Propose a Toast!

champagne tower

Being a bit of a perfectionist has led me to delay posting about proposals and engagement parties. I’ve decided, finally, that I’m just going to work with what I’ve got.

Technically, my husband did not propose to me in an utterly romantic way. It was much more straight down to business than that (which is probably why my father still thinks we were 90% arranged). Picture a Barnes and Noble parking lot in the dead of winter in pajamas. Yep, it was as awkward as it sounds. In an effort to make up for the total tragedy, I engineered a picture perfect engagement party while keeping it secret from the Desi community because only our family and our bridal party was invited. Granted, it would have been lovely if my husband would have planned a romantic proposal, but let’s face it– I love planning.


Desi engagement parties seem to have a range anywhere between a potluck celebration with friends to an enormous presentation of the new couple to society.

So here is what I can propose: A plan of action.

Step 1: Guest List
Who would you miss if they were not there?
My matron of honor was planning her wedding at the time that I was planning my engagement party, and she asked me this very important question. Being Desi means that the wedding guest list will most likely be very large. The engagement party may not have to be. Most of us only have 2 handfuls of our closest friends but consider that your significant other will also have a couple handfuls as well.

**If your parents are financially contributing to the cause they may also have guest list rights.**

Step 2: Budget
I don’t know how much clearer this can be– first decide what your absolute top spending limit can be and then plan to have an additional $250 contingency for every $1000 in your plan.

Step 3: Venue
Now that you have your guest list in one hand and your total budget in the other– you’re ready to find a space. In my experience, a venue can cost 1/3 your total budget but be sure to get clarity on what the venue is offering that is on your must have list. For example: catering, linens, dance floor, stage, cutlery, dinnerware, included decor.

Step 4: Food
Depending on the venue, this may be something that is included vs. have to shop around for. Consider your favorite dishes but also have options for your various guests’ dietary needs. Whether your engagement party is catered, BYOD, potluck, or home-made– always keep your guests in mind. Especially if you follow the “Who would I miss?” rule, you don’t want your happy loving memory to be overshadowed by a distasteful meal.

Step 5: Color Scheme
Now that the business is taken care of, you have the remainder of your budget to think about your outfit and how that will coordinate within the space. If you need linens, florals, stage decor— or not— you want to make sure it all accents your outfit instead of clashing with it.


Engagement Colors
Photo Credit: Travis and Haley G

You’ll notice that I pulled out the most “neutral” tones from my outfit to create the color scheme at my party. I went with the champagne and bronze. By keeping my florals white with glass vases, the flowers merely enhance the tablescape without becoming a central feature.

Step 7: Memories
All of above are wonderful, but be sure that there is a designated photographer and videographer. Whether you choose to employ someone professional, or have a very talented friend– be clear about your expectations and “must have” shots. Start pinteresting those ideas, and share them with the professional or the professional amateur.

A la carte (these things can certainly liven up the party, but are definitely extra).

  • Dance Floor
  • DJ
  • Favors
  • Programs
  • Gifts

**Take a good hard look at that budget before you decide you MUST add on**

Ultimately, I loved our engagement party and that my whole family was there when my husband put the ring on my finger. I loved that we officially became fiances and all the drama and headache and anti-climatic pizzaz that led up to it was worth it.

Till next time, have a happily ever after!

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