Alright alright alright! It’s a chilly Wednesday here in Ireland. We had a blast in Galway and are en route to Dublin to meet up with Brandon and explore the city! If you have any Dublin recommendations, send them my way:)

As I mentioned in my previous post, in many ways, this party felt like a dry run for our wedding. The structure of the event was slightly different, but the planning and details involved are almost identical. I’m glad I got the chance to “practice” because I learned a lot about myself. I’ve never thrown this big of a party that was all about me: Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, and work events were never about me and my birthday is usually a low-key dinner at a restaurant. This however, had Brandon and I at the center. It was a new experience and I definitely learned a thing or two.

Here our my Engagement Party Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Help set up

Even though I was throwing a surprise party, I’m not one for surprises. Especially when it come to the way events come together. I always have a clear vision on how I like things to look and my favorite part is watching all the little things come together. Helping with the setup turned out to be critically important because it allowed me to orchestrate photos and add my last minute touch to the space. The linens had creases in them so I commandeered a steamer and went to town getting the wrinkles out. Once the table was set, I didn’t like the place settings so we called a rental company and had new chargers delivered that added the perfect touch to the setting. These types of things matter to me and I was thrilled that I was there to make them the way I wanted.

Don’t: Micromanage the Situation

There is certainly a balance that you need to find with any event you host. Pick the things that you care about most and let the rest be. No event is perfect, especially if you’re the one throwing it. You always know what you forgot or what you could have done to make it that much better. But the important thing to remember is your guests won’t notice 90% of the details. Pick the 10% that are important to you and let the rest be okay. I didn’t get every crease out of all the linens but no one was the wiser. It was good enough and, at the end of the night, I’m sure no one noticed. I could have let it drive me crazy but sometimes you have to let the little things go.

Do: Try to stay at the venue

If you can, spend the night at your venue. This will make popping down during setup easier. Who cares if you don’t have makeup on? If you didn’t hire a planner, you are the person calling the shots. Therefore, it’s helpful for everyone if you’re on the property. Staying where the party is also allows you to enjoy a couple cocktails without worrying about how you’re getting home. But don’t go overboard here.

Don’t: Drink too much

Trust me: I know how easy it is to want to let loose during your event. You’ve likely had a stressful day any nothing takes the edge off quite like a glass or two of bubbly. Hold your horses here girls. You need to be a high functioning adult for a few hours. I’m not saying don’t drink – just hold off until you’ve completed your primary responsibilities. My suggestion: wait to drink until you’ve had food. This way you won’t be drinking on an empty stomach and it lessens your chances of becoming Sloppy Sally. You want to remember every moment and connect with all the people who came to celebrate you. Getting drunk at your party is a no go. Wait until the afterparty and then, if you feel the urge, knock a couple back and let loose.

Do: Make a toast

You must make a toast. You will be glad you did. If you’re anything like me, it will add stress to your evening and your palms will be clammy. But power through. A toast from the hosts sets the tone. For my toast, I was going to be introducing the engagement video and I knew I wasn’t going to make it without crying. I wrote the whole thing down on my phone and was so happy I did. I said everything I wanted to say and cried my way through.

Don’t: Forget to eat

Why is it that we forget to eat but always remember to drink? Let’s switch this around. Eat and forget to drink. You’ve likely put a lot of time into picking out the perfect menu so you better enjoy the food. Brandon and I love clam chowder so we had it as our starter: I had 2 bowls. My dress was a little tight afterwards so I couldn’t go to town on the chicken or cake but the chowder was all I needed.

Do: Hire a Photographer

You will never regret the money you spend to capture memories. Are photographers expensive? Yes. But you will have these photos for the rest of your life. Sure you can take photos on your phone, but this night is about you. Hire someone to capture every last detail of your experience and you can relive the night for years to come.

Extra points if you rent a photo booth too. That way, someone can take your photo while you’re taking a photo:)

Don’t: Make yourself busy

I know how this goes: everyone is arriving, you get a little nervous, so you start fiddling with anything you can. This comes in many forms: reapplying lipstick for the 3rd time, straightening the place settings, checking Instagram, answering that email that your insurance company sent you weeks ago. Whatever it is – just take a breath. Remember how excited you are to see your friends and family. Be present. Your job is to spend time with the people you love – so do that. There’s nothing to be nervous about.

Do: Talk to Every Guest

You invited them here. You need to say hi. Tonight is not the night to get into long chats about deep topics. As the hostess, make your rounds and hug every single person who came.  It’s easy to get caught talking to your besties or close family members but don’t do it. Welcome everyone and thank them for coming. You always hear that you and your guy should be glued at the hip during big parties but we don’t subscribe to this methodology. We like the 50/50 rule. Half of the time we’re together – for photos, dinner, and dancing. But the other half, we want to be mingling with each of our guests. Brandon and I found a good balance that night. Everyone got personalized attention and, at the end of the night, we got to lay in bed and swap stories.

Don’t: Forget It’s About You and Your Hubby To Be

Find your moments. It might be a wink. A toast. A dance. Or a hand squeeze during dinner. Whatever it is, make sure you take the time to get each other’s attention and appreciate the present moment. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s your night to celebrate your love. Don’t lose sight of this. The party will end and it will just be the two of you. The magic is in the little moments when you remember it’s you and him. Forever.

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