Blog
03.02.15

grapes

Buzzwords abound when it comes to seasonal eating. But what does that mean when you’re planning your wedding menu?  Quite simply, a seasonal menu is cheaper, it tastes better and it’s more nutritious.

When crops are in season, the price is less than the shipping required for crops out of season.

Foods lose flavor and moisture when they’re being stored. Fresh food still has its original flavors intact — think of the flavor burst you get with summer peaches and tomatoes, as well as the bite of winter greens.

Surprisingly, fall and winter have a wide variety of crops for harvest like apples, endive, garlic, squash, grapes, figs, and mushrooms. Even winter’s kale, radishes, turnip and leeks are delicious during the colder months.

Studies have proven that foods are more nutritious when harvested in season. Researchers in London found nutrients in milk were higher in summer vs. winter in a 1997 study – and researchers in Japan found spinach harvested in summer vs. winter had three times the vitamin C content.

Ask your caterer about what kinds of foods are seasonal at the time of your wedding – they’ll also have great ideas on how to work them into your menu.

Spring
In Spring, foods that are in season include – artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, grapefruit, avocados, and strawberries —  fresh, light and bright are the words to eat by.

 spring-menu

Hors d’oeuvres
Smoked salmon with fresh dill cream
Fresh herbed spring rolls with shrimp

First course
Chopped Farmers Market Vegetable Salad
Bread and sweet cream butter

Entrée
Herbed roasted organic chicken with new potatoes and wilted pea greens
Spring vegetable risotto

Summer
In summer, veggies are at their peak, so it’s a good time to let the simplicity of flavor carry you through. Arugula, watercress, green beans, peas, spinach, tomatoes and peppers are the vegetables to look out for. Blackberries, blueberries, apricots, nectarines, peaches and raspberries are fruits, delicious for eating.

 summer-menu

Hors d’oeuvres
Ahi tuna cucumber bites
Chilled individual summer squash soup

First course
Local heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and summer salad leaves

Entrée
Grilled fish with radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, endive, and red pepper with vinaigrette roasted potatoes

Fall
Fall is the perfect season for squash, cheeses, and slightly heavier fare. Fruits in season include apples, dates, figs, rhubarb, plums and pomegranates, while veggies in season include artichokes, Brussel sprouts, kale, okra, peppers and sweet potatoes.

fall-menu

Hors d’oeuvres
Local and imported cheese served with grapes, dried fruit and nuts
Mini artichoke, mushroom and shallot pizzas

First course
Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger

Entrée
Braised Short Rib with Fresh Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Bearnaise sauce
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Shallot and Mushroom Ragout

Winter
Surprisingly enough winter’s bounty holds quite a variety of foods. Arugula, cauliflower, kale and mustard greens, spinach and turnips. Winter’s citrus is at its peak with oranges,­ lemons, limes, grapefruit and even guava in season.

 winter-menu

Hors d’oeuvres
Grilled porcini mushrooms on shortbread
Spicy beef rolled with julienned carrot and daikon

First course
Seafood! Raw bar with lobster, shrimp, oysters and crab claws with lemon wedges and sauces.

Entrée
Beef filet with Yukon Gold Potato Puree, caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Rich winter pasta with mushrooms and roast vegetables

Print your menus however you want – get inspiration from these gorgeous wedding menus. Any wedding meal home runs? Let us know in the comments!

Tumblr
02.24.15

We’ve paired the three most romantic meals we can think of with wines that are as romantic as they come. Of course, Monogamy wine tops the list of romantic wines, but if you’re looking for more specific wines for a steak dinner, a picnic lunch or moving day pizza on the floor, we have some fine recommendations.

Before you look to our list of romantic wines, however, first consider wines that are special between you and your partner. Did you ever splurge on a tasty Barolo on that trip to Vegas together? Do you have a special wine that means, ahem, “business time?” Have you tasted wine at a winery together? Start with special moments between the two of you. Coming up short? Read on for more romantic bottles.

