Our Necessary Engagement Party

On the weekend Nick proposed, there was one common statement made from everyone we called; “We need to see you before you leave!”

This of course is referencing the fact that Nick is only ever home for two weeks at a time between semesters. He is attending medical school on the Caribbean island of Dominica, and every time he’s home we pack our schedules tight to make sure he can see everyone. At this scale though, it was not feasible to make individual efforts to visit each family. And so the light bulb lit up and we decided to have an engagement party to bring everyone to us rather than the reverse.

It was an interesting decision process for me, as I didn’t actually want to have an engagement party. This is not because I don’t like to plan parties – I love to plan parties. It was because I didn’t want to put people in the position to think they needed to get us gifts. My mom suggested that I include the word “impromptu” on the invitation to suggest this idea, but I’ll tell you right now that did not work. Since we had to turn this around with about a week’s worth of heads-up, the invitations were casual and just sent via email and Facebook:

EP Invite

To anyone looking to recreate this look, all I did was find the cloud image through Google Images and did the rest on PowerPoint.

Oh, and I guess I should mention that the theme was “Cloud Nine.” I was unapologetically proud of myself for thinking of this one with the skydiving proposal in mind. The decorations were absolutely amazing. We hung fluffy clouds from the ceiling, using fishing line and safety pins to hook them. There were also a few tissue paper clouds to add some depth and texture to the look. We then included a few hanging airplanes and parachuters amongst them to really bring the reason for the theme front-and-center.

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My favorite two elements of our décor, though, were our fog and music. We bought a few pounds of dry ice and hid coolers around doorways and the catwalk to have a layer of clouds completely covering the ground! For anyone who thinks they can do the same thing with a fog machine – yes you can! This is just a way to not get the smell of the fog machine to overwhelm everyone. And the music playlist was one I worked on using lyrical keywords such as fall, jump, sky, clouds,  fly, chances, and survival. In my family I am the music/playlist queen, so customizing a playlist like this definitely added my own personality to the evening. This really set the tone, and for anyone listening may have made them laugh as well (unfortunately there was so much talking that I don’t think anyone besides me really noticed). Scroll to the end for a copy of the songs I used.

Next came the discussion about food. Since we had the party on a weekday evening (due to our weekends being booked), I felt that hors d’oeuvres and dessert would complement the mood better than hosting a full dinner. Just in case, we did also buy subs for everyone who hadn’t had a chance to eat before arriving. For finding food that worked with our theme, Pinterest was my saving grace (my wedding board). We found so many cute things, my favorite being blue jello with a little Cool Whip here and there to actually look like clouds. It turned out so cute!

Cloud dessert

It is at this moment I must give the biggest of all thank-yous to mine and Nick’s families who helped us out with this. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, Nick and I were very busy every single day. Our families made and put up all the decorations, as well as purchased or made all of the food for our party. We are so lucky to have such a great support system.

Once the party actually came around and started, we were so happy to see how many people made it out to see us. It was the first time our two families (besides the parents) met each other, and it went splendidly. Our engagement photos played on the TV screen, and everyone helped themselves to the food as they pleased. We had both the hors d’oeuvres and dessert out together for just that reason. My parents even bought champagne for everyone to toast us with at 8:00. It was absolutely magical. The part I thought I would have the hardest time was being able to get around and talk to everyone, but surprisingly this came very naturally! I’m taking that as a good sign for our shower and wedding lol.

The only thing I would’ve done differently would be to (somehow) spell out on the invites whether or not it was a gift-giving celebration. The guests were pretty divided half-and-half between whether or not they brought a gift, and I truly hope those who did not bring something didn’t feel bad. To remedy this I tried to avoid opening the presents in front of everyone, but alas, those who did bring gifts insisted privately that we open them.

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This in turn has led to an interesting debacle with Thank You cards. I’ve had to consult with my mom on the etiquette for thank yous between people who gave gifts, people who simply gave a card, and people who did neither. We decided that if anything (gift or card) was given, they would receive a Thank You card. If anyone else has suggestions on Thank You card etiquette please feel free to share opinions or links in the comments, I’m sure I’ll get to use these next time around for the shower and wedding.

Thank Yous
Target Thank You cards

One thank-you that for sure will be given – thank YOU for reading through my blog!

Cloud Playlist:

 Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty)
 Jump Into The Fog (Wombats)
 Come Fly With Me (Frank Sinatra)
 I’m Like A Bird (Nelly Furtado)
 Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller Band)
 Beautiful Day (U2)
 Wonderful Day (OAR)
 6 Feet From The Edge (Creed)
 Jump Then Fall (Tswift)
 Closer To The Edge (30 seconds to Mars)
 Falling For The First Time (BNL)
 Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)
 Defying Gravity (Glee)
 Savin’ Me (Nickelback)
 Safe And Sound (Capital Cities)
 We Weren’t Crazy (Josh Gracin)
 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Elton John)
 Living In The Sky With Diamonds (Cobra Starship)
 I Made It (Kevin Rudolf)
 Down (Jay Sean)
 Vanilla Twilight (Owl City)
 Fly (Hilary Duff)
 Walking On Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
 Fly (Sugar Ray)
 Whole New World (Aladdin)
 Born To Fly (Sara Evans)
 Taking Chances (Glee)
 Fearless (Tswift)
 Happy (NeverShoutNever)
 Let Go (Frou Frou)
 Rooftops (LostProphets)
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