Fun Engagement Party Themes and Planning Tips

engagement party decor
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here—you’re engaged!

Congratulations are in order but first, take in the moment. Enjoy your now fiancé and the fact that no one knows this awesome news. When you’re ready to share your engagement, get creative with how you tell family and friends.

One of the best ways to share the news is with a party! These days, couples are taking over and planning their own engagement party. If you’re not sure where to start, wedding stationery company, Wedding Paper Divas, compiled 50 ideas and themes that you can browse through. Check it out here!

After you figure out which direction you want to head for your engagement party, it’s time to start thinking of the venue, decor and guest list. If this is all new to you, keep reading for my engagement party planning tips.

engaged couple

Engagement Party Etiquette and Tips

Purpose of an engagement party – The purpose of an engagement party is to celebrate the couple’s engagement, pure and simple, and to help family members to get to know each another before the wedding day.

Who do we invite? – Keep in mind that just as with a bridal shower, those invited to an engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. The absolute “have to invite” people include the immediate families of the couple, their close friends, and the wedding party members (if they have been selected already).

Are gifts required? – No they are not. Again, the purpose of an engagement party is to formally announce and celebrate the engagement, and allow family members of both sides to get to know each other. Some guests may wish to bring a gift, but it isn’t necessary.

Who hosts the engagement party? – Unlike a shower, gifts are not expected. Because of this, anyone can host an engagement party (the couple can host if they choose, or either set of parents).

What should guests be served? – It depends on the style of the party. If it’s a dinner party, then some sort of substantial meal is expected, although a party with just snacks and simple desserts, or a buffet with finger foods can be just as enjoyable (as long as the time of the event doesn’t fall during a typical dinner time).

cupcakes

Does the engagement party’s theme have to match the theme of the wedding? – Not at all. The host can choose any theme he/she wants, as long as it is reflective of the happy couple. Like the rehearsal dinner, an engagement party should not be grander than the wedding. Remember to check out Wedding Paper Divas for fun engagement party ideas.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

For more ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Sunshine, Rain, and Your Wedding Day

Cloud to ground lightning strikes

Sitting here in my family room listening to the rain. Not a relaxing patter on the window. It is thundering and coming down hard.

I mean HARD!

So hard, that even with a rain coat and umbrella you’d get drenched.

The sun was shining not just 20 minutes ago! It was nice enough to do a little yard work, or sit outside and have lunch.

But now we’ve got a thunderstorm.

“Why in the world is she talking about the weather?” you’re probably thinking.

From weddings held at parks and shelter houses, to backyards, and venues with lovely outdoor settings – outdoor weddings are on the rise. And with outdoor weddings, you’ve got to contend with the weather.

In a perfect world, it would never rain (and the wind would only be a comfortable breeze) on your wedding day.

In the real world, Mother Nature may have other ideas. And it’s not just rain. There may be wind storms, an unusual cold front, or high humidity or a heat wave.

sun

You can’t really combat this (the weather is going to be what it is), but you can plan ahead in case the weather isn’t cooperative. What if you have rain on your wedding day (or other inclement weather)?

Have a “Plan B” for your wedding with an alternate indoor (or appropriately sheltered/air conditioned/heated) site, and discuss this with your wedding coordinator, as other set-up logistics will be affected. Inform your venue manager and other vendors of your “Plan B,” and let them know who the person is who will designate if “Plan B” has to be put in place.

rainy wedding at seashore

Some things to take into consideration:

1) Your other vendors needs
• How long does your florist need to set up? Is she decorating an arch and placing lots of flowers along the sides of the aisle, or does she just have to set down a couple floral arrangements?
• Your photographer, videographer, dj, musicians all have equipment that cannot get wet.

2) The comfort of your guests.
• Will there be high humidity, compounded by guests having to sit in the sun?
• Even if the rain has stopped, has the ground been left so slick and muddy that it is unsafe to walk on?

3) The proximity of the site for “Plan B” from your original site
• Is it close enough to be able to direct guests to the “building on the right” instead of the “clearing on the left?”
• Or will your guests have to drive to a second location?

Most of the time plans go as intended, and here’s hoping that you have beautiful weather on your wedding day. But, have a solid “Plan B” in place, and remember, you’re marrying the love of your life, and celebrating this with your closest friends and family!

just married rain

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more wedding planning tips and ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

It’s Time to Celebrate “National Goof Off Day”

National Goof Off Day
You’re engaged, and been immersed with all things wedding – venue searches, menu tastings, scheduling photographer appointments, working on the guest list . . .

The list seems to go on and on, and you need a break!

Today is the perfect day for that break. March 22 is National Goof Off Day.

Celebrate by relaxing, doing something fun, and just plain goofing off.

Put your feet up. Go to a movie. Read a book. Binge watch something on Netflix. Be silly.

Find something that you enjoy doing, anything, and do it.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Tips for Crafting Your Perfect Wedding Reception Playlist

musical notes

Without question, you’re going to have music at your wedding reception. But picking out these wedding songs and other music may be one of the most difficult things you’ll do. With the hundreds of thousands of songs out there, yeah, it can definitely be daunting.

You’ll want songs that you and your fiancé like (it is YOUR wedding, after all). But what about your guests?

Brian Harris, DJ and MC with Brian Harris Entertainment says, “When choosing songs that you want to dance to, think about the guests that you have invited. Try to choose songs that fit their taste in music as well as your own. Typically a wide range from oldies to hip hop will satisfy everybody’s love of music.”

Include a variety of songs (and styles) that will

• please a diverse group of people (from grandma and other elderly guests, to 10 year olds)

and

• keep people on the dance floor, (while making guests feel like they’re at your wedding reception and not out clubbing)

Where to start?

• What songs and music genres do you and your fiancé like (and don’t like)?

• What is the energy level that you want for your reception? Do you want high energy, or more low key?

• Are your guests a “dancing crowd” or do they prefer to sit back, listen to the music, and visit with each other?

Need inspiration?

Sometimes you need more inspiration than just flipping through your CD collection.big stack of cd`sDJ Intelligence has compiled multiple music lists based on the most requested songs across the country, including the “Top 200 Most Requested Songs,” the “Top 100 Most Requested DO NOT PLAY Songs,” and the “Top 50 Most Requested First Dances” to help you determine what you want to hear (and don’t want to hear) at your wedding.

So what’s popular in our neck of the woods (Dayton, Ohio)?

Brian Harris also shared the Top 5 Requested Wedding Reception Songs he’s been seeing:

1) Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”

2) Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop This Feeling”
3) Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing”
4) V.I.C. – “Wobble”
5) Silento – “Watch Me”

and the

Top 5 Do Not Play Wedding Reception Songs are:

1) Chicken Dance
2) Hokey Pokey
3) Village People – “YMCA”
4) Rednex – “Cotton Eyed Joe”
5) Los Del Rio – “Macarena”

Once you’ve selected songs for your reception, be sure to give your DJ room to go “off script.” Sometimes the songs you’ve picked out (even if they are great songs) just don’t keep guests on the dance floor. A professional DJ knows how to read the crowd and play the music that will have the effect you want.

Brian says, “The less that the DJ’s hands are tied the more fun he/she can make the mix of music throughout the open dancing portion of the evening and keep your guests there even later into the night, which is probably what you really want, right!? :)”

Song titles that he recommends for a great reception include:

1) Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”
2) Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop This Feeling”

3) Bruno Mars – ” Uptown Funk”
4) KC & the Sunshine Band – ” Boogie Shoes”

5) Usher – “Yeah”

The 2 biggest mistakes couples make when picking out their reception music

1) Choosing way too many songs

We all know nothing stops the momentum of a great party than “dead air” (you know, when the music just stops, and there is nothing playing). To avoid this, you’re probably going to pick out lots of great songs.

But . . .

In reality, a DJ will only be able to play 10 – 15 songs per hour. And at key points of the evening, other things will be going on (ex. announcements, toasts) where there won’t be any music at all. Picking too many songs means you won’t even hear half of what you chose.

2) Wanting all the songs played in a specific order

Don’t try to put all of your chosen songs is a specified order to be played. During the reception, your DJ may need to omit some songs because there just isn’t enough time to play them all, or change up the order to keep the energy going (or to pop in a slow song or two to give your guests a little breather).

Instead, pick out songs that you really want to hear sometime during the night, as well as songs to be played at specific moments, (you know, the Grand Entrance, the First Dance, and Cutting the Cake). Give your DJ guidelines such as what genres and artists you want played, (or don’t want played), then let him/her work their magic.

So, what kind of music do you plan to have at your reception?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo Credit (Music Notes): angelp / 123RF Stock Photo

Photo Credit (Stack of CDs): gemenacom / 123RF Stock Photo

More Ways to Stay Stress Free Before Your Wedding

Wedding
In January I shared 5 proven ways to beat your wedding stress. The following month, Martha Stewart Weddings came out with the article Smart Coping Strategies for the Overwhelmed Bride.

Offering fabulous tips, and stating, “If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by all things wedding-related, take heart in knowing you are not alone,” their wonderful advice includes “Divvy up your to-do list,” “Take a break,” and “Hire an event planner.”

Check out the entire article here, as well as their Tips to Be Stress-Free Before Your Wedding.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Happy Pi Day

pie with pi
Today, March 14, is Pi Day.

It is a day to celebrate the mathematical constant pi (π) and to eat lots of pie.

Pi Day is celebrated in countries that follow the month/day date format, because the digits in the date, March 14 or 3/14, are the first three digits of π (3.14).

How to Celebrate?

Pi is a homophone of pie. Celebrate Pi Day by having lots and lots of pie. (Apple’s my favorite!)

pies

Want pie for dinner? Serve pizza (“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie”).

Have a pie baking contest . . .

. . . followed by a pie eating contest.

Have a pi recitation contest. Anyone who can recite the most digits of the constant gets to take home a pie.

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749567351885752724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190702179860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127145263560827785771342757789609173637178721468440901224953430146549585371050792279689258923542019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309960518707211349999998372978049951059731732816096318595024459455346908302642522308253344685035261931188171010003137838752886587533208381420617177669147303598253490428755468731159562863882353787593751957781857780532171226806613001927876611195909216420198938095257201065485863278865936153381827968230301952035301852968995773622599413891249721775283479131515574857242454150695950829533116861727855889075098381754637464939319255060400927701671139009848824012858361603563707660104710181942955596198946767837449448255379774726847104047534646208046684259069491293313677028989152104752162056966024058038150193511253382430035587640247496473263914199272604269922796782354781636009341721641219924586315030286182974555706749838505494588586926995690927210797509302955321165344987202755960236480665499119881834797753566369807426542527862551818417574672890977772793800081647060016145249192173217214772350141441973568548161361157352552133475741849468438523323907394143334547762416862518983569485562099219222184272550254256887671790494601653466804988627232791786085784383827967976681454100953883786360950680064225125205117392984896084128488626945604241965285022210661186306744278622039194945047123713786960956364371917287467764657573962413890865832645995813390478027590

Wear Pi – have the numbers or symbol on a tee shirt, or don pi shaped earrings or necklace.

pi necklace

Eat foods that start with a pi, including pineapples, pinto beans, (rice) pilaf, pistachios, pickles, and pizza.

If you’re a man, wear some Pi cologne by Givenchy.

pi givenchy

Check out some fun Pi facts at Joy of Pi.

Watch the 1998 movie, Pi, by Darren Aronofsky.

Watch the 2012 movie, Life of Pi, by Ang Lee.

Although it’s unlikely that you’re going to be having your wedding on Pi Day anytime soon. It won’t be another 3 years before March 14 falls on a Saturday, but weekday weddings DO happen.

If you do want to incorporate a nod to Pi Day in your wedding, you can serve a variety of pies, or individual mini pies to your guests instead of (or alongside) a traditional wedding cake. Or you can serve pizza for dinner, or as a fun late-night reception snack.

mini heart shaped pizzas
Photo credit: foodandmore / 123RF Stock Photo

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!