7 Intimate Engagement Party Ideas That Are Anything But Ordinary

photo: Kimberly Motos Photos | event design: Amber Sol Collective

It’s the party to kick off ALL the parties to come. Before the wedding day, before all the showers, before the bachelorette parties and more — there’s the engagement party. It’s the unofficial entry into your wedding season and, undoubtedly, one of the most exciting celebrations of all! While we love an all-out bash, sometimes a small crowd with your closest crew is all you need. So, let’s chat about intimate engagement party ideas!

We checked in with trusted vendors and pros to get the latest insight as to what’s trending for small engagement parties. Unsurprisingly, many people are opting to celebrate at home. Backyard parties are still a thing and will continue to be in the future. So, how do you make them stand out? Below, we’ve got 7 intimate engagement party ideas that are the perfect way to get the wedding season started!

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Bring High-End Details to a Low Guest-Count Event

Engagement Party Food by Colette's Catering
photo: Jillian Rose Photography | catering: Colette’s Catering

A party with fewer guests means your budget can go further — and this is a common theme among each idea. Choose a detail and elevate it. In honor of the ring, why not hone in on the sparkle aspect of it all?

“An engagement party is a celebration, after all! Bring in the sparkle with a Prosecco wall or table, custom desserts with edible glitter, a wine and cheese pairing…think luxury! Even with a small guest count, high-end details can make everything feel larger than life.”

Michelle’s Catering

Splurge on a Multi-Course Feast

small bites for engagement party ideas

photo: Jillian Rose Photography | catering: Colette’s Catering

Foodies, now is your time to shine!

“Treat your guests to a culinary masterpiece! Offer up a multi-course meal with wine pairings to make things feel extra special! We love presenting dishes with a glass cloche for an added wow factor — bonus points if you have them etched with your monogram! Even with a smaller guest count, a decadent menu will make things feel elevated and luxurious.”

– AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events

Plan a Luxe Movie Night

outdoor movie night engagement party
photo @claudiagraziano | planning + design @levelevents | rentals @sweetsalvagerentals | florals @bottlesandblooms | production @srproductionoc | cocktails + charcuterie @bottlesandblooms | balloon installations @levelevents

This one is all laid-back luxe! Planning a backyard movie night is the way to go, according to AJ Williams of AJ Events:

“Set up a projector and a screen (or a blank wall!) outside and invite guests to bring chairs, blankets, and pillows. Everyone can spread out and have individual servings of popcorn, candies, mini pizzas, and mini champagne bottles to celebrate. Start off by putting together a video compilation of your favorite photos together as a couple to set the tone and celebrate in the excitement of your engagement! Then play your favorite wedding-related movies! For more interactive fun, incorporate games you and your guests can play together via the screen – think trivia or bingo!”

– AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events

Wine Down with Engagement Party Ideas at Home

winc white wine and cheeseboard

Once again, AJ has some incredible ideas to elevate a wine + cheese night into a memorable celebration:

“With a smaller guest count, you can put your budget towards maximizing the experience for each guest. Have a florist provide lush arrangements for the table and provide individual wine tastings for your guests. Create miniature cheese boards for each person and provide a couple of red, white, and sparkling wines for everyone to enjoy. Take it to the next level and get the cheese boards engraved with each guest’s name so that they can take them home afterward as a thoughtful favor! For guests that can’t attend, send them a gift box with a couple of mini bottles of wine, some artisan crackers, and a specialty cheese knife so that they can celebrate in spirit from afar.”

– AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events

Make Your Engagement Party Do Double Duty

engagement party ideas and food spreads

photo: Kimberly Motos Photos | event design: Amber Sol Collective

Already overwhelmed with the idea of planning a wedding? There’s an engagement party idea for that!

“Wedding planning can be overwhelming with the number of decisions that have to be made. Not sure if you want margaritas or Moscow mules? Can’t decide between cake or cannolis? Then host a ‘This or That’ engagement party and let your closest family & friends decide. In one amazing night, you can kick off your engagement, gain insight into your wedding menu, try out multiple vendors, gauge guest preferences, and bring your community into the planning process.

Grab that list of vendors you’ve been obsessing over and pick a few items from each. Most caterers will allow you to place smaller orders and bar services can even send you batched cocktails. Set up food & beverage stations and allow attendees to mingle and vote on what they like. It’s a great way to entertain and engage your guests!”

– Darci Kendall, Founder, Hodde Bros Beverage Co.

Bring Progressive Food + Drinks Into the Theme

Engagement Party Food by Colette's Catering
photo: Jillian Rose Photography | catering: Colette’s Catering

If you’ve got a theme for the event, incorporating food in a creative way will truly make it a party to remember.

“Planning an intimate engagement party can really be a lot of fun. It’s a great way to showcase the couple’s personality and celebrate the two families coming together…all the while setting beautiful moments! It’s important to set a theme and stick with it throughout the event. Bringing in design details that have to do with something(s) that the couple loves together, (i.e. traveling, being foodies, family heritages, etc.).

We love assisting couples with those details, as food and beverage have so much to do with the overall experience. Having the celebration set as a progressive party with a great flow is wonderful. For example, the party would begin with tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and a welcome cocktail station, with food stations throughout, a great lounge scene to sit and enjoy some lovely conversation, and a sit-down dinner with a beautiful tablescape to finish the evening. And a good thing to remember, an engagement party can really set the tone for the wedding that is to come!”

– Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director, Colette’s Catering

Best Backyard Engagement Party Idea: A Luxury Picnic

colorful luxury picnic by sunday and gather
Sunday & Gather

Our favorite new party trend is, without a doubt, the luxury picnic!

“Luxury picnics are all about taking a sweet, simple concept and transforming it into a luxurious, customizable, intimate party. Whether you’re hosting in a backyard or a beach, a luxury picnic is a perfect solution for a small but extremely impactful party.

We love creating a full environment. Picture low-seated tables filled with gorgeous glass goblets, bud vases and flowers galore, billowy table runners, and tons of floor cushions and pillows. An elevated sit-down meal, without the formalities of a full-sized event — but it doesn’t end there! You can include different elements and staged moments, to make your party a full night of celebrations. Just because it’s a ‘picnic ‘doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice any engagement party ideas or traditions you’ve dreamt about.

You can include a cocktail lounge with furniture, a self-service bar, a styled dessert station, and an area for gifts or personalized memorabilia, for guests to share their love with the engaged couple. And with all of that, you’ve created a whole environment for the night’s activities to flow smoothly and with such a striking setup, the whole scene becomes a photo-op moment.”

– Alyssa Abshier + Victoria Nadler, Co-founders, Amber Sol Collective
small dried flower cake
photos: Kimberly Motos Photos | event design: Amber Sol Collective

Ultimately, planning an engagement party all comes down to how YOU like to celebrate. Let it set the tone for all the parties to come and, above all, have FUN. The party is just getting started!