In the wake of engagement season, when statistically the highest number of couples pop the question, celebrating the partners-to-be is the order of the day. And while renting a waterfront venue in downtown Seattle can be quite the shindig — the ideal place to host an engagement party may actually be a lot closer. Backyard engagement parties are primed to be a laidback affair where all the guests (and dare we say even the hosts) have fun and connect.
Start with the Guest List
As with all parties, the guest list dictates the party. Namely, how many people are on the guest list. This helps you determine how much space you need. How much seating you need. And, how much food you need.
Use Bar Height Furniture to Encourage Mingling
Backyard engagement parties thrive on chatting and mingling. A single outdoor dining table at the center of your patio does not a mingle-worthy party make. While you may indeed want to serve a sit-down dinner, consider the before and after too.
Facilitate conversation with bar height outdoor stables (40 to 42 inches high). This helps friends and family comfortably chat while they enjoy cocktails or hors d’oeurves.
Pick a Theme
The theme of your engagement party doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a theme can make it easy to pick arrangements, choose invitation styles, and set a menu. When it comes to outdoor engagement parties, some of the best themes include:
- Backyard BBQ
- Cocktail Party
- Afternoon Tea
- Wine and Cheese
- Love Blossoms
Not sure what theme would be best? Ask the couple. They may have something in mind they want or be able to help you avoid a theme they wouldn’t enjoy.
Send Invitations ASAP
As soon as possible, send invites — whether they are printed or electronic. As much notice as possible allows guests to block out the event on the calendar. It lets them consider whether or not they’re comfortable coming. (If they’re still practicing very strict physical distancing, they may not be.) And, it helps you plan how much stuff you need.
Just be sure to put a clear RSVP by date. It may be that you even need to follow up with another email and/or phone call to confirm.
Decorating Your Outdoor Space
Don’t feel the need to go CRAZY with your outdoor decorations — unless the elaborate party is your thing. Generally speaking, simply sprucing up your existing outdoor décor is enough.
You’ll want to make sure your landscaping is tended to. Shrubs and flowers have been given some TLC. The grass is mowed. Any flooring that has some winter wear is given a fresh scrub.
Another element to consider is your outdoor lighting. Candles can add some ambiance when place on tabletops. String lights can help make an outdoor space more intimate. If you’ve been considering some new solar lanterns for your outdoor space, this could be the perfect time to get a twofer — new décor for your patio and decorations.
Plan a Few Games
One of the beauties of an outdoor engagement party is the whimsy of a few friendly outdoor games. They don’t have to be over the top and cause your guests to break a sweat. Rather, keep them simple and fun, to keep the mood light and the conversation flowing. These could include:
- Corn hole
- Kan Jam
- Ring toss
- Giant Connect 4
- Giant Jenga
Keep the Menu Simple
A multi-course meal is a huge undertaking. The dishes alone can be cumbersome, not to mention the food prep and timing. Rather than plan on a wildly elaborate meal that guests may expect at a fine dining restaurant, embrace the backyard feel. Let the theme of the party guide the menu, and make it a DIY grazing event.
For instance, you backyard BBQ engagement party can mean a spread of buns, meats, and condiments. Guests can then assemble their own perfect sandwich or dog. A taco bar is another fan favorite that’s easy and lasts well throughout the evening.
If you really want something more elevated, look for dishes that can easily be prepared in advance. Marinated meats that can be thrown on the grill quickly are another easy meal. So is a charcuterie spread loaded with fruits, vegetables, cheese, and meats.
Plus, don’t overlook the drinks. A few cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks are a definite must for any great party.