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Engagement Party Ideas

These five engagement party ideas guarantee you’ll have a blast (and impress your guests too).

Photo: Melissa Kelsey Photography/Sweet and Saucy Shop

The Wine Party

A wine party is ideal for the sophisticated wine connoisseur. You’ll wow guests with an upscale wine tasting. Invite all your friends and ask them to dress up in their finest duds for a fancy soiree.
The Location: If you’ve got the square footage in your home to host your nearest and dearest, then go for it. If not, you can always rent out a local wine bar for your event (talk about setting the stage in style!).
The Drinks: Once everyone arrives, have a sommelier serve glasses of red and white wines. You can even set up a wine theme. If you’re going to Italy for your honeymoon, then choose all Italian wines, and so on.
The Food: Don’t forget the food! From salty pretzels and tasty Spanish olives to rich cheeses (think gouda and brie) and chocolate treats, pull out all the stops and serve hor d’oeuvres galore.

The Dessert Party

Who doesn’t love to indulge in chocolate, cupcakes and other sugary treats? If you’re into the sweet side of dining, go all out with a party dedicated to decadence. This one can go either way (upscale or laid-back), so you can customize it to fit your style or budget.
The Location: A bash on your rooftop deck or in your backyard would be a great setting (especially if you have an open fire for roasting marshmallows).
The Drinks: It’s expected that you’ll have a variety of tea, coffee and espresso, but don’t stop there. Play up the sweet theme with chocolate milkshakes and martinis. Or bring out a few bottles of dessert wine and champagne—both are perfect for that end of the night toast.
The Food: Offer treats that appeal to a wide audience. Fill a dessert bar with old-fashioned apothecary jars stuffed with cookies, brownies, chocolate-covered popcorn and candies.

The Night on the Town

You’re ready to celebrate—bring on the party. Plan a wild and crazy night out on the town with your closest pals. Get ready for an all-nighter.
The Location: Do it in style by scoring a few tables or VIP booths at your favorite nightclub (ideal for 10 to 20 friends) or rent out a local hot spot for parties of 20 or more. The Drinks: The great thing about a bar or club: tons of liquor. Let everyone order whatever they want from an open bar or, if you rented the space, opt for a signature cocktail with wine and beer.
The Food: You could go upscale, but why not play up the night out with bar food? It’s a great throwback to your college days of all-night outings and 3 a.m. snacks. Serve mini pizzas, pretzel bites, sliders and baskets of fries.

The Beach Blowout

Whether you’re getting married on the beach, having a destination wedding or just planning a seaside party, the beach is a perfect spot. Not only is it relaxing, it’s also fun and festive. You’ll have a blast figuring out the details for this one—Hawaiian music, a bonfire and beach chairs should set the mood.
The Location: A beachfront hotel, a rented beach cottage or your favorite seaside spot. Just make sure you check the rules about how late you can be on the beach once the sun goes down.
The Drinks: There’s nothing like a cool beer, so get some of your favorite brews. For the non-beer drinkers, opt for mixers and liquor to make mojitos or other light drinks.
The Food: Host a fish fry or clam bake, munch on burgers and fries or go upscale with a seafood spread of grilled shrimp, lobster and scallops.

The Rooftop Dinner Party

City slickers will love this option. Ideal for the warmer months, a rooftop party provides sprawling views of the city. Best suited for a party of 10 to 12, a dinner event is a great way to mingle with your friends in an intimate setting.
The Location: If you’re lucky enough to have city views, set up on your own roof. Or find one at your favorite hotel or bar to rent.
The Drinks: Have it all! Wine (sangria is always nice), beer and cocktails are all great for this type of party.
The Food: Put on a show with tapas, leafy salads with fruit and cheese, surf-and-turf entrées and decadent personalized desserts (think mini cakes or an ice cream buffet).

-- Tia Albright