Manly Red Wines to Support that Expensive Steak

Generally, I loathe gender stereotypes as they come to wine, but when it comes to men, I find that a high percentage are quite happy with a red wine and a juicy steak. If you’re serving steak to your partner, consider these three wines:

Mitsuko's Merlot

Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Merlot 
I think it’s so sweet that Mitsuko’s Vineyard was romantically named after Clos Pegase founder’s Jan Shrem’s wife. If that’s not enough, this Merlot’s balanced fruit makes a wide variety of palates happy.

Cosentino's The Poet

Cosentino The Poet 
I can’t get enough Meritage, a red wine blend of three Rhone grapes. This delicious wine is blended to taste – and the name is romantic enough for the writers and musicians in your life. This wine gets even better as the night goes on – so you can come back to it later.

Surprise romantic picnic lunch
Picnic lunches are one of the life’s most romantic culinary moments. For picnic lunches, screwcaps or tetrapacks are key (there are few things worse than missing your corkscrew in that romantic field of barley).  

wines-for-romance_rose

Adelaida Version Rose 
Rose is a picnic staple – rose’s acidity and the color gets you in the mood for blanket romance. I love We love Adelaida Version Rose – a bright, Provence-styled,  screwcap covered bottle of sunshiny deliciousness.

wines-for-romance_miner

Miner Viognier 
Floral, round, mellow, Miner Viognier is an easy-drinking varietal perfect for all kinds of picnic food. It’s sustainably farmed and delicious with cold fried chicken.

Moving day pizza on the floor

Whether you’re moving in together for the first time, or moving to a place that’s new to both of you together, moving day pizza is one of the most romantic meals you can think of.

wines-for-romance_schramsy

 Schramsberg Mirabelle 
Celebrate that all those boxes made it! Pop some bubbles! This value wine is perfect to hide in the empty refrigerator for the moment that last load gets delivered. Its light minerality is best to drink before the pizza arrives – because that celebration is worth it

wines-for-romance_monogamy

Monogamy Cabernet 
We’re just going to put it there, our Cabernet Sauvigon is the perfect wine for pizza with your beloved. The fruit is a great pairing for the spices and cheese on the pie and the name says it all – you’re the one!

Enjoying wine with a loved one is one of the best things in life – do you have a romantic wine you always go to? Tell us in the comments!

Tumblr
02.16.15

 20150216_vineyard

Whether you’re celebrating 2 weeks or twenty years, wine country is the perfect place to celebrate your commitment. 

Although setting goals for a vacation can seem like overkill, it’s good to get on the same page as what kind of trip this will be – are you two on a foodie’s quest to eat at all the best restaurants? Are you looking to rekindle a romance? Are you looking for lots of activity or hot afternoons by the pool? It’s important to plan the best anniversary trip for the two of you.

The most romantic vacations have made sure the practicalities are taken care of. This includes lodging, transportation, packing and knowing when to call ahead — we’ve listed our favorites below!

Lodging
If you’re doing your anniversary trip right, lodging should be of the utmost importantce. Get something centrally located, with just the right amount of posh.

Visit Auberge du Soliel for your Anniversary Trip

Auberge du Soliel
Speaking of posh, you can’t go wrong staying at Auberge du Soliel. From the views to the meals to the drinks – the patio is the place for romantic cocktails – and the spa treatments are divine. The price reflects that luxury, but what’s the cost of romance, right?

Wydown Inn 
The modern, comfortable Wydown hotel is as centrally located as you can get outside of downtown Napa – it’s located within walking distance of many of the valley’s most romantic restaurants and wineries.

The Inn On First  
A contemporary, friendly bed and breakfast, The Inn on First welcomes all guests. From the hot tubs to the décor, this pet-friendly stay is the right place for the bed and breakfast skeptic.

What to Pack
Napa Valley Casual  style is embraced by locals – with a slightly western-inspired twist. It’s a high-quality, casual look.  Avoid high heels – they make it tough to hike through vineyard and cellar tours.

In the summer months, daytime temperatures get into the hundreds, with temperatures dropping into the forties when the sun goes down. In the winter, if we’re lucky, we get lots of rain, so umbrellas are a must.

Hitch a ride
I’m shooting straight. If you’re going wine tasting, a hire driver. If you’re going out for dinner, hire a driver. If you’re going to be drinking wine and not within walking distance from your hotel, do all the locals a favor and hire a driver. Not only does it keep my kids safe, it lets you have a worry-free time.  Even Uber is now available in Napa – for easy pickups and relatively affordable rates.

Have your own vehicle? There are services that allow you to hire a driver to drive your own car like My Napa Valley Driver and  Designated Driver Napa Valley. One hundred percent worth it!

Wineries
Napa Valley is home to top-notch food and wine – when you visit this area, taking in romantic meals and wineries means you have lots of time to talk about what you like, where you’re at and why you love your partner.

Domaine Carneros
No visit is complete without some romantic sparkling wine. For that, you’ll want to head north from Carneros. Sparkling Wine from Domaine Carneros. They have a lush, beautifully served sparkling wines that are perfect to kick off your trip.

20150216_domaine-carneros

Girard Cellars
From a cozy tasting room in Yountville, you’ll taste some of Napa’s premier fruit – you can walk to many world class restaurants from the tasting room.

20150216_girard

Heitz Cellars 
Visit classic Napa luxury at Heitz Cellars – it’s tiny and romantic and if you visit on a rainy winter night, you might just never leave.

20150216_heitz-cellars

Larkmead 
Upvalley, you’ll find Larkmead winery, a charming farmhouse in a sunny, bright field of flowers. Winemaker Dan Petroski makes award-winning, beautifully balanced wines year after year.

Restaurants

20150216_bouchon

Bouchon Bakery
No trip to Napa Valley is complete without visiting a Thomas Keller restaurant. Thankfully Bouchon Bakery makes it easy. Sneak out early to get your sweetie coffee and fresh bread. If you’re headed out together, you can take your time with breakfast in the charming courtyard. 

Tra Vigne 
This Napa Valley staple has seen dozens of accomplished chefs spring from its kitchens. The restaurant is warm and cozy both inside and out. A candle lit outside meal with tableside mozzarella bruschetta paired with an inspired wine is just what your anniversary trip needs – am I right?

Terra
Maybe because of the candlelight, or the brilliantly executed attention to detail, but Terra Restaurant, also in St. Helena remains a romantic visit. Yet another innovative wine list and a menu that’s stayed fresh over many years, Terra is classic Napa Valley romance.

With a little communication and planning (wait a minute, that sounds like marriage!), Napa Valley is the perfect place to spend your anniversary. Any memorable Napa places I missed? Share them in the comments!

 

Tumblr
02.09.15

Sindy: Beautiful Bride 1977
Photo from Flickr user Speckled Owl

Back when I got married, I was certain I was a thoughtful bride because I let my bridesmaids choose their dresses from the pages of a catalog. I clung to that one act as proof of my thoughtfulness.

In the meantime, I had planned an expensive destination wedding for my guests, picked fights with my maid of honor and cheaped out on bridesmaid gifts. All the while, I asked our attendants to do tasks for me that I could do myself.

Looking back on my wedding, I realize I was kind of a horrible bride, regardless of the bridesmaid dress situation. Most egregiously, I didn’t consider the comfort and happiness of my guests first – my own vision of my day was the only consideration.

What I failed to be was generous – and if I had been, I would have asked questions like:
• How much will this wedding cost my guests and attendants?
• How many events can we feed our guests?
• What should we provide in a welcome bag to make sure everyone has what they need when they arrive?

To help save you from the same lingering regret, I’ve gathered some general recommendations that thoughtful couples would be wise to incorporate into their planning for the big day.

Love Our Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
These friends are investing significant time, resources and energy into making sure the party goes off without a hitch. They’re throwing showers, bachelorette parties and getaways, while gifting the whole time. At a bare minimum, you can give them a gift that reflects how important they are to you. If your budget allows, consider covering transportation, lodging or clothing to offset their contribution to the big day.

Gifts Considerations
Avoid engraving – as well as flasks. People can only use so many flasks and they have limited uses. Some other recommended gifts include a bottle of fancy scotch or bourbon (for the drinkers), a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, or cool sneakers.

As well, consider jewelry that goes with other occasions than just the wedding. Paying for hair and makeup, or giving a gift certificate for a post-event mani pedi are also appreciated. A high end bathrobe is a great gift for any gender.

Depending on how well they get along, experiences are another gift appreciated by attendants, even more so if the food, transportation and lodging are covered.

Alcohol
Thoughtful couples don’t necessarily need to make sure they have a dry wedding in case one of 200 guests has an alcohol addiction, but thoughtful couples do make sure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks at all events. Providing transportation back to the hotel, whether by a shuttle or a taxi service is a kind gesture that has the additional bonus of supporting their good life!

Include both parties
This should go without saying, but thoughtful couples should include both parties in their event planning. Just because one member of the couple cares more, doesn’t mean that they should be excluded from all the wedding planning. I speak from experience as I made some really dumb decisions by not allowing my fiancé a part in the planning process.

Vendor Thanks
Thoughtful couples make sure to follow up with positive reviews for the vendors that made their wedding a success. Whether it’s for the officiant you hired, the caterer who served all that salmon without a hitch or a bartender extrordinaire, thoughtful brides make sure they all leave richer for the experience.

It’s not that hard to be a thoughtful couple – it just takes reimagining of the event as something that only celebrates you, to an event that delights and celebrates your guests. This change in mindset is one I wish I’d had!

(Well, there’s always time to plan our 20th wedding anniversary party, right?)

Tumblr
02.02.15

When it comes to my lady friends, Napa Valley has attractions for all of us. Whether we are spending one last weekend together before the wedding or we just want to celebrate that promotion, we’ve collected some of our favorite Napa Valley spots for your unapologetically fantastic ladies’ weekend.

 

Napa Ladies Weekend

Spa
No ladies trip is complete without enjoying one of the many luxurious spas in Napa Valley. My favorite part of a spa treatment is the pool, steam room and access to amenities both before and after mytreatments. That’s why we love Solage. Hot stones, aromatherapy and advanced skin care keep you relaxed and refreshed. Take a long, wine-soaked lunch at SolBar for the perfect day with your ladies.

Solage Spa

Are your ladies more of the down and dirty kind? Would they appreciate an outdoor soak in a hot tub or a mud bath? If so, Calistoga is your town. Enjoy a classic, reasonable restorative mud bath at Indian Springs spa.

If you’re looking for something part way between mud bath and luxury resort, Health Spa Napa Valley  is just the spot. Order a light lunch from Pizzeria Tra Vigne  to enjoy at the pool with your ladies after your treatments.

Pro Napa Ladies Weekend tip: Book manicures and pedicures for your ladies weekends early – weekends at the few local nail salons fill up fast.

 

Wine
While in America’s wine motherland, it makes sense to partake in the fruit of our labor. For groups, it’s always best to call in advance of your trip. When scheduling, leave extra time both at the winery (no less than 60-90 minutes per location) and plenty of time for travel so the group isn’t hurried.

Headed South from “Upvalley,” visit Clos Pegase, a winery with high quality fruit and outstanding grounds. They’re adept at managing groups and host some of the most beautiful events this side of the Mayacamas.

Clos Pegase

After your time at Clos Pegase, head up the Eastern side of the valley to Cade, a 100% LEED certified winery for some of the best views in the valley.

After enjoying the pure design luxuriousness of Cade, head back to the valley floor to enjoy some delicious sparkling wine at Mumm Napa – no ladies weekend is complete without bubbles!

Some more experiential tasting experienced include the bottle blending seminar at Conn Creek. Learn about how wines from different vineyards and varietals can be blended to create your perfect travel souvenir.

As well, the organic gardens at Frogs Leap Vineyards can accommodate gorgeous garden tastings for groups up to 14. A deliciously healthy way to wrap up your wine tasting day.

