How to plan an engagement dinner

A dinner to announce an engagement is a more serious occasion than the feminine luncheon. But it is flexible as to the size of the guest list and the degree of formality observed. It is given by the parents of the engaged girl in their home or at a hotel or club, so that her immediate relatives can meet her fiance. If his family lives in the same city, his parents and other members of his family are usually included in this dinner.

But if they live in another part of the country, it is not necessary to include them if the cost of traveling and possibly staying at a hotel is involved. The parties that include them are usually only those affairs immediately preceding and following the wedding. The guest list for the announcement dinner also may include young friends of the couple as well as older friends of their two families.

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Ideally the engaged girl’s father and mother are hosts for this dinner. But if her father is not living or cannot be present, then an older brother, a grandfather, or favorite uncle or some other male relative acts as host with her mother. If her mother is not living or cannot be present, an older sister or grandmother or favorite aunt serves as hostess.

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Since most of the guests probably know why the party is being given, the announcing of the engagement is very informal and usually is made before dinner while pre-dinner appetizers are being enjoyed and toasts can be drunk to the couple. If the girl’s father or some other member of the family prefers to be more formal, the announcement can be withheld until the coffee and dessert are served. There is no hard and fast rule about how the announcement should be made, by whom, or when, since these depend on the degree of formality in which the family lives and entertains, family tradition, and the personalities and preferences of the couple.