Engagement Party Ideas that Take the Cake

Kate and Company, Surprise Engagement
Photo: Kate and Company

When it comes to throwing an engagement party, the element of surprise is, of course, only one of many factors. An engagement party is a time to celebrate you and your partner's commitment to each other, and it's also a time for your friends and family to celebrate what they love most about you as a couple. If you're looking for surprise engagement party ideas, we've rounded up a few of those in this gallery chock full of other ideas as well. Although we love to think of ourselves as party-planning whizzes, we referred to the experts for some sage engagement party idea advice. Kate Turner began Kate + Company, a Saint Louis, Missouri event design house, in 2012 with the goal of helping her clients create lasting moments for their photo albums (and social media feeds) for years to come. If you don't have a specific vision for your engagement party in mind, don't worry, Turner says, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and magazine clippings all serve as inspiration for your "We're headed to the altar" celebration. Not a social media junkie? Don't worry. Even the stores that you shop at can help you discern an overall aesthetic and mood that best fits your special occasion, Turner says. Whether you're in the mood for casual backyard engagement party ideas or just searching for engagement party decoration ideas, we're here to inspire a memorable celebration for you and your partner.

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Sit Down, Outdoor Event

Beautiful outdoor party venue
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Looking for a dreamy night under the stars to celebrate your future together? Book the patio at your favorite restaurant for a private event, or even turn your own backyard into a secluded oasis. "We had a client recently who hosted a party in the old horse pastures behind their house," Turner says. "We created fun living room styles of seating floating in the middle of a wide-open space and then utilized hidden poles in the ground to string lights overhead. It was a night, under the stars, to remember!"

When searching for a pretty way to illuminate your outdoor space, consider solar-powered lights, or another lighting alternative to minimize the footprint of your event, Turner suggests. For an inexpensive table arrangement, turn to grocery store flowers and use eclectic vases from a second-hand store. Remember, a party doesn't have to break the bank in order to look well-planned and offer a good time!

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Theme Night

Kate and Company, The Night Before Christmas in July Party
Kate and Company

One engagement party idea that is sure to be unique to each couple is a party themed around how you met each other. This style of event is one of the most fun variations that Kate and Company planned, Turner says. "The client met in the early 2000s at a tacky Christmas party, but the engagement party was in July," she says. "We designed a Tacky Christmas in July theme and we decorated the hosts home with a myriad of holiday decor."

For another themed idea, college sweethearts could ask their guests to show up in their alma mater's colors, and throw a tailgate-themed party.

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A Formal Affair

formal attire, waiting in lobby
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Offer your guests a chance to don their favorite suit or gown for an upbeat night. Maybe you book your favorite downtown hotel for the occasion, or it could simply be a gathering at your house with a formal dress code, like a masquerade night. "We are seeing elevated engagement parties," Turner says. "People are looking for any and every reason to celebrate so we are seeing more formal-meets-fun events for engagement parties."

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Surprise Engagement Party

Kate and Company, Surprise Engagement
Kate and Company

So, you know you're ready to pop the question to your partner, but also want to have plans in place for a fun evening after they say yes. One of the easiest ways to come up with surprise engagement party ideas is to plan your proposal around another holiday or celebration, Turner says.

You could pop the question at a sentimental place and then have friends and family waiting around the corner with an engagement themed gelato cart. A sweet way to top off one of the best days of your lives.

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Budget Friendly Party Ideas

tex mex engagement dinner
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If you're looking to host an engagement party, but don't want to break the bank early into your wedding budget, Turner suggests keeping food simple. Serving something delicious that you can prepare yourself is one of the easiest ways to save money.

Turner suggests: "Plan a taco party, prepping all the meat ahead of time, accompanied by curated bowls of toppings. Simplify your bar and offer two types of margaritas and beer. Alternatively, host a DIY pizza night, and renting a pizza oven. Make dough balls in advance, and allow guests to have fun rolling out their pizzas, choosing their toppings, and cooking in the oven. You could round out the design with custom aprons for the couple, chefs hats, and a choice of Italian wines."

Keep in mind that you don't have to overdo every aspect of an engagement party, or you might run into only half-way doing everything, Turner says. Invest in unique moments, then simplify or DIY other areas.

"Remember to always design from a guest comfort perspective first," she adds. "No one wants to attend an event that has six different Instagrammable moments but a cash bar."

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