Pro tip: Hire a driver, the cost isn’t unreasonable compared to the cost of tipsy driving and the serious risk of a DUI.

 

Food
Although many wineries offer cheese and chocolate pairing plates, as your weekend goes on, you’re going to need some food. We may be biased, but we truly believe America’s best food is within these 30 square miles. Capture some of Thomas Keller’s magic at Bouchon Bistro  or Ad Hoc. The service is always impeccable and the food innovative and comforting.

Ad Hoc

The cuisine at Michael Chiarello’s restaurant Bottega could inspire the most jaded palates with fresh takes on classic Italian cuisine. Don’t forget the burrata (never forget the burrata).

bottega

For the best view in the valley, nothing beats the terrace at Auberge du Soleil’s bistro and bar. Fancy cocktails, a remarkable wine list and some of the valley’s best cuisine make it a must for your trip.

Auberge du Soliel

In Napa, you can please any kind of eater with a visit to Oxbow market. From oysters to cheeseburgers, this open market buzzes with a deliciously creative energy. Great shopping too!

Hog Island Oysters at the Oxbow Market

Pro tip: Consider a private dining experience for your group – you pick the menu and the costs can be divided ahead of time.

Are you planning your Napa Valley ladies weekend?
Ask any questions in the comments – we love to share the delicious of wine country – all in the name of friendship!

 

 

                                                                                          

Tumblr
01.26.15

Bring the two of you closer together – these three cozy meals are the perfect antidote to winter’s chill.

Breakfast for Dinner
There’s something so romantic about serving breakfast for dinner with your loved one. Breakfast is a meal we usually only share with our closest and I always feel like I’m getting away with something scandalous.

For this meal, serve fruit-filled crepes with turkey bacon and a vegetable frittata that will make your loved one swoon.

Crepes from SkinnyTaste
There’s no way around it, these Czech crepes from SkinnyTaste are elegant.  There’s something about crepes that whispers, “fancy.” Gina makes a crepe dish that makes you feel decadent without the fat.

Czech crepes from SkinnyTaste

Veggie Frittata
The Pioneer Woman’s Veggie Frittata is a healthy, budget-conscious protein, that works deliciously with turkey bacon. I like to leave the olives out of mine, but if you’re a fan, go for it! Ree’s frittata satisfies the hungriest partners.

Pioneer Woman's Veggie Frittata

 

Skinny Macaroni and Cheese + Chopped Salad + Chocolate Pudding

This meal is fancy enough for a Valentine’s Day dinner, but practical enough for a romantic January dinner for two. I like that we can eat it in front of the television, for those nights that the Orphan Black marathon goes 4 episodes deep. 

Macaroni and Cheese from Cooking Light
These macaroni and cheese recipe from Cooking Light are a lighter take, yet still substantial enough to please appetites of all kinds.

Cooking Light Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Farmers Market Chopped Salad
I love to serve macaroni and cheese with a chopped salad — this Farmers Market Chopped Salad from Food & Wine has all the elements of my favorites. It’s crunchy, filling and absolutely delicious.

Farmers Market Chopped Salad

Chocolate Pudding
This delicious chocolate pudding from Skinny MS has an additional coconut flavor from the coconut oil. It’s the perfect hit of sweetness that can be consumed from the couch.

MS Skinny Chocolate Pudding

 

Crab Rigatoni + Caesar Salad + Garlic Bread

This meal is made special by the addition of the crab — and is far easier to pull together than it looks. I’d serve this for a special Valentine’s day dinner. This meal would be delicious with promisQous white, a blend of tasty white grapes that are the perfect foil to the sweet crab and salty anchovy dressing.

Jamie Oliver’s Crab Rigatoni
Crab rigatoni is far easier than the name would let you believe. Just add seafood and vegetables to this homey dish for maximum flavor and great health. Or as Jamie Oliver would tell us about this recipe, “The combined sweetness of the crab and tomatoes is a great flavour match for the fresh, aniseedy kick of the fennel.”

Crab Rigatoni from Jamie Oliver

Caesar on the Light Side
Light Caesar salad from Jamie OliverI love to serve Jamie’s Crab Rigatoni with Jamie’s Caesar On the Light Side salad to reinforce the Mediterranean influence.

No matter the occasion, enjoy these cozy, healthy dinners for the two of you – happy nestling!

Tumblr
01.19.15

Browsing wedding trends, gorgeous gowns and inspiring food is one of our favorite activities at Monogamy Wines. Here, we’ve shared our top five wedding websites for today’s brides and grooms.

A Practical Wedding

Meg and team are a Monogamy Wines favorite. This is partly due to an editorial voice that is calm and, well, practical. In the words of one of my 2014 bride friends, “They helped me keep my sanity during an insane time.” Approaching weddings with a healthy skepticism of the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) APW shares the personal and meaningful side of weddings.

A Practical Wedding

 

Green Wedding Shoes

Eye candy for days, Green Wedding Shoes  features beautiful shots of beautiful people doing beautiful things. With an eye on visual trends, their inspiration shoots are delicious way to keep on top of what’s next.

Green Wedding Shoes

 

Muna Luchi Bride

More eye candy, this time with a focus on brides of color, Muna Luchi Bride shares elegant, contemporary visual inspiration. Their inspiration section shares décor, fashion and style with an unbelievably gorgeous point of view.

Muna Luchi Bride

 

Offbeat Bride

When we tire of conventionally attractive couples running hand in hand through fields of wheat, Offbeat Bride is our go-to site. Featuring their Offbeat “tribe,” the celebration of partnership is what’s important. Ariel’s transparency is inspiring, as she shares the logic behind the decisions in all her Offbeat properties.

Offbeat Bride

 

Snippet and Ink

More wedding visual inspiration, Snippet and Ink also focuses on the design behind the wedding. Sharing the how to behind the design, it’s one of our go-to sites for on trend wedding décor inspiration.

Snippet and Ink

Now that we’ve shared our favorites – it’s time to hear what sites keep you inspired during wedding planning. Share in the comments!

    

Tumblr
01.12.15

It’s nearly settled! You’ve decided on your venue and your menu – and now it’s time to choose the wine for your wedding. But how do you choose which one?

wine

Today we’re talking specifically about red wines for your wedding. With bubbles for your toast and whites during your appetizer, choosing a red wine can feel daunting. With thousands of wines on the market, how do you choose?

Caterer or Venue Rules

vendor

Your first order of business is to find out what the rules are so that you’re in compliance with all guidelines and laws. As you already know, unless you are hosting your wedding in your own home, you’re beholden to lots of guidelines from your venue or caterer.

Many wedding venues are already tied to a specific brand of wine that’s part of the event package. If that’s the case, rest easy, your work here is done. If you’re tying the knot at a winery, it’s generally expected that most of the served wine would be from that winery. Many public locations may have liquor laws that prevent wine from being served at all!

Budget
As much as we’d love to pretend otherwise, budget is often the next red wine determining factor. With bottles of red wine ranging from $2.50 to $1000 per bottle, where do you even start? You can estimate what you’re comfortable spending per bottle, you can work the wine consumption into the per-guest budget, or you could work backwards from your favorite wine.

We at Monogamy wines employ a brief equation. What’s the cost of your everyday red wine? What’s the cost of your special occasion wine? Now split the difference. Other factors that determine your wine budget include the number of guests attending the wedding, any corkage fees charged by the venue and the quality of the food you’re serving.

Food Pairing
We tend to follow the general guideline that lighter wines pair well with lighter food and heavier wines with heavier food. If your only choices are one white and one red for the whole event, it’s best to choose a lighter red like a Pinot Noir or a Merlot for their flexibility and balance. If you’re serving several courses that go from light food to heavier, meat based fare and wine is not limited, consider moving from a Pinot Noir to a heavier Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

Likability
Some wines will earn appreciative nods from guests no matter the occasion. Like we mentioned, Pinot Noir is still popular, as is Malbec for red wines. Red blends can be very flexible as the winemakers blend different varietals for a specific taste, rather than varietal specificity.

Snob Factor
Where do your guests fall on a scale from wine snob to grape juice enthusiast? Is your wedding guest list primarily composed of Mom and Dad’s country club friends? Or are they more like Aunt Sarah who’ll drink anything? Knowing what kind of wine will make your guests comfortable can also help you determine what kind of wine to serve.

YOU
couple

While taking your guests’ preferences into account don’t lose sight of the kinds of wine you and your partner love. Do you prefer big jammy reds from California? More austere European wines? Funky, mushroomy wines from the Pacific Northwest?

Making the wine a part of your story can be a touching part of your event. Did you take a trip to a winery? Get engaged in wine country? Is there a special wine you drank on your first date? A wine club you belong to together? Including a wine that’s special to the two of can be a memorable part of your wedding.

Of course, we’re biased — we love Monogamy Wine’s label and fruity North Coast deliciousness Interested in buying Monogamy Wines for your event? Click here to order by the case!

Tumblr
01.05.15

Congrats! You’re engaged!

It’s time to celebrate with an engagement party.

Engagement parties can feel like a confusing offshoot of the relatively straightforward process of wedding planning . Most engagement party traditions are local at best, downright mystical at worst.

And although this might feel daunting, all it really means is that you just get to have the kind of party that reflects and celebrates your love. What kind of celebration do you enjoy the most? You get to have that.

     Why? 

Why?
It’s a good idea to know why you’re throwing an engagement party – generally, the reason for engagement parties is to announce the great news, introduce families and share toasts for the engaged couple.

Although introducing families is part of the tradition, it’s a good idea to make sure your parents have met in private before the party – no need to add that kind of pressure on to an already loaded event.

 Who?

Who?

Hosting

Engagement parties can be hosted by either family or friends. Traditionally brides and grooms do not throw their own party. But that depends on the traditions in your circle of people.

 

If you do decide to throw your own engagement party, consider throwing a regular party and surprising the guests with your big news. As well, you can throw a house-warming/engagement party if you’ve recently cohabitated.

 

Guests
Traditionally, engagement parties are intimate and tiny for the people closest to the bride and groom. Another reason to keep engagement party guest lists small is that outside of toasts, there aren’t a lot of scheduled activities. Add to that too many people and you’re inviting party drama.

If parents are hosting a more traditional engagement party, both families would be invited. Invite the whole expected bridal party as well as immediate family members, family you’re close to and planning to invite to the wedding as well as your best chums.

Save the eventual terrible feelings by only inviting people that are on the wedding guest list. Try to invite the same number of people from both sides of the couples’ lives.

 What?

What?
Activities

There aren’t generally a lot of scheduled activities in a bridal party. Keep the party moving by including:

Engagement images
Did you document your engagement? Is there video or photos? Let your guests be a part of your moment by sharing those details with your guests.

The Party Itself
The typical evening cocktail party isn’t the only option.  Consider throwing a celebratory brunch, afternoon picnic or recreational event.

Toasts
Toasts are a big part of this party. If something fizzy jibes with your lifestyle, consider having sparkling wine at the ready and glassware to fit.

 When?

When?

As soon as you’re ready – engagement parties are usually thrown within months of the engagement happening. It’s usually a good idea to throw that engagement party before you get in the thick of wedding planning – one set of to dos is enough.

 Where?

Where?
If families are hosting the party, let your opinion be known, but know that they get the last word in where to host. But a good rule is to plan for the vibe of the party. Are you a relaxed couple? One whose tastes run more traditional? In the end, the celebration’s location depends on the guest list and the hosts.

Another idea – if you or friends are hosting, is to choose a location that’s special to your relationship – consider the spot where you were engaged, where you met or a particularly epic date.

 How?

How?
Invitations

Paper invitations are still the most expected for an engagement party. Consider it a great practice run for gathering all those home addresses for the wedding invitations.

Décor
Although it’s tempting to want your engagement party to be Wedding Part 1, this isn’t the time. Keep your décor straightforward. Consider a theme or style that’s not related in any way to your wedding day. Flowers, food and drink are all that’s expected. Choosing a theme that both you and your love are thrilled about can make the process even more fun.

More functionally, make sure that there is a place for the happy couple and their families to make sure they can greet guests – that’s why they’re there!

Budget
Don’t overspend – this is a small celebration of your big news, not a time to blow half your wedding budget. Save your efforts for the wedding.

Toasts
Since this may be the only activity at the party, the general order of toasts at a party hosted by the parents is the following:

First, the bride’s father proposes a toast to the bride and her fiancé.

Then, the fiancé rises and toasts his bride-to-be and her parents, and then his own parents.

Some toast guidelines:

  • Keep it simple and short (no monologues).
  • Stand up to give the toast.
  • Tell the guests what to do, “Now raise your glasses…”
  • No insults. Period. No matter how funny you think they are.
  • Sit down when you’re done.

At more informal or themed events hosted by friends all bets are off — but you might not want to forget a toast for the host by the engaged couple.

Gifts
Historically, gifts were not expected at the engagement party. People still want to celebrate your love. Engagement gifts tend to be more gestural – they don’t need to be expensive or complicated.

If the couple is worried about friends’ budgets, it’s a good idea to let the hosts know to let guests know that gifts aren’t expected. Guests can always ask the host what’s expected. For couples, it can be a good idea to do a little preliminary registering just in case the guests are eager to gift.

Thanks
The host of the party should get a thank you gift that means something. It’s a special thing to throw a party for a couple and a memorable gesture to say thanks.

Are you planning an engagement party? Have you attended any fantastic ones? Let us know in the comments!

Tumblr
12.29.14

Whether she got down on one knee, he gave him a ring in his champagne glass or they both just sort of decided one night to get married, all couples have a moment when they decide to commit for life.

Despite all the nerves involved in an engagement, the trickiest part comes next. How do you tell your friends and family that you’ve decided to make it legal?

When James and I got engaged, it was at a happy hour with all of our friends in attendance. It was great to have everyone we loved around us. There were immediate love and hugs and attention. That said, we both admit we’d have liked to savor the moment when it was just secret news and the ability to roll it out slowly.

 hj-yes

Family Matters
Have kids? They come first. In case your have questions or feelings that you want to be able to address, first make sure they’re first to know. Want the kids complicit in sharing the news? Let them in on the “secret” first, and let them announce it for you.

Parents usually come next – with close friends on the short list as well. This kind of news is best shared in person, but mobile phones and Skype or Google Hangouts can make it even more personal.

With Facebook such a convenient method of communication, it’s tempting to run home and “change your status” the second you know. But parents, relatives and close friends usually want to hear the news in person first – save hard feelings by waiting to do it in person as much as you can.

And now, three creative ways to let friends and family know that you’ve decided to tie the knot.

Video Announcements

 youtube-announcement

For the more media-savvy among us, linking on your social media to a homemade video can send exactly the creative message you’re hoping for.  This couple sent an adorable announcement puzzle for their loved ones.

This videographer shared the story of their relationship with bonus dog cameos.

Or, just straight up talk to the camera and tell your story – let them know about your love!

Snail Mail
It’s a fact, we all love getting mail. Let your friends know with a clever card. Etsy has a wide variety of funny engagement cards. This  OMG card sums up the feelings from a surprise engagement pretty accurately.

 omg

No time to get engagement photos taken before you announce your news? Take this route found on Zazzle and use your elementary school photos to let your loved ones know.

 kids-married

Cookies

You can quell that Facebook status change impulse by serving creative cookies like these from JP Creatibles 

 facebookcookie

Better yet, announce your engagement from inside a fortune cookie.

 fortunecookie

Seeing all of these engagement announcement ideas stirs a little sadness – I had no idea there were so many awesome methods for engagement announcements back in the day.

How did you announce your engagement? Newspaper and the phone? Or a full on flash mob?

 

Tumblr