Engagement Party Ideas on a Budget

Newly engaged and need engagement party ideas on a budget? Use these money-saving engagement party ideas for fun that won’t break the bank.

Bridesmaids standing in a circle with their hands touching in the center

The best part about being engaged (read about my fiancé’s sweet proposal!) is all the celebration, aka throwing an engagement party. After Lawrence and I got engaged in November, I pretty much went straight into engagement party planning mode.

And we ended up having two engagement parties, but that’s a story for another day. Yes, I really believe in celebrating your engagement, whether it’s hosted by the bride and groom or by your family.

At the wedding of good friends a few days after we got engaged

While we wanted to celebrate our upcoming nuptials with our family and closest friends, Lawrence and I didn’t want to blow a big portion of our wedding budget on a party that was happening more than a year before the wedding.

So we decided not to have a cocktail party, sit down dinner, or anything fancy like that.

Tiered engagement party cake

In my many hours (and hours!) of Googling about all things wedding parties and engagement parties, the No. 1 thing I’ve seen come up is budget. Many wedding-related services are way overpriced.

I’m a researcher at heart, so figured I’d share my many hours of looking into option after option for engagement party ideas on a budget.

Hey, if this info helps anyone, I’m happy to share these engagement party ideas!

We had a great group of friends and family celebrate with us.
We had a great group of friends and family celebrate with us.

We’re also grateful that family members (Lawrence’s parents) helped us with the catering as a pre-wedding gift.

And while we definitely didn’t expect anyone to bring anything and asked that guests not bring any food, we were most appreciative when friends helped out with the appetizers and booze for our engagement party. 

Our engagement party budget wasn’t huge, and we were able to have an awesome party! So here’s how to plan an engagement party on a budget, for less than $600.

Spoiler alert: There were no lawn games at this engagement party! Now, I’m really excited about my future bridal shower and wedding day!

Chocolate and vanilla frosted cupcakes
These very affordable cupcakes were quite the hit!

Cake and cupcakes

Hello, sweet tooth! Cake is the most important part of a party, right?! So I’ll start here.

Back when we were considering a local wedding, I found a great deal: You can buy a three-tier wedding cake at Sam’s Club for just $60.

This got me thinking that the store’s bakery must sell two-tier cakes, as well. I placed an order for one, for just $40, then bought a “future Mr. and Mrs.” cake topper on Amazon.

My sister is gluten-free, so I wanted to have something for her, and I picked up two dozen gluten-free cupcakes from Trader Joe’s for $8. In addition to the bakery section, there is so much healthy food at Trader Joe’s

Cost: $62

A cake sitting on top of a wooden table for an engagement party

Paper decorations

When it comes to engagement party decorating ideas on a budget, you can really do a lot with just a little. We have a Party City pretty close by, so that’s where I headed to buy decorations. We went with a “love” engagement party theme.

So I bought an “Always & Forever” banner, wedding-themed confetti, and glitzy diamond ring cupcake toppers (although I stuck most of the toppers in the cheese platter!). 

Our friend Tara gifted us a matching hanging decoration with hearts and engagement rings. I also love this “Forever & Always” banner, diamond ring confetti, and pink-and-diamond cupcake toppers from Amazon.

At the last minute, I found a must-have decoration on Amazon, an Engaged” banner that I hung by our appetizer spread. We didn’t buy any bride and groom decorations, as we’ll save those for the wedding!

By the way, we decided to forgo paper invitations to help our engagement party budget. For the engagement party invitation, we sent out a simple electronic version. 

Cost: $18

We used a chalkboard wall decal for this DIY decoration.
We used a chalkboard wall decal for this DIY decoration.

Chalkboard art

Awhile back, Lawrence had gifted me a framed chalkboard that hangs in our kitchen, along with a set of chalkboard markers.

We’d also recently purchased an adhesive chalkboard to use as a grocery shopping list in our kitchen because the front of our fridge is not magnetic. (Oy!) These two chalkboards were perfect to use for custom art at our party.

We ended up purchasing mini chalkboard signs to label the food, a splurge in our decorating budget. These were $15 from Michael’s, and you can find similar ones on Amazon for slightly less.

Cost: $15

Assorted napkins and cutlery

Paper goods

I found cute “Love Always & Forever” cocktail and dinner napkins at Party City (Amazon sells the same design).

Of course, these napkins are much pricier than plain napkins, so I bought plain pink napkins to add to the stack. You can find similar cocktail napkins and dinner napkins on Amazon.

For plates, I knew we already had a giant stack of white paper dinner plates from Costco, so I bought a 50 pack of paper cake plates from Party City to match.

I can’t help but seek out deals, so I headed to Big Lots next and bought a giant pack of plasticware for just $8. And score! I found plastic pink cups on sale for just $3 for a pack of 50.

I put out paper straws I’d previously purchased to make everything more colorful.

By the way, I get a lot of questions about if we had a wedding website up and running by the time we had our engagement party. We didn’t and had barely just announced our engagement on social media!

Cost: $32

Appetizers

The morning of the engagement party, we took a drive over to Sam’s Club to pick up the cake, as well as a fruit-and-cheese platter, crackers, and a crudité platter. I’d already purchased gluten-free crackers from Trader Joe’s.

Cost: $40

Other engagement decorations

At the Dollar Tree, I also found a fab “Love” sign, such a find for our budget engagement party, that I placed on the appetizer table.

And because I love to get crafty, I also made a collage name sign for Lawrence and I, as well as a “Love is sweet” sign to go with the engagement favors.

I used paper and stickers I already had to make these. To frame the signs, I bought one gold frame on sale at Michael’s and another frame from the dollar store.

Cost: $12

Appetizers in a catering dish

Catering

The food was a big consideration of hosting an engagement party on a budget, because food can quickly make or break your budget. I spent hours researching local catering options for engagement party food ideas.

I’m never striving for perfection; I just really enjoy investigating things and also love finding a good (and tasty!) deal. We’d considered renting out a local hall or having our party at a restaurant.

But being in the midst of planning our wedding, we didn’t have it in us to plan another party with so many logistical pieces.

After a good amount of searching, Lawrence and I all of a sudden thought of a local restaurant we enjoy eating at. Our neighborhood has a lot of amazingly delicious and authentic Dominican food, and we figured we might as well embrace this for our party.

So one Sunday afternoon, we headed to the restaurant

for lunch and placed an order as we were finishing up. We had about two dozen people RSVP’d, plus a few maybes, so we ordered for 30 people just to be safe.

On the menu: salad, rice and beans, grilled chicken, grilled pork, plantains, cheese empanadas, and guava-and-cheese empanadas.

The afternoon of the party, the restaurant called to let us know they were out of plantains and asked if it was OK to substitute yuca. We ordered the yuca but also ended up getting plantains from another local restaurant. 

Even though we got a good price for catering, this is the one area where we realize we could have seriously scaled back. Even though we ordered food for 30 people, the food that arrived was more like food for 60 and we sent many of our guests home with leftovers!

By the way, a No. 1 question for hosting an engagement party is who to invite. We made sure to only invite people who would also be invited to the wedding.

We have a small apartment, so we had to limit the guest list to future wedding guests only, ala family members and close friends. 

Cost: $381

Photo collage of Amy and Lawrence

Photo decorations

We’d already been gifted a “He asked, she said yes” picture frame, and I figured this would serve as one decoration. I wanted to put up additional photos of us and the friends and family who’d be at the party.

With a Snapfish coupon code I found, I ordered 99 prints for a little less than $8. I hung these on a mantel, with an arrangement I’d set up around the holidays for displaying cards, with ribbon from a craft store and mini clothespins.

Cost: $8

DIY drink station with cups and water and bottle openers

Booze and drinks

We have a pretty extensive wine collection, and we were lucky enough to receive six bottles of sparkling wine as an engagement present.

So we served these bottles at our party, along with a couple of dozen bottles of beer and cider we had on hand from a previous party.

We also put out bottles of soda we’d never opened at a previous party, as well as our large supply of liquor. We headed to the neighborhood bodega to buy a bag of ice to keep everything cool. 

I like to serve flavored water, so I picked up lemons and limes and filled a mason jar drink dispenser with citrus water.

Cost: $5

A sign that says love is sweet take a treat

Party favors

Of course, when it comes to event planning and engagement party etiquette, favors are optional. But they’re such a fun touch for an engagement party, make engagement party guests feel loved, and can cost very little. 

I made these DIY engagement favors for about $15 for 25 favors. Traditionally, the bride (I suppose) would put favors at place settings. But our party was so casual that we had favors for the taking on the way out.

And while we didn’t expect everyone to bring gifts, we did receive several presents. So I’m glad I had something to offer people in return!

Cost: $15

5 Tips for Planning and Engagement Party on a Budget listicle

Bottom line

If you’re looking for engagement party ideas on a budget, you have many cost-saving ways to celebrate! We were able to put together an entire catered party for $588, and I’m sure you can too.

More wedding planning ideas

I think you’ll enjoy these posts:

Newly engaged and planning an engagement party on a budget? Consider these money-saving engagement party ideas for a celebration that'll provide all the fun but won’t break the bank.

What ideas do you have for hosting an engagement party on a budget? What other engagement party ideas on a budget do you have? Have you been to an engagement party hosted by the bride and groom? 

Weddings |

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