It’s no secret that event planning is no easy feat. Beyond planning, sending invitations, choosing food and beverages, and of course, actually executing the event is the desire to host the most epic event possible. To leave your guests wowed, excited and entertained is just a small portion of what an event should entail. For some, event planning comes more naturally and over the many, many events I have planned over the years, I have to say planning John and I’s official engagement party was the absolute best! To be able to make all the decisions, manage my budget, get creative and choose what I wanted to include was definitely good deal of work, but the flexibly was awesome! Early planning, a theme/color scheme and the desire to create a truly memorable party was the driving force that resulted in one stellar event with our closest friends and family surrounding us!
With that said, there are key ways to weave in very personal and intimate details that will truly make an event come to life. No matter if you consider yourself a creative person or not, the ability to replicate the ideas shared in this guide are completely do-able! All the elements we implemented to make this engagement party rememberable can be weaved into all different types of events. My hope is that these ideas help bring life to your next event, whether it be a birthday, baby shower..or even an engagement party!
Balloons & Decor
Balloons quintessentially scream party! Go the extra mile to get special ones and not the generic versions to really make a statement. I ordered 36” white balloons, Mr. & Mrs. balloons and added a little extra gold confetti to these confetti balloons. For a substitute to cheap plastic ribbon and weights that standard balloons come with, I ordered artificial vine silk garland and these classy balloon weights instead. This was such an affordable and effortless way to up the elegance of our balloons.
For your decor items, play off what is offered at the venue. Since we already had so many beautiful garden aspects, we skipped the huge bouquets and added mini flower bouquets at the tall tables. We included these marquee light up letters in our first name initials for a simple touch that grabbed everyone’s attention while adding a little glitz to our party. Because the space has such a great courtyard with a fountain in the middle, I floated dusty pink lilies in the water as an added touch when guests first arrived. Tip: There is endless possibilities to make an event perfect, but remember all the little details add up, so I suggest setting a decor budget for the event.
The Mimosa Bar
Probably one of the most popular elements of a party currently is a good old mimosa bar. It’s consistent crowd pleasing characteristics make this one trendy element we don’t mind incorporating time and time again! With that said, taking a few extra steps to make it unique will make everything much more interesting and exciting for guests without feeling like it has been overdone.
Create Your Own Banner
For starters, I suggest steering clear of the generic “Mimosa Bar” sign if you can and get original instead! After browsing on Etsy for a few minutes to find something other than a glittered banner we’ve seen time and time again, I thought…why don’t I just make my own?! So I did! I purchased a plane jane thin wooden banner from Target, with the intention of making it much more pretty. The pine colored wood was so..blah, so I kindly asked John to stain the pieces to a darker, more elegant brown. Using a gold metallic paint pen, we chose to use the words “bubbly bar” to be a little more unique and catch our guests attention as they entered the party.
The Set Up: Create Levels, Display Ingredient Card Signs & Add Personalized Napkins
Designing a mimosa bar is almost as important as having it there itself! Keep it fun and interesting by using cake stands, copper ice buckets, ingredient cards, levels, flowers and even instructions on how to make the perfect mimosa! If you wish to spend the extra money, consider going the extra mile and order personalized napkins to include on the bubbly bar. While they of course functionally acted as their sole purpose, the napkins were a great way to initially share our wedding date with party guests too!
For The Winning Touch, Personalized Labels
One of the most, if not the most epic touches at the entire party was our personalized champagne bottle labels created by the sweet Kate of Gardenia Labels! Once I discovered her Etsy shop, I just knew I had to included these labels at our bubbly bar. Based out of Iowa, Kate creates labels for literally every occasion worth celebrating, so decided on which engagement party label design we wanted was just so much fun! Once we removed the original labels from all 25 bottles of champagne leading up to the party, the application of the personalized ones was a piece of cake and took all of 15 minutes to do! While getting off the original labels was time-consuming, it was completely worth it and actually a fun project for John and I to do together. Not only were these labels a huge hit and talking point, there has never been a bubbly bar with these exact labels! Tip: If you’re a bride-to-be, or are looking for the perfect gift, be sure to check out the huge selection of designs in all sorts of bottle sizes. Kate specializes in bridesmaid labels, wedding, holidays and milestone events!
For a simple but beautiful way to display special memories, print some of your photographs and use the frames you already have in your home to showcase them to avoid purchasing frames for one time use. We placed a variety of 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10 picture frames alongside our mini flower arrangements at each bar table. Not only was it a personal touch, but it also helped the few guests that possibly didn’t know one or the other of us to see some of our best memories.
An Oversized Photo Frame
If you or anyone in your family is particularly handy, tap into that skill and see if they are willing to help build a simple but show stopping photo frame like the one showcased above! My brother is extremely talented at carpentry, and he graciously built this stunning frame with a built-in stand as a gift to John and I. We printed our top pictures from the past 7 years (!!) in square format and hung them on twine using gold painted mini clothespins. Once we had all the images on the display, my mom helped add cut eucalyptus at the top to make the look a bit softer and charming. The event would not have been the same without this display, and you certainly won’t see it at any other type of event!
A Photo Display For The Bridal Party
As a way for guests to get an idea of who is in the bridal party, I created a smaller photo display placed above the wine station for all to see! To make this display, I ordered 2×4 metal grids (below) and John spray painted it white to make it more appealing than the original black color. We sifted through years of photos of our friends and I will say, picking the images was the hardest part because there were just so many great ones! We used the same gold mini clothespins and had each name printed out using the same font style as the place cards on the mimosa are to bring it all together. This display was definitely an unexpected sweet touch that honored the groomsmen and bridesmaids while helping others learn who they were. Win-win!
Class Up The Keg
Ok, we admit it! We had a keg at our engagement party and it ended up being an awesome addition! Not only did it help reduce the amount of beer bottle waste, but with the amount of young guys as we had at the party, it probably saved us money as well! With a little creativity, we knew we could tie it into the theme of the party through the keg as well!
I had expressed my concerns to my mom that a keg can be somewhat of an eyesore, so we dreamed up a way to dress it up with layers of burlap, white ribbon and eucalyptus branches to stay on theme. We ordered personalized thick frost flex cups (see below) that can be reused over and over again in place of the infamous red solo cup. The combination of these two improvements helped maintain a modern feel to our party without loosing sight of the overall theme.
Don’t Forget To Capture It All
With all the effort that goes into throwing a beautiful unique event, you should definitely consider having a photographer there to capture all the small moments and decor details that you will not have time to do yourself. Luckily for us, we had the kindest family and event photographer, Jill Baker join us that sunny afternoon! Jill arrived at our party prior to guest arrival to get images of our set up, and then stayed at the event for the first few hours of actual party. Jill photographed some of my most treasured moments, when all our friends and family were all together in the same place for the first time. While friends met family, toasts were being said, cornhole was being played and lunch was being enjoyed, Jill was the perfect photographer to capture it all. in addition to the posed shots, she did an absolute stellar job capturing the candid moments that no guest would have been able to do (myself included!) To learn more about Jill and all her talents, check out my prior post here and visit her Instagram to see more of her work. I can’t thank Jill enough for spending a hot summer afternoon with us!
Though hosting an event take a lot of thoughtful planning and isn’t short of costly, there really is no feeling like seeing all your hard work come to life with the help of your closest family! By implementing all the one of a kind ideas above, you can bet each guest will have an amazing time! When it comes time to party plan, what are the best ways you keep organized? Please do share in the comments below and follow more of my events and daily over on Instagram!
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This post was made possible in partnership with Gardenia Labels & Jill Baker Photography. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that help made the blog a little more dreamy!