Bride-to-be Blogger Stephanie: Our (So Fun!) Engagement Party

Stephanie and Pat, dancing the night away at their engagement party!

When I got engaged, I was simply euphoric. What was remarkable was that my family and friends were just as elated.

Three of my co-workers had dropped me off at the train station the day I got engaged. I remember how insistent my coworker Kaitlyn had been about making the 2pm train, that it was fine to get down to DC as early as possible that weekend. As the car pulled away from the curb and they watched me pass through the 30th Street Station doors, my coworkers Amanda and Charlotte squealed in revelation, “Oh my god, she’s getting engaged, isn’t she?” And when Kaitlyn—in on the plan—confirmed, the car erupted in screams of glee. Brimming with excitement and feeling compelled to share the news with anyone she could, Amanda went on to tell the cashier at the grocery store and her taxi driver later that night all about her friend’s engagement.

Upon hearing the news, my best friend Emily—out at bar with her all-male coworkers—broke into full sobs. Pat’s grandmother called me that night and said, “If I traveled across the world, I could never have found someone more perfect for Pat,” while his grandfather comically added, “He’s such a show-off.” Pat’s Aunt Maryanne, who had begun building our “trousseau” with monogrammed towels and Waterford glasses long before Pat even started contemplating rings, just kept screaming,“Finally!” over and over again.

My phone exploded with beautiful messages, and my Facebook wall filled with congratulations from the people who had been apart of our lives—from grade school to college, from Philadelphia to Miami and Washington, from those we met sailing across the globe on Semester at Sea.

The feeling was incredible—to feel like my joy was being shared by so many of the people I care about. I could have never even dreamt of it. So why not have a party to celebrate this mutual happiness? And so the plans began for an engagement party.

First course of business was the guest list; who to include and not include proved nearly impossible. Not seeking to replicate the wedding list, yet still hoping to invite those most important to us, was an endeavor that ended in huge guest list, nonetheless. Both of us have huge families, and factoring in a few of our friends took us to a crazy number. But there were still those that I would have loved to have there—particularly my younger cousins—but we tried to keep the numbers as low as we could.

After determining that we would have the party at my parent’s house, next up was invitations, which my mom and I quickly discovered we disagreed on. My mom was looking for elegant and formal, while I was simply searching for fun. After reviewing and debating multiple designs and fonts, we finally settled on a gorgeous invite in the shape of a ring box that was classy but still fun.

I then began looking into DJs. As per my last post, I believe a party isn’t a party unless there’s some fantastic music and dancing. We got a great DJ recommendation, and soon enough I was sending over my playlist and my quite extensive do-not-playlist. I poured over potential songs for days, contemplating whether to go old school, new school, all fast, classic. It was fun research. I consulted my brother, dad, and sister, and we all sat one night playing from our iPods, discussing the merits of each song.

When the day finally came, I was excited but anxious, slightly fearful of how our two families would mix. Well, there was nothing to worry about. With no real introductions necessary, everyone was mingling and enjoying each other’s company.

Seeking to avoid any more disagreements, I left most/the rest of the details of the engagement party to my mom, and she did a wonderful job—very thoughtfully incorporating many of the décor ideas I had shown her in magazine cutouts and Pinterest. The house truly looked stunning.

We had some delicious food and champagne before everyone hit the dance floor: our back patio. It was a gorgeous but humid evening, so it was not long before everyone looked like they had just finished running a marathon. But the heat didn’t keep anyone from having a blast. Everyone was dancing, and all kinds of personalities came alive. The pictures afterwards—the evidence—told some pretty hysterical stories. My analysis of the songs that got everyone out on the floor: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” “Call Me Maybe,” “Runaround Sue,” and anything MJ.

The party eventually winded down around 2am after the cops came and told us to turn the music down! Amusingly, they were rather nonchalant about it. Totally exhausted, I couldn’t wait to get to bed. But I went to bed utterly satisfied and content. To have so many of the important people in my life in one room celebrating our happiness was just unreal and so special. The party could not have gone really any better, and if it’s any indication of how the wedding will go, we’re in store for a really great party!

Did you decide to do an engagement party? How did you decide on things like the guest list and music?

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.