On this lovely Wedding Wednesday, I’m sharing the next step in the wedding planning process. Last week, I shared what wedding planning book I used to kickstart my ‘Journey to Mrs. Baxter’ festivities and plans (in THIS POST), sooo I thought that it would only make sense to share with you what came next in the process, for me. The engagement partaaay, of course! After all, you do have a huge reason
& rock to celebrate! 😉
Everyone’s wedding journey is different & I am in no way a ‘wedding’ expert. Nor, have I even planned a ton of engagement parties or wedding showers, yet. I was one of the first ones in my close friend group to get married, so I’m sure that I’ll have my fair share of planning to do for my girls when their special times come along!
Although I don’t have a TON of experience when it comes to planning engagement (or wedding related) parties, I can share with you a few secrets of what your bride, soon-to-be Mrs., best friend, soul sista, etc etc etc, will truly want throughout this experience, but may not tell you directly. Every bride does it. We keep some things in because we don’t want to be known as the next Bridezilla that broke loose! Not that speaking your mind and sharing your wants & expectations makes you an instant Bridezilla – it doesn’t the majority of the time – but sometimes brides are afraid that sharing too many of their own opinions will make others think this of them. And let’s be real, every bride ever ultimately just wants their friends’ and family’s support to the fullest throughout this time in their lives. No soon-to-be Mrs. should ever have to worry about not having that ‘I’m here for you’ & ‘I’m on your team’ support system.
Trust me, all of your newly engaged friends have enough on their plates already & this should be the absolute HAPPIEST times of their lives. Encourage that for your girlfriends and then, I PROMISE that they will do the exact same for you once your special time comes along. 🙂
DETAILS (Me): off-white two piece (similar) | Gianni Bini heels (similar here [under $100] & here [on sale] .. my exact pair were last season’s!) | Tiffany charm bracelet | Tory Burch cuff | earrings | Tiffany ring | lips | nails
DETAILS (TJ): white button-down | khaki linen pants (similar) | brown driving shoes
DETAILS (Venue/Party Decor): The Backroom at Awaken, Knoxville TN (used to be Remedy, Knox peeps) | candle sticks | candles | B (metal) | B (gold) | similar ‘love’ canvas sign | similar 3-tier dessert stand | picture frames here, here, here, here | drink stand | metal tubs | lantern | sticks & flowers | Louis catering (If you are local, you MUST go here … one of mine & TJ’s fave restaurants in town!) | mr. & mrs. wine glasses (these would make a great gift!) | step & repeat (aka photo booth back drop)
My closest girlfriends & my family all came together to throw Teej and I such a wonderful engagement party about a month after we got engaged. If you have read mine and TJ’s proposal story HERE, then you know that we got engaged out of town on vacation. So, needless to say, there was no way for us to have one of those ‘surprise’ engagement parties with all of our friends waiting for us after the big question. However, the way the proposal happened & the way that we got to actually enjoy just being with each other all week long after becoming each other’s fiance, is something I wouldn’t ever trade. That time was so special for us!!
With that said, after we returned home to Tennessee, all of our amazing friends and family were just dying to help us celebrate the big news! This really made us even more happy and excited than we already were. One of my favorite sayings is that you always know who your real friends are because they are the ones that are there through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, the weddings, the lengthy graduations, the births & the funerals. So …
TIP: Make your friends’ engagement a big deal. This truly means the world to them and after all, it IS a very big deal. One of your best friends just said ‘Yes!’ to someone who he/she will spend forever with, have babies with, face life struggles with, someone who will also be there in the hospital coming to see YOUR first child after she is born, and so on. Marriage is certainly NO JOKE. And in all honesty, all your friend really wants is for you to be as excited as he/she feels about this time in his/her life. If you have already gone through this process, then you can relate to what I am saying. If you are still waiting for your time to come, you may not fully understand the feelings that your bride & groom are going through until you go through it yourself. I sure didn’t. But that’s the whole point of this tip. 🙂
Once we discussed some venues and ideas for our engagement party with our friends and family, we turned everything over to them, and they began the planning of the whole event. To be honest, TJ and I really didn’t know exactly what to expect until we got to the party ourselves, and that may have been one of the best parts. We were already so focused on the planning of everything else involving our Big Day (which was a LOT in itself), so actually having others plan something for us was honestly really nice. My advice to you all is that if you are able and have the chance to throw your friend an engagement party (or even a wedding shower), then team up with others in the bridal party and take on the responsibility of planning it all for the bride and groom. This was one of the things I appreciated the most throughout my wedding process because as much fun as planning a wedding is, stress definitely comes with it. It was very relieving and nice to take a night off from all of the planning and just go to a party to celebrate without all of the added stress. Everyone who helped out with this event truly outdid themselves, and TJ and I will be forever grateful for the fun memories & celebration! We can’t wait to do the same for our friends, in return.
During the party, we had food, drinks, a band, dancing, speeches & a photo booth. Like most showers or parties regarding a wedding, people will bring gifts from a registry. However, for this party, we didn’t want to get into all of that, so we just agreed that if guests wanted to bring something as a ‘gift’, they could just ‘bring a bottle of wine to share with the soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. Baxter’ (literally … that’s what the invite said!). Teej and I may
or may not have left with many bottles that night. 😉 It was so special that way because people weren’t obligated to bring a gift. It just felt like a TRUE celebration of our love and our new journey together.
Now, let’s be clear. Engagement parties range from all different styles and sizes. This party reflected our personal styles and was just big enough for our closest friends and families, which was perfect for us. Others may be totally different and that is OKAY because this is your one time in life to do whatever the heck ya wanna do, engaged peeps! So, (another tip), be sure to get ideas from your bride/groom of what they are expecting or wanting out of their engagement party. How many guests? How formal? What food? Drinks? Gifts? Dancing?
An engagement party, however, (NOR A SHOWER OR REHEARSAL DINNER .. going ahead and throwing those in there too) should aim to overpower the wedding itself. Your friends are working really hard to make their fairytale day come to life, so look at it as your party being a ‘pep rally’ for the Big Day. Truth is … Please do not take the spot light away from them and their big day. No bride (or groom) would ever feel good about that. Thankfully, all of mine and TJ’s parties, showers and rehearsal dinner lined up perfectly in our eyes with what we wanted for our wedding festivities (big shoutout to all of our hostesses, y’all rocked xo 🙂 ), but I do see a lot of people I know who get some of the excitement of their special day taken away because of certain people and/or parties during the whole process leading up to the wedding. Overall tip … when planning anything wedding related for your friends, it’s best to get some sort of input from them if at all possible.
Lastly, I want to share with you about how much it meant to us to have as many of our friends and family members there as possible. And this goes for all of the events leading up to the wedding. Honestly, there were some times in our wedding process where some of our friends or family couldn’t show up to everything (understandable), and at first, I kinda got my feelings hurt about it. I just felt like they ‘didn’t really care’. And THAT really broke my heart. However, I remember chatting with my sister about it one day and she helped me find some clarity and be more sensible about this situation. After that, I quickly realized that, as a bride, I shouldn’t take those kinds of things personal. Everyone can’t just drop everything in their lives and be at every event just because you are getting married. As silly as that sounds, trust me when I say that almost every bride has probably felt like that’s the case at one point. I mean, this is one of the MOST important times in my life people … HELLO?! Haha, kidding 😉 But, long story short, it did mean the whole world to me and to TJ having as many friends and family as we did at our engagement party and at the other events leading up to our wedding day.
LAST TIP (for the bride & the friends): If you take anything away from this post, take this … I know there are a lot of things that require your attendance, attention, money, etc. when it comes time for a wedding. So, to keep it short and sweet, BRIDES: Don’t take things too personally. Enjoy the ride! FRIENDS & FAM OF THE BRIDE/GROOM: Try your hardest to attend as many parties, celebrations, showers, wedding events that you can during this special time in your bestie’s life. Most of the time, this is a once in a lifetime experience for your friend, & I promise that he/she will remember that forever and will repay you big time when it comes time for the roles to be reversed.
Weddings are so fun (seriously one of my favorite things in life), and the process & events can all be just as amazing! Start your own, or your friend’s, wedding process off with a bang by having a fun engagement celebration to kickoff what is about to be the (best) journey of a lifetime!
If you have any questions regarding engagement parties (or weddings in general), I’d love to help you out. Just shoot me a message HERE.
Thanks for stopping by, and oh yeah … Happy HUMPDAY!