Engagement Party 101 { Advice }

Posted by The YesBabyDaily Team on 20 February 2014

Engagement Party 101

Planning an Engagement Party

So you’re planning an engagement party, congratulations! For many couples an engagement party is a must to celebrate this amazing milestone with friends and family, although working out what to spend on your celebration can be a little tough. No one wants to blow their savings before the wedding, and your fiance has just had to pay for an engagement ring and the proposal. So chances are, you’re looking for something budget-friendly, but still an amazing event to commemorate this exciting new journey you are going to embark on as a couple.

There are lots of ways you can be smart about managing the costs of this event, and no one expects your engagement celebration to be a second wedding. So take a deep breath and relax, we’re here to help you with lots of great options for planning a pocket-friendly engagement party with all the beautiful special touches and unique ideas our members have come to expect from us!

planning your engagement event

1. First things first.

We get lots of emails from our members asking us about engagement party timing. Questions like, “How soon should we throw our engagement party?” and “We got engaged six months ago, do you think we should just leave it and save for the wedding?”. It’s never too late to throw a special engagement celebration. But our advice would be that before you head down the planning path, establish your budget and expectations. This will allow you to build a realistic idea of what you can and can’t do.

Most parents will want to bless this new chapter in your relationship with a gift. A suggestion is asking them instead to contribute to your engagement party. If asking for money is something you would prefer not to do, you might find a specific item you could ask them to get for the event. Examples are a few bottles of wine or champagne, covering the venue hire fee, paying for a few canapes or possibly even the entertainment. You will know best what you feel comfortable asking for, and whether or not this is something you could consider.

Sit down as a couple and discuss what you would like to spend on the event, and how you see your celebration. Will it be a dinner at your favourite restaurant, a picnic in the park, a braai with only close friends, or maybe a cocktail party at a family home? Remember that because this is just the engagement party, it is not expected for you to cover everyone’s drinks and to have a paid menu.

Once you’ve got an outline of your budget, you can begin looking at potential dates and venues. And while the date you select is completely reliant on your schedules, we would suggest throwing the party within the first 3 months of your engagement.

engagement parties in south africa

2. The Venue & Style

Once you have a good understanding of what you can spend on the party, you can start compiling a list of potential engagement party venues. Remember to use your budget as a guideline for the type of event you want to throw.

We’ve put together a basic outline below of a few engagement party venue options based on budget brackets and whether you want to throw a relaxed or more formal party.

Conservative Budget Venue Ideas:

A public park or botanical gardens: plan an engagement party picnic in a beautiful local park. Ask guests to bring picnic blankets, snacks & drinks and set up a lovely area with umbrellas and lawn games. You could also create an awesome drinks table with supplied punch and other refreshments as well as have a few special food items catered for.

South African Picnic Engagement Party Venues:

These venues allow you to have a picnic with friends & family without needing to pay venue hire.

Western Cape


More Formal
A restaurant: Call a few of your favourite local restaurants and find out whether or not they will charge venue hire. If not, you have a beautiful engagement party venue at no extra cost! You can have guests pay for their own meals and order off the menu, and have a few bottles of wine on the tables that you provide. You can add a few special touches such as flowers on the tables, candles and pretty table cloths and runners.

South African Restaurant Engagement Party Venues

A few of our favourite restaurant locations for an engagement party.


Western Cape


Medium Budget Venue Ideas


Hotel Pool Area or Amazing Local Bar or Lounge: Before you think we’ve gone crazy, there are lots of incredible hotel entertainment areas around South Africa that offer an elegant but relaxed setting for a beautiful event. We don’t mean the kind of pool party where people bring pool noodles (although they’re kind of awesome) - think more along the lines of a smart casual event with fun cocktails, great music and some amazing decor to tie it all together. The reason that public bar and pool areas work so well for engagement events is that guests can use the cash bar, and you can provide canapes and chosen drinks.

More Formal

Cocktail Party at a Family Home: Throw a beautiful cocktail party at your parent’s home, or the home of a close family member. You can hire a few cocktail tables and serve wine, coolers & beer as well as a few cocktails. Keep the drinks limited to prevent inflated costs. You can also ask guests to bring their own drinks. Cocktail parties mean you can serve canapes, which are generally cheaper than a three-course meal, however fancy finger foods can become very expensive! You might consider either getting family members to help make a few easy snacks. If you get your timing right, your guests won’t expect dinner. Any event at or after 8pm generally means your guests will have eaten beforehand.

Big Budget Engagement Party Venues

If your budget allows, your options are really endless. You can have a catered lunch or dinner somewhere beautiful and hire out an amazing space. Just keep in mind that you won’t want to outshine the wedding!

A few venues we love for engagement parties include:

Shepstone Gardens
Munro Hotel

Western Cape
The Grand Cafe & Beach
Clouds Estate

3. Engagement Party Details & Decor Ideas

Defining your budget and picking the venue really are the biggest milestones when planning your engagement party, once you’ve got your budget sorted and chosen the location, everything else is much easier! So this is the fun part!

You can start thinking about the style & decor of your engagement party. Do you want it to be sophisticated and contemporary, or bohemian and adventurous? Your theme will also come through in your venue choice, so use where you’re throwing the party to help guide you when it comes to your theme & style. Remember, your engagement party doesn’t need to be the same colours or theme as your wedding!

We asked White Weddings to help us put together some engagement party theme inspiration and ideas to go with their awesome deals on engagement party packages. You can use these to inspire you for yours!

engagement party ideas pics
engagement party venues and ideas

Colourful Engagement Party Decor!

decor ideas for your engagement celebration
party ideas for your engagement
colourful engagement party

Love Bird Engagement Party Decor!

love bird engagement party decor
love birds engagement ideas

Get your Dream Engagement Party & Save!

For our newly engaged couples, we have the most amazing special offers from White Weddings! Save on an Engagement Cocktail Party or on a Restaurant Engagement Party.

Find more inspiration

1. See our Engagement Shoot Ideas
2. Browse through beautiful underwater wedding photos
3. Unique & Fun Save the Date Ideas


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