How to Host a Backyard Engagement Party

Your friends are engaged and you want to throw them a party to celebrate, but where to begin? We've partnered with wedding photographer Laura Coey, founder of Hello Love Photography, to show you how to plan the perfect backyard engagement party.

Party planning is fun, but it can be also be challenging. Where do I start? What can I do to make the event fun? How do I stay in budget? Here are a few ideas that we hope will help to create an engagement party that will wow!

Set a Theme

Choose a theme that fits the couple and complements their personalities and lifestyle. A backyard barbecue is casual, relaxed and fun! But if that isn't your couple's style, a wine and cheese tasting, a cooking class or even a formal cocktail party are all great alternatives.

Coordinate Gifts

Request that guests bring coordinating gifts from the couple's wedding registry to helps support your chosen theme. This way the entire celebration will have a cohesive feel. For our party, we asked guest to bring entertaining-themed gifts.

Start with an Activity

Not all of your guests may know each other, so having a group activity will help everyone to get to know one another in a fun way! We chose classic lawn games as the perfect ice-breaker activities for our backyard barbecue.

Bocce ball, horseshoes, lawn dice and croquet are all easy and interactive. They can also bring out the competitive side in your guests. While bragging rights are always the best prize, offering small, silly prizes doe the winners can really add to the fun.

Plan a Creative Menu

Burgers and hot dogs are typical fare at a backyard barbecue. We decided to change things up a bit and go with a more unusual option: pizza!

In keeping with our backyard barbecue theme, we prepared out pizza on the grill. We used a pizza grilling stone, which provides a perfectly even heating surface and makes the most deliciously crispy crust! We offered both traditional and more unusual pizza toppings, including assorted cheeses and even different sauces. Delicious options for everyone, from pizza traditionalists to foodies!

Another easy and delicious big menu hit? Our candied bacon, served in our Working Glasses.

These versatile glass canisters (one of our most-pinned items!) are a unique serving option that can add style and color to your table. Here, we showcased a trio of appetizingly colorful salads—and kept backyard pests away, in the bargain.

Don't forget the refreshments! This beverage dispenser makes it easy for thirsty guests to serve themselves, so you can keep enjoying the party.

Serve a Signature Cocktail

Creating a signature cocktail (or two!) adds a personal touch to your bar.

Not sure what cocktails to serve? Keep it simple and choose the couple’s favorite cocktails or match the color scheme of the party.

To go along with your signature cocktails, you can keep things simple—and less expensive—by just offering beer, wine and a non-alcoholic option or two. No need to provide a full bar. Cheers!

Dish up Dessert

Serving something sweet to close out the event will ensure that your guests leave with a smile on their faces. What backyard barbecue party would be complete without s’mores?!

We made our delicious s’mores in a batch in the Le Creuset Everyday Pan. It was easy to assemble and serve and not nearly as messy as traditional s’mores!

With a little planning and few easy tips, you can create a celebration that is special and personal and a memory that the happy couple will always treasure. Have fun and happy party planning!

Hosting the wedding shower, too? Get tips from 100 Layer Cake.

Photography by Hello Love Photography. Furniture from On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals. Hand-lettering by Abby Hyslop.

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