First of all, if you’ve recently got engaged, congratulations! No doubt you and your partner will be eager to get on with the planning of your big day. However, this is not the time to hold in-person gatherings. That applies to weddings, of course, but it also applies to one of the most exciting events you may be looking to organise before your nuptials: your engagement party. Sadly, it’s just one more thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has ruined. I’ve had to postpone my wedding twice!
The good news, though, is that even the Coronavirus crisis doesn’t have to mean calling off your engagement party altogether. Instead – depending on where you are, your personal circumstances and what societal restrictions are in place near you by the time you read this – you might decide to throw a virtual engagement party. And trust me – an engagement bash over Zoom (or other video conferencing software) can be just as special as an in-person celebration!
Virtual engagement parties, though, are subject to slightly different rules and practicalities to in-person ones. Some things will be the same, whereas others won’t be. So, let’s look at how – with some intelligent planning – you can hold a virtual engagement party that you, your beloved and every attendee will remember for the fondest of reasons.Determine who will host the engagement party
Tradition says it’s the parents of the bride who host the engagement party, although of course, ‘tradition’ has gone out of the window when it comes to a lot of things lately. Even long before the pandemic, it was becoming more common for other people in a couple’s circles – such as the groom’s parents, friends of the couple, or even the couple themselves – to host the engagement party. So, the best advice is to do what feels right for you.
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Don’t necessarily invite just everyone
In fact, I’d probably urge you not to do this. It’s so easy to imagine that just because there isn’t one physical venue your guests will be sharing, you might as well invite everyone you can think of. But if at any point since the onset of this pandemic you’ve been in a Zoom call with more than about 10 people, you’ll probably already know how chaotic it can be, with people easily talking over each other.
I’ve suggested 10 as a number, but again, you will need to decide what constitutes a comfortable and manageable limit for you. But do please ensure you only invite people who will also be receiving invites to the wedding. The fact that you’ll be throwing your engagement party virtually doesn’t mean that all of the traditional rules of engagement party etiquette can or should be ditched.
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Figure out what food and decor you want
Even the most casual virtual engagement party should still feel like a party. After all, this is a really special event, even if it’s merely the precursor to the ‘big one’! You should therefore still think carefully about the food and decor, which add so much to the atmosphere of an engagement party.
But how do you arrange all of these things when you have the obvious physical distance barrier between you and your guests? Well, as far as the food is concerned, you can always set a menu and encourage your guests to prepare something really easy to make, such as muffins or a cheese and charcuterie board. So many companies have actually emerged over lockdown that deliver things like letterbox charcuterie boards or afternoon teas to people’s doors.
As for the decor, you can really emphasise that feeling of sharing in the celebration together by sending party decoration kits in the post to your attendees a few weeks in advance. They will then be able to use these to decorate their backdrop on the video call. For example, what about sending out some balloons, banners and confetti to your attendees. Many party suppliers, such as GO International, have a dedicated engagement theme range.
COVID-19 has sadly put a downer on a lot of things over the past year, but your engagement party doesn’t have to be one of them. I love the Hitched website’s own recent article on organising a lockdown engagement celebration, which will hopefully give you some more great ideas. Get all of these things right, and I’m sure that you, your sweetheart and your guests will have a fantastic time.
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