Bow Ties & Wedding Cake: The Rules of Engagement (Parties)

September & October

1 year and 4 months till the wedding

So one of the things they don’t tell you is that when you get engaged, there is a shit ton of things you gotta do. For example: making the official announcement, taking engagement photos, choosing your wedding party and of course- the ENGAGEMENT PARTY.

The last few months have been so packed with planning all these ceremonious little details, I nearly forgot to celebrate my own birthday. Somehow, on top of everything, I managed to squeeze a little birthday dinner in there. Which, in looking back, I am glad I didn’t go all out as I was just exhausted from all the wedding shenanigans.

In my head, I kept thinking I have planned several parties in my life before and this was going to be easy. Boy was I wrong.

There is so much to think about and “so much to CONSIDER” as well. (That’s a new phrase I’ve learned recently) I say consider because planning weddings tends to become a very sensitive thing to all the people around you.

The engagement party, will kick off what I like to call: “Your first attempt at choosing who you consider your closest friends and family.” Because as weddings go, you cannot afford to invite everyone.

Our first encounter with this was planning the engagement parties. We actually had to divide our engagement party into two events: one for friends and one for family.

The friend party would be our opportunity to invite as many people as we possibly could to celebrate with us, but not necessarily invite to the wedding. Since my fiancé and I live in Los Angeles and our immediate family live a few hours away, we thought it be more “considerate” to plan a second one much closer to them.

For our friend party, we took over this super cute wine bar in West Hollywood called V Wine Room. It was just big enough to fit about 75 people comfortably and was a good setting for something more “serious” than the usual Sunday Funday. The friend party was also a great way to still relax and be more silly without having to have family to worry about. You can be drunk and not embarrass yourself (If that’s something your concerned about.) Again, the challenge came in inviting a limited amount of people. Jon and I were paying for appetizers and a champagne toast, it all adds up pretty fast. So again, only close friends, and limited “acquaintances.” A much harder thing to do than it seems.

For the family party we rented out a big open space in a park and threw a big picnic complete with a kiddie bounce house, big white tents, paddle boats and tons of food. We spent the same amount of money to make it special, but had the added bonus of everyone bring food to this pot luck style picnic.

This party was so special to us and we took extra care in knowing that this was first time both our families would be meeting. It was super cute to see all our families talking and getting to know each other, the picnic setting made for the perfect backdrop.

Fun parties aside, there was a lot of quick learning that happened this month too. But I would say the biggest learning came from needing to communicate with all our guests.

To send out invites to both our parties, we used I found it pretty easy and they offered a wide assortment of designs to fit all your invite needs. Paperless post does charge for certain email upgrades, so just be mindful of that. Overall, and I say this as guy who loves a good paper invite, I loved using them. There was a great assortment of designs and it made it easy to communicate with all the guests

For more of what we learned, here is my list from the last two months:

What I learned in September & October

  • In order to host your Engagement Party, you will need everyone’s email address. Especially if you decide to use an online invite site like Paperless Post, Evite, etc.

  • Make sure you ALSO get everyone’s mailing address. This is something that you will use to send Thank You cards and eventually your wedding invites.

  • Invest in good stationary. Whether it’s basic thank you cards (which you will be sending a ton of) or cute “couples stationary” Find some good paper to send your gratitude.

  • When it comes to planning your parties remember, enjoy the moment and take lots of pictures. This is a yearlong journey and having memories of it all is important.

  • When possible, separate family and friend engagement celebrations. That is unless you have a massive house and can afford to do this all together. We loved having family all together and focusing on them.

Till next month,


David Cruz, III

David is the Founder and Creative Director of Finding Cupid. He has been writing about Dating & Relationships for the last five years and is a contributor to Huffington Post, Frontiers Media, Your Tango and many other publications. David can often be found in the greeting card aisle seaching for the ultimate love card, or a bakery making bad decisions for himself.