After Bala proposed to me in Kerala last year, i automatically assumed that I would have to throw an engagement party for our family and friends. I remembered that my brother and sister-in-law did so I thought it was a must!
When I realized that it wasn’t, I went back on forth and finally decided against it. I knew that it was going to be an expensive year ahead for us so why spend money now that we didn’t have to? When my mum found out about our decision, she was on a mission to convince us that the party was a must! I am really glad that she pushed us to host one because it was definitely worth it!! I personally believe that you should make the most of every celebration that you have the opportunity to experience. Life is so unpredictable and you never know what tomorrow will bring so cherish and celebrate every little thing!
That being said, I do believe it is really important to never spend out of your means- especially to impress or please anyone around you. If you think an engagement party is out of your budget, I have shared some great tips below on how you can save money when hosting yours!
1. Forget the frills!
If you don’t have the budget to pay attention to small details then don’t! No one is going to miss the baby rose that you wanted to lay beside each place card or the shiny gold paper you wanted to print your invitations on! Although I love and appreciate attention to detail, the purpose of an engagement party is not to have the fanciest decor or extravagant party favours for your guests.
I am so happy that we hosted our engagement party because we had an amazing time with our family and friends and created a beautiful memory that we can now carry with us. When I think back on our engagement party the first thought that brings a huge smile to my face is the game my sister organized for Bala and I. We had such a fun time answering questions about our relationship and each other and we laughed the whole way through!! What I’m trying to get across is, one of my favourite parts of the night didn’t cost us a penny!
Forget the unnecessary frills that don’t fit into your budget and focus on the necessities like food and venue!
2. Host a backyard potluck!
When we hosted our engagement party, a large portion of our budget was spent on the venue and the caterer. Instead of booking an expensive venue, you can easily host a beautiful party right in your backyard! I have shared some pictures below to inspire you!
One of the best purchases my mum and I ever made online is our backdrop stand! Click here to purchase the one we have. We use it for all of our family parties!
A lot of you might think a potluck is tacky! I disagree! If you don’t have the budget to host a huge party then there is nothing wrong with hosting a potluck and inviting your closet friends and family who I doubt would have any complaints about bringing their own dish! If you’re hesitant to host a potluck, you can also ask your immediate family members to come over the day before and/or the morning of to help you prepare the food. In my family, parties have always been about helping one another prepare the food, set up the venue, and clean up the mess afterwards! It’s all part of the fun! Don’t forget to return the favour the next time someone in your family hosts a party!
3. Narrow down the guest list
Your engagement party is a time for you and your significant other to celebrate your new journey together with your closest family and friends. It’s a time for both of your families to meet and get to know one another! This shouldn’t be a time for you to worry about whose going to get mad at who if you don’t invite them. Think about who you truly want to celebrate this new chapter of your lives with and keep your guest list small.
4. Start planning early!
When you’re in a race with time, you are much more likely to spend a little more on things because you are eager to cross items off your to-do list. When you give yourself enough time to plan the party, you can shop around for the cheapest options available.
My mum started making decor pieces for the party, like bows for the chairs and the fabric piece for the backdrop, and I started shopping for centre pieces and looking at venues as soon as we made the decision to host the party. If we waited until the last minute, we might have been tempted to hire a decor company or we might have had to book a really expensive venue if the cheaper alternatives were already booked!
Visit your local dollar stores and thrift shops- you can find a lot of cute pieces to use as decor if you take the time to look around! DIY projects are definitely not always the cheapest route to take- I have made some quite pricey DIYs. However, you can put together unique and beautiful pieces that look like you spend way more than you actually did! It’s also a fun way to spend time with your significant other and add some personal touches to your party.
5. Prioritize What’s Important
Sit down with your significant other and make an expense list for the party. Then take turns picking your top two or three items that are important to you. This makes it easier for you to determine what you can cross out, cut down or compromise on.
6. Assign tasks to your family and friends!
If you have a friend that takes really awesome photos, ask them to capture some of the moments. If you have a cousin that is not afraid to get on a stage and make people laugh, ask them to be the emcee. Maybe you have an aunt that makes an amazing dessert- ask her to make some for your party! Be mindful of what you’re asking from your family and friends- don’t set ridiculous expectations or ask for the impossible. Make sure that the tasks you hand out won’t prevent them from enjoying the party!
This new chapter in your lives should not involve maxing out your credits cards or burying yourself in debt. This new chapter should be exciting and fun and these special events should be shared with your closest family and friends. Focus on creating beautiful memories and having a good time rather than on the material things! Happy planning!