13 Engagement Party Ideas We Love

Engagement Party Ideas - a couple pouring champagne with the text "13 Ideas for Your Engagement Party" overlayed in pink

PHOTO BY JOSE VILLA

A little goes a long way here

Let’s talk about engagement party ideas. Though before we even get started, I can see y’all out there cringing at the idea of more-guest-lists-more-parties-omg. I want to take a moment to hold your hand and say if you are throwing an engagement party, here are your priorities.

PRIORITY NUMBER ONE: Just make it fun. That means not being forced into planning a party fit for the Duchess of Windsor on a Jenny From The Block budget. Not being pressured to do All The Things. Not letting your stress levels overtake your excitement levels.

PRIORITY TWO: Sparkling wine!

PRIORITY THREE: Figure out what the heck you want to do. Because really and truly, often picking a theme for an engagement party makes it way easier to plan. Even if that theme is just “pizza and beer and celebrate the newly engaged couple,” you’ll know what your vibe is and what you’re doing, and the rest of

your decisions can flow from there. But hey. We’re going to do you one (or thirteen) better on engagement party ideas, to make the planning process easy.

Keep in mind: an engagement party can be as big or as small as you’d like. It can be thrown by the couple or for the couple. And, free pass, it doesn’t even need to happen at all. But if you (or the people who love you) want to throw an engagement bash, here are my favorite engagement party ideas right now to inspire the fun.

13 ENGAGEMENT PARTY IDEAS

  1. Punch Party
  2. Vintage Cocktail Party
  3. Picnic and Bike Ride
  4. Glamour Vibes
  5. Hygge It Up
  6. Beach Cookout
  7. Personalize This Thing
  8. Earth Children
  9. Statement Balloons
  10. Champagne Tower
  11. Food as Entertainment
  12. Popcorn Bar and A Movie
  13. Dessert as Decor
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Photo by Ivan Solis

PUNCH PARTY

Is punch a theme? It should be. Make a fabulous punch or two, definitely with a decorative ice ring (aka people-pleaser extraordinaire). Or try including ultra-extra details, like garnishing with edible flowers that say, “Someone’s getting married and we’re not messing around about it.”

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Photo by Crate and Barrel

VINTAGE COCKTAIL PARTY

We’re talking old-fashioned cocktails here. Break out some gorgeous old-fashioned coupe glasses. Put together some old-fashioned appetizers, like cheese fondue or caviar-topped canapés or bourbon nuts. Don’t forget the elegant, ostentatious cocktail garnishes. Wear a velvet pencil skirt. Pearls. You get it.

Photo by Belen Aquino with Gerber + Scarpