it’s becoming more common to host them in bars and restaurants. If you’ve got the space you might want to consider hosting in your own apartment, but be aware that there might be lots of clearing up to do. Alternatively, you could make the most of being in Dubai and host your party on an abra, catamaran or yacht.
Cost saving tips
- Save money by making your own decorations, it also adds a more personal touch.
- Send e-invites instead of splashing out on expensive stationery.
- If you’re having it at home encourage guests (or members of the bridal party) to bring their own drinks.
- Instead of paper plates use real crockery. If you don’t have enough why not ask friends and family if you can borrow theirs?
- When shopping for food, search for special offers in the supermarket. You may find good bargains, especially at Lulu and Carrefour.
- If you’re having an outdoor evening party, save money on lighting by using tea light candles. Pretty and affordable, they look great dotted around the terrace.

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