Things I Learned from Our Engagement Party

After thinking about what I learned from my first bridal shower, I realized I also learned a bit at our engagement party. Things that were going to be really important for us to remember since we will be having our at home reception at our home. Things that could save us from going crazy during our at home reception.

1. Hire a bartender. 

I thought I was being all smart when I got some of those huge beverage servers from Costco. I mean, they are HUGE. They hold three gallons each. We had three of them set up. I got enough ingredients to fill them 4 times with a sake sangria. I thought that would be more than enough. Well, it wasn't.

The fifth time I filled them up, I was just pulling whatever out of the bar. I didn't like this at all since we'd created certain drinks for the party and we no longer had the ingredients for that drink. That last mixture was pretty much sangria jungle punch. It was sad.

I spent way too much time re-filling those drink container when I would have rather been visiting with guests. I felt like I barely got to talk to anyone because every time I turned around, I had to refill the beverage containers. If we'd had a bartender they could have tended to the drinks the whole time while I enjoyed the party. Sure, bartenders aren't cheap, but they are worth not being stressed out the entire party. And being able to visit your guests.

Refilling the sake sangria for the 3rd time. 

2. Make sure that if anyone else is bringing supplies needed for the party that they really arrive early. Or even better that you get the supplies the day before.

We had someone else bringing the ice, sparkling water and a few other things. They were supposed to be to the party early. Instead they were late. Not late to being early, late to the party all together. Which meant we had people lining up for drinks and there were no drinks to serve since I couldn't assemble them until the ice got there. Yes, people were really lining up. They even had cups already in their hands! Talk about major stressful!

3. Don't make assumptions on how little alcohol others drink. Always error on the heavy side. 

Our friends drink. A lot. We knew this. We prepared for it. My family barely drinks. We prepared for that, too. Drew (of course) and I have been around his family plenty of times and we knew that they drink a good amount, but never realized really how much.

Since we'd never had most of them over to our house before, we'd never been the ones hosting drinks for them and never got to see how much they really drank. Let's just say it was more than our friends. Which is saying a lot. Not that it's a bad thing. We just weren't prepared for it. We had prepared for them drinking somewhere between my family and our friends, not more than our friends. For the at home reception, we will make sure to use a alcohol calculator to calculate how much alcohol we need instead of relying on personal experience.

4. Don't have guests drinking until right before they leave. 

I noticed a lot of people finishing up their drinks and then hitting the road. Come on people, don't you know one for the road just isn't cool anymore? I was not alright with this in anyway. Not only could we be held responsible if anyone got hurt, but I don't want to see anyone get hurt as a result of drinking too much while at our house.

For the at home reception, we will have a designated 2 hour cocktail hour. At the end of those two hours, the bar will close down. The bartender will also have full discretion to cut any of our guests off. It's more important to me no one gets hurt than if they are upset with us for only providing an open bar for two hours. Besides, two hours is more than enough time to get your drink on.

Especially since there will actually also be a selection of sake paired with the cupcakes that will be offered for half an hour after the bar closes. We love paring sake with foods and thought it'd be fun to do it with the cupcake half hour. After the cupcakes and sake are served, all alcohol will be going away so that guests have time before they leave without any alcohol available to them.

5. Keep the non-alcoholic drinks and the alcoholic drinks separate. 

Now I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure I saw some of Drew's underage cousins getting drinks from the containers with alcohol in them. I wasn't positive and didn't want to make a big deal out of it, so I let it go for the time being. However, I'm going to make sure I prevent this from happening at the at home reception.

To do this the non-alcoholic drink station will be separate from the alcoholic drinks. The non-alcoholic drinks will be a self-serve station in the backyard with one kind of cup. The alcoholic drinks will be in the basement bar with a sign at the top of the stairs that says that no one under 21 is allowed. The alcoholic drinks will also be served in a different cup that's different from the non-alcoholic drinks. That way no one under 21 should have a cup that an alcoholic drink comes in and there is no need for them to even go down into the bar. Plus, just to be on the safe side, we will have a bartender who can ask for IDs.

As you can see, what I learned from our engagement party all had to do with alcohol. I was pretty surprised by this since I've given so many parties and have never had problems with it before. Just goes to show you, when you add different people to the mix it can completely shake things up.

Learning all of this made me very glad we had an engagement party. I would have hated not having this information going into the at home reception. I would have been stressed out. I would have had a hard time enjoying myself while running around dealing with the drink situation. And all of it would have been in a wedding dress. Who wants to have to deal with all of that? Not me. Even more so not in a wedding dress.

Have you had any parties or other wedding related events that you learned from to help you with your wedding and reception? What did you learn? How will this better prepare you for your wedding?

All photos are personal photos.

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