Q I just got engaged (yay!) and a coworker told me about your site. Thank you for existing! So now that I’m getting into the planning of our wedding and setting a date, etc., I’m hearing from my  friends that we should have an engagement party. Who throws that for us? Parents, family, friends, us? How does it all come about? Start from the beginning … I’m new to this! Thank you in advance.

A Congrats on your engagement! What an exciting time in your life this is. By all means, a celebration would be wonderful. An engagement party isn’t required, but it’s a wonderful way to kick off the wedding festivities and announcing your engagement to the world—or rather, your world. It’s also a lovely time for your friends and family to get to know one another. Plus, if one family is showing any hesitation over your engagement and the other isn’t, this is a perfect place for them to pick up a few lessons on how to better support your plan to wed.

You can have it anywhere in any style that you like. There’s no right way or place for an engagement party. It can be a BBQ held at a pool or a lavish dinner at a luxe hotel.

As for who throws it, there are no rules here. Tradition used to be that the parents of the bride gave the engagement party, but practicality (and the presence of two brides, a bride and broom, or two grooms) translates to anyone can host it. As for who to invite, only invite those who will be invited to the wedding. Yes, this means it’s time to get your list finalized!

There are some rules for when to have your engagement party: No less than two months after the engagement and at least six months before the wedding.

The guests can be invited to the party in honor of the couple, but don’t mention that it’s an engagement party. It’ll ruin the surprise announcement!

Keep in mind that gifts shouldn’t be expected at this celebration, nor should they be opened at the party. Don’t worry! You’ll get plenty later.