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Proposal After Party | Do or Don’t

Proposal After Party in Chicago
Photo By: Evan Hunt Photo

What exactly is an Engagement Proposal After Party and is it the best option to celebrate your new engagement?

You are knee-deep in planning your proposal and the one thing that you keep thinking about is how you are going to SHARE this moment with the people that matter the most to you. We have seen in the last several years the proposal after party increase with much popularity as a go-to way to celebrate your proposal. We highly recommend you consider this as a way to share with family and friends after.

There are clear pros and cons to throwing an engagement proposal party. Understanding the difference between what a proposal party is and is not will help determine if it’s right for you.

Is The Proposal After Party Right For You?

Let’s be honest, we live in an age where we share our entire lives with our friends and family on social media. It just feels natural to want to SHARE this big moment with others.  

At the same time you know this big moment of asking for her hand is also very intimate and you want it to be private. The perfect solution…a proposal after party. 

  • The Difference Between an Engagement Party & A Proposal After Party
  • Having Multiple Parties with Multiple Sets of Family & Friends
  • Why You Should Plan A Proposal After Party
  • Why You Should Avoid An After Party
  • How To Throw the Best Most Cost-Effective Proposal Party
  • Top Five Things Not To Forget When Planning This Party
The success of the event was all Jenee and her service is worth every penny

Proposal Party vs. Engagement Party

The first step in planning a proposal after-party is knowing the difference between a proposal after-party and an engagement party. 

There is a difference as there are other members of your family at play when it comes to an engagement party. Let me explain…

What I have seen over the last few years of suggesting an after-party to my clients is that this is a new concept, a new idea of celebrating right after the proposal. And when I say right after I mean the same night.  

A proposal after party can be minutes after or it can be a few hours after but what it is not is an engagement party.  

An engagement party by nature is a party held by a family member on your behalf inviting extended friends and family.  This is a more formal event in the nature of celebrating this new season in your relationship, to announce formally your engagement. 

This can typically be done right after the proposal within a month or two or can even be midway through wedding plans.  

Your family would compile a guest list, find a venue, send invitations and get floral decor, and even set a menu as well as a cake.  This is not a thrown-together event and as such, it is again planned out months after the proposal.

I would say the biggest difference between an engagement party and a proposal after-party is who is hosting the party and when.

The person hosting is not you, it is a member of your family.  They would compile a guest list of around 10-75 guests depending on the size of the family and friends that the host has. 

With clients that live all around the nation, I have seen that there have been multiple parties thrown to accommodate all sides of each family and the location of where those family and friends live.

Yes You Can Have Multiple Engagement Parties and A Proposal After Party

The idea of having multiple engagement parties is very common, with families spread out all over, it’s only natural that you would want to include everyone. How do you do that?  You have multiple parties. 

If you and your partner don’t have family that lives nearby having multiple engagement parties for everyone to enjoy during the celebration is totally normal and fun. You get to see people you may not have seen in a while and it creates a very intentional statement of how you want to include everyone in your wedding celebrations. 

If you are to have multiple engagement parties, you need to make sure to communicate with all the hosts so as to not cross over on the guest lists.

Remember, the guest that comes to an engagement party should only be invited to one and everyone that is invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. 

Not everyone that is invited to the wedding should be invited to the engagement parties.

If you do have multiple parties I would watch closely who is invited as it can very quickly feel like a mini wedding and as stated above you want this to be a celebration of your engagement. This is for your close friends and family, not necessarily your mom’s old neighbor she wants to invite to the wedding.

The big celebration should be the coming together of all friends and family. 

Surprise After Party in Chicago
Photo By: Evan Hunt Photo

Let’s Skip To The Good Part: Celebrating After The Proposal

I’m going to start by saying this isn’t for everyone and I’ll get into that next but we are going to assume that you have decided that you absolutely want to include your friends and family for a surprise afterparty.  

Awesome, it is one of the best ways to continue the absolutely incredible feeling that your fiance is now feeling. She has waited for this moment, you have been planning for this moment, it’s finally here…let’s continue that momentum of feelings of pure bliss. 

An after-party is a place for her to get yet another surprise on the same day and who doesn’t love surprises.  

From her perspective you went all out on the proposal, she can see all the effort you put in and THEN you go and surprise her with an after party, it’s not just the cherry on top it’s like who is this guy?  

It’s the effort that all women dream about, and let me tell you this after party doesn’t have to be in some extravagant venue where you drop tens of thousands of dollars, I’m going to get into that later, you can have an amazing party for next to nothing.

It’s all about what great lengths you put in for this special day and a proposal after party shows that in a big way.

It also gives the ability to share the excitement that you are both feeling right away with friends and family without having to figure out who to call first and when to tell who. 

Everyone who is close to you is at the party and celebrating the night away with you.

Now, I want to make it very clear this in my expert opinion is the best way to include everyone at the moment.

The alternative to a proposal after party is to have everyone AT THE PROPOSAL.  

There are a few things I have seen go sideways with this approach. 

Half of what we do at Visions Event Studio with our clients is assisting in planning the cover-up.  The thing she thinks is happening to get her to the proposal location without suspecting a thing. 

Let me tell you that is not an easy task, hence why men hire a proposal planner to come in and figure out how to make their plans foolproof.

With the cover-up in place, we plan everything around HER perspective, and how is she going to be taking in every moment of this experience. 

When she thinks she is going to meet friends for a few drinks and ends up there are 10+ people standing around greeting her and you standing there on bended knee it gets really confusing really quick.

The confusion comes in that every single person you add in the room with you at your proposal it changes the reaction she will have. This is only natural, the relationship she has with her sister vs. her best friend vs. your sister, they are all different relationships, and as such we all approach those differently.

With so many people in the mix, I have unfortunately seen a bride shut down mentally with being overwhelmed. 

I’m not saying she didn’t have a smile on her face and wasn’t enjoying herself, I’m saying the photographer and I saw exactly what was happening and pulled her to have a moment alone with her fiance to get grounded and really experience the proposal and him. 

Everyone was rushing in wanting to celebrate but yet the ring was just placed on her finger and I feel like she was robbed of that very intimate moment to be fully present and enjoy every minute of that before sharing it with others.

Are there exceptions to this rule?  Yes, I’ve had people watching the proposal from afar and then come at the moment after as a surprise. This is I believe the best way if you absolutely want people present at your proposal.

The other exception, some girls are very clear that they want certain people AT the proposal. This is where I’m going to say give the girl what she wants.

Contact Visions Event Studio to Start Planning

Why You Should Not Have an After Party 

There is a very clear and obvious reason why a proposal after party may not be the best choice for you and your bride.

She is not a big fan of being the center of attention and is extremely private. While you love the idea of attention your girlfriend is someone who is just not a fan of being in the spotlight and having all eyes on her, you need to consider this when making the decision to do an after party.

I would say as much as you may want the after party respecting her wishes and her comfort level will win in the end. 

You will always have the engagement party that she will be able to prepare for and again is more of a formal event.

Another reason why an after-party is not the best fit for you and your fiance, is that you live in different citites.

If you are proposing in the city you live in and she can’t have her side of friends and family present, I would say respect the dynamics of the location of her side of who she would want there, and if they can’t make it then again wait for the engagement party.

This should be a celebration that the two of you are thoroughly enjoying and while your friends are most likely her friends, it’s a different story not to have your side representing on a big day like a proposal.

How To Plan A Cost-Effective Surprise Proposal Party 

Let’s cut to the chase, you just dropped money on the ring, the proposal, and what’s around the corner…the wedding. 

As Chicago Proposal Planners ™ we know that you are not looking to spend any more money than you absolutely have to, that’s why when planning the proposal we guide our clients through the entire process of planning which includes saving money on your proposal.

So what are the most cost-effective ways to host a proposal after party:

  • Throw the party at your house, yes this may be tricky but with a little help from a planner or a friend you can pull this off.  You eliminate a lot of the cost of renting a private venue, a private rooftop space that will come with a food and beverage minimum, and many of the upcharges that come in being in a prime location.
  • Throw the after party at a sentimental location such as your first date, this will most likely be a restaurant or a fun location that should be a low cost to have a few friends to celebrate.
  • Keep the guest list to a minimum, as mentioned above there are going to be other parties to celebrate your engagement, so the after-party doesn’t need to include all of your friends and family. Keeping the guest list down to under 10 people will keep costs down.

Keeping costs low is one side of the coin but let’s talk for a minute about something we have been seeing as proposal planners this year.

The proposal after party is such a great way to continue the celebration, but should it upstage the proposal itself?

Yes we absolutely love the idea of having a proposal after party, but no we don’t think that you should spend thousands of dollars on drinks and dinner and then have a thrown-together proposal.

The message that it sends to your bride-to-be is that it was an afterthought, that the party was the focus and not her. 

When we help men pop the question we always want to meet her desires of the dream proposal and infuse our clients’ vision into the perfect proposal. 

When you put less effort into the proposal it will show and it doesn’t look great. Women want effort, they want to see how you went out of your way for this special moment and as mentioned before should be private between the two of you.

The question every woman gets asked is “How Did He Propose?”, not “How Was The After Party?”

Engagement Proposal After Party
Photo By: Evan Hunt Photo

Top Five Things Not To Forget In Your Proposal After Party

Much like planning a proposal, there are a few things that you do not want to miss in your surprise proposal after party.

  1. You Are The Host- with that comes the tab, this may sound like a no-brainer but when trying to keep costs down I’ve seen clients invite people out for drinks to celebrate but are reluctant to pick up the tab. This is your party and so by default, this is your tab to pick up.
  2. Invite People That Know How To Keep A Secret- the secret to the proposal is a given as is the proposal after party. Keeping it a secret should be one of your top priorities. To avoid this I would say keep your guest list to people you can trust or tell them the party is for a surprise or something else, such as a job promotion, birthday, or another way that you know they will be able to keep a lid on it.
  3. Consider Flying in the Most Important People in Her Life-as much as I said to keep the guest low there is a place where her best friend doesn’t live nearby and flying her in to attend is a great gesture to show how much you truly care for your bride to be and the close relationships in her life.
  4. The Proposal After Party Is Not The Proposal- You don’t kill two birds with one stone by having the proposal after party in front of everyone and propose at the same time at the same venue. Having two events in one leads to a very confused girlfriend who is trying to process the surprise party as well as the proposal itself. Confusion is never a good place to be especially on one of the most important days of your life.
  5. Lastly, remember to have fun, and enjoy yourself you have spent months planning for this entire event and while you are hosting the party you are also the celebrated couple. Take in every moment as it will go by so very fast. 

Proposal After Parties are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after ways to share your proposal with your friends and family. At Visions Event Studio we not only help prepare every aspect of your proposal but will handle all the details of the after-party as well. 

Start planning your dream proposal after party today!


About Jenée Strickland

Visions Event Studio specializes in luxury events, including proposals and couture weddings. Jenée Strickland, owner, and lead visionnaire, has been an integral part of hundreds of weddings and proposals. Her job is a privilege; her work is a passion.

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