Engagement Party Ideas That Won't Bore Your Buddies

08/30/2012 11:53 am ET

While your friends are excited you’re engaged, the thought of being forced to use the “right fork” while watching a photomontage set to a Celine Dion track is enough to make them homicidal. Celebrity Event Planner (and Staggered Event Expert, Peter Otero) shows you how to throw an engagement party that won’t bore them to tears.

Engagement parties are regarded as the traditional formal announcement of a wedding more frequently celebrated at a fancy restaurant or dinner party at home. While tradition can be a safe and predictable foundation for a party, we all know the most outstanding ones are remembered because of the unexpected fun had by all. For guys, the minute we hear about an engagement party, we either curl our lips or ...yawn!

Get Involved.

So with all due respect to Cyndi Lauper’s girl anthem, “girls just wanna have fun”, they aren’t the only ones. Guys want to have a blast too! There are a wide variety of themes and styles to decide on that can ensure a fantastic time. Get involved in the planning process and voice your opinion. The male perspective can usually offer a unique twist to a "lovey dovey" feminine approach. Your buddies will appreciate you for thinking of them. I am not a big fan of themed parties, though I am constantly asked to design them. But when I do, I like to pay very close attention to every detail. That is what makes a party unique and personal. So be as creative as you want and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Remember, It Doesn’t Have to Be Stuffy.

If you’re going for a more casual approach, think of fun and unexpected venues as opposed to the more traditional ballroom, banquet hall or restaurant. A local pub, bar or favorite watering hole can be a fun alternative. Prior arrangements can be made so that you have a sectioned off, semi-private area for your guests that may include your own bartender. If the place does not serve food you can arrange to have food delivered or have it catered. This allows everyone to have a good time in a very relaxed atmosphere. You may also want to be proactive and think of designating drivers or offer a car or taxi service for those guests who really make it a point to toast all night long celebrating the union of love. There’s always at least one or two in the group...maybe more!

There’s also a big trend now in upscale bowling alleys that are equipped for private parties. This makes for a fun filled night of laughter, luck AND some losers...with possible back aches too. Some places have great food, drinks and music with a “clubby” feeling. If not, a regular old school alley can be just as fun. Anything can be arranged to fit your tastes and budget. Everyone has a fun time; participants and spectators alike.

There’s nothing better than pairing good pizza with cold beer (or good wine). Whether at a local pizza parlor, restaurant or private home, it can be a delicious way of saying “we’re tying the knot”. Look into buying out the local pizza spot or hiring a chef to make “pies on demand”. Make it instructional and interactive. Guests participate if it’s entertaining and well thought out. Create new recipes or follow traditional ones. Offer a variety of beer to go with different pizzas. Make sure to keep it casual and family style. If it’s anything like my house, the best times are shared in the kitchen–around food!

Make It an Event and Allow Everyone To Participate.

If your style is classier, try a wine tasting party. And if you don’t have the option of going to a local winery, there are plenty of books on the subject. This is another great way to engage your guests and enhance their understanding of wine. Make it fun and educational by conducting blind tastings or form wine tasting groups. The more palates there are, the more perspectives on a particular wine you’ll have, and the better you increase your awareness of a wine’s complexities. To maximize your wine tasting experience, hire a live cigar roller to roll a stogie just for you and your guests. If that’s not doable, then consider buying an assortment of good cigars from your local tobacco shop. Not only will some women think it’s sexy and try it themselves, but your mates will give you major brownie points for thinking of them.

Not Into Creative Theme Parties? Keep it Simple.

You can never go wrong with a simple, sexy, cocktail party. Have a wide variety of great food, cocktails and different music to suit all tastes. Make it comfortable for everyone. Create an environment that allows for mingling. It’s a great way for families and friends to meet, and get to know each other. Hire a bartender to prepare and serve cocktails. Come up with personalized drinks menu. Go to your local florists and get beautiful flowers that will enhance the space. Consider hiring a baby sitter to care for and entertain the youngsters while the grown-ups focus on just having a good time. For an alternative twist at the end, offer a post-dessert coffee tasting paired with gourmet chocolates. And if you really want to make it spectacular, turn it into a black tie event; a fun and clever way to set the tone for the wedding.

The most important thing to remember when planning an engagement party is that it is a happy, joyous occasion. With that in mind, the possibilities are endless. Make it truly memorable and unforgettable. Put your stamp on it and have fun with it!

I am Staggered USA (www.iamstaggered.com/usa) is a top Men’s Wedding Site and the brother site to I Am Staggered UK (www.iamstaggered.com), the #1 Men’s Wedding Website in the United Kingdom. @Iamstaggeredusa

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