How to Decorate for an Engagement Party

Your engagement party is your chance to set your creativity loose and have some fun before you get stuck into the nitty gritty world of wedding planning. Couples are often a lot more relaxed when it comes to planning an engagement party as they’re often not quite as formal as the wedding itself, which means you have the opportunity to go to town and throw any type of bash you like.

As part of that, you can be as imaginative and as unique as you like with your engagement party decorations. Whether you want to go all out and immerse your guests in a different world, or keep things subtle with a few floral notes and balloons, you’re free to do whatever you want.

But where do you start? What should you think about before adding items to your online shopping basket? What decor is considered an engagement party must-have? In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know when decorating your engagement party to make sure you have everything you need for the perfect celebration.

Do you need decor at your engagement party?

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Whether or not you have decor at your engagement party is purely down to you, your preferences and tastes, and your budget. The engagement party is just one expense of many during the journey towards your wedding, so you might want to keep the costs related to your engagement party on the smaller side. After all, the average cost of a wedding is £19,184, which is a heck of a lot of money for most people.

But, it’s not like you’re hosting just another party. It’s your engagement party – an excuse to push the boat out a little and make it something your guests will remember.

It also depends on the theme of your party. If you’re going hard on the theme, like Mardi Gras or Casino night, you’ll need plenty of decorations to get the immersion you’re going for. If you’re going for a style or theme that’s a little more relaxed, like a garden barbecue or beach party, you can get away with using far fewer decorations – or even none at all. Do what’s best for you, your preferences and the money you have to spare – and think a little bit about the overall experience of your guests too.

What should you think about before buying your engagement party decorations?

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Once you’ve decided to throw an engagement party it can be super easy to start buying everything you can think of that has Mr, Mrs, We’re engaged, or I said yes! on it. If this is you, and you’re sat waiting for the Amazon delivery driver as you read this, that’s absolutely fine. But, before you get too carried away, there are a few things you should think about first.

What’s the theme of your engagement party?

Your chosen theme will be one of the main driving factors behind the decorations you buy. For example, if you order a lovely floral welcome sign but then decide to have a Hollywood red carpet-themed party, you might start to wonder if you should have switched the floral sign for one themed to a vanity mirror.

What’s the budget for your engagement party?

With your upcoming wedding, you probably won’t want to spend too much on your engagement party – and that includes your decor. When it comes to weddings, couples spend an average of £1,000 on professionally-sourced decor, so you might not want to spend anything close to this for your engagement party. Whatever budget you set aside, make sure you know what you have before you make your first purchase.

Where are you hosting your engagement party?

The amount of decor you go for is also influenced by your chosen venue. If you’re hosting a party at home or the home of a relative, you can probably get away with having just a few simple decorations. If you have a set theme and you’ve hired a venue, you might want to dedicate a portion of your budget to decor so that the theme comes across clearly. The bigger the venue, the more you’re likely to spend on decorations.

What are essential engagement party decorations?

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Depending on the theme of your engagement party, there are loads of different decorations you could pick up, whether it’s something for the tables, something to hang on the walls or ceilings, or something unique and eye-catching that makes for a great photo opportunity.

But, regardless of your theme and whether or not you have a lot of budget to play with, some decorations are considered essential by many couples. Below are eight decorations that are perfect for every engagement party.

  1. Party balloons. Nothing screams party time quite like balloons. The best part is, balloons come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, and can feature designs personalised to you and your theme.
  2. Welcome sign. Greet your guests to your party with a welcome sign that lets them know they’ve come to the right place.
  3. Centrepieces and name cards. If you’re hosting a meal or have any kind of table plan, table centrepieces and name cards are a must-have. You’ll also want a chalkboard or easel so your guests know exactly where to sit.
  4. Unique lighting. Create a warm and welcoming ambience with unique lighting, such as candles, fairy lights or lanterns.
  5. Flowers. You might not want to fill your venue with them, but one or two flower arrangements remind your guests they’re there to celebrate your love.
  6. Banners. Banners let everyone know you’re getting married and are fairly affordable. If banners don’t suit your theme, some lovely bunting will also do the trick.
  7. Confetti/petals. Add a little more of a romantic feel with some confetti or petals.
  8. Guest book. Make sure you have a guest book so your friends and family can leave you messages of congratulations.

Think about the lighting

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Depending on your chosen venue, or whether or not your engagement party (either in part or completely) takes part outside, you should carefully consider what kind of lighting you want to use at your engagement party.

  1. Rainbow lights. In the right setting, colourful lighting can work very nicely. After all, it would be weird to have an 80s disco theme and not have a thousand colours lighting up the dancefloor.
  2. Candles/lanterns. Choose soft, warm lighting to create a warm and romantic atmosphere. Candles and lanterns will cast dancing shadows as they gently flicker, while candelabras make for great table centrepieces (and you can pick up candles to put in them for next to nothing.
  3. A bonfire. If you’re outside and in a safe location, a bonfire will create a brilliant atmosphere with the added bonus of your guests being able to make s’mores.
  4. Fairy lights. Fairy lights are useful for adding a touch of magic and whimsy – the great thing is, battery-powered fairy lights are also fairly inexpensive. You might also get away with busting out the Christmas lights to wrap around doorframes or the edge of a table.
  5. Spotlights/projections. If you want to go all out, spotlights are brilliant for making a statement and will light the outside of your venue for all to see. Similarly, projections can turn the outside of your home into whatever you like – make it rain confetti, turn it into a living Van Gogh painting or simply play a movie to keep the kids entertained.

Can you make your own engagement party decorations?

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Yes, making your own engagement party decorations might take a little time and effort, but it can help you save a lot of money and still give you fantastic, personalised decor. If you and your partner are crafty, it’s a great way to spend time together while you chat about your plans for the engagement party and beyond.

5 DIY engagement party decoration ideas

Here are just a few ideas for engagement party decor you can make yourself, even if you’re not particularly arty.

  1. Banners and signage made from a chalkboard, wood or card. If you’re not comfortable using paint, stencils are cheap and offer a professional finish.
  2. Paper flowers are dead easy and quick to make and there are plenty of video tutorials available on YouTube. Any type of origami makes for a unique decoration, and you should be able to find designs related to you and your interests.
  3. A nest of fairy lights inside a jar or vase takes almost no effort but looks fantastic.
  4. Dig through old photos or print off a few at home to create a collage of memories.
  5. Table numbers made using découpage are simple and look great even if you don’t have any experience.

For more cost-cutting ideas, read our post on how to save money on wedding decorations.

10 tips for decorating your engagement party

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When you’re ready to buy and make decorations for your engagement party, make sure you think about the below tips to make the most of your budget and have a fabulously on-theme bash.

  1. Choose your theme but don’t feel the need to stick to it too strictly. Even a loose theme can work wonders.
  2. Set your budget and don’t be tempted to overspend. Think about the end goal: hosting an amazing wedding with everything and everyone you want.
  3. Make what you can yourself to save even just a little bit of money.
  4. One or two floral arrangements in a carefully selected spot can have a big impact and save you the need to spend hundreds on flowers.
  5. Ask family and friends if they have any old decorations stored in the attic or away in a drawer somewhere that they wouldn’t mind you borrowing.
  6. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. You might want to go big for your engagement party, but why not save it for the wedding itself?
  7. Make sure you test any lighting you have before the night of the party. The last thing you want is duff bulbs, dead batteries or blown fuses as your guests start to arrive.
  8. If you’ve hired a venue, ask them what kind of decor they might have that you can utilise. Consider hiring a venue with its own natural beauty to keep any decor costs to a minimum.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – when it comes to your wedding, plenty of people can find a way to lend a hand.
  10. Introduce personalisations in cost-effective ways, such as using decor with your initials rather than your whole name. They’ll be easier to find and likely a lot cheaper too.

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After you’ve thrown the most amazing engagement party, it’s time to organise your wedding in earnest. Sign up to Bridebook today to plan your perfect big day.

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Happy Planning!