Is It Too Late for Us to Have an Engagement Party?

You could, but should you?

Q:Dear APW,

My fiancx and I got engaged in December 2018. We immediately turned around in January and started the crazy process of buying a house. Because of this, we decided we would wait to have a joint engagement/house warming party so we could celebrate with more friends, even those we weren’t necessarily planning on inviting to the wedding. Plus, we were too busy with home buying stuff to want to fuss with an engagement party yet.

We got pretty lucky and were able to find a place and get moved in by April 2019, so we planned our party for mid-June, invited everyone, etc. And then right at the beginning of June, all hell broke loose. Our sewer line backed up and flooded our house. So we told all our friends that the party was on hold until further notice, but hopefully not too far off in the future.

We then basically spent the entire summer recovering/fixing all the damage from the flood, as well as some other things that went wrong with our new place, to the extent that we still haven’t even properly unpacked all our stuff yet. So…a house warming party is not happening anytime soon.

But I really, really wanted to have an engagement party. It felt okay putting it off for so long back when it was going to be a joint party with the house warming, because then we had the excuse hat we were just waiting to have them both at the same time, but now that that’s not happening, it’s a little less than six months ’til the wedding, and it feels like it’s way too late to reasonably have an engagement party.

Granted, a friend of ours has offered to host one for us, and it’s not as if all our friends don’t know what happened. But every single thing I’ve read about engagement party etiquette says that you’re supposed to have it within three months of getting engaged. And we are way past that point.

So should I just give up my dream of having an engagement party and just accept that these things just happen sometimes and no engagement is ever going to be exactly what you wanted it to be? Or do you think our extenuating circumstances are a reasonable excuse to still have just a super late engagement party? Or should I try and figure out some other kind of analogous-but-more-timeline-appropriate shindig to throw in place of an engagement party? Any advice would be super welcome.


A: Dear Kate,

With your wedding in just under six months, it seems it would be squashing things to fit another party. Your friends and family will be celebrating with you in just a bit. What would an extra party add? That’s not rhetorical, really think about it! There might be another way to accomplish that same goal. But my guess is that this might be one of those things where in your head, you always expected an engagement to include an engagement party. And if that’s the case, why bother? A party shouldn’t be just a checked box on a list. But if there is a real answer for why you want it, and what it would mean to you, then hey. Rules (particularly made up rules about weddings) were made to be broken.

—Liz Moorhead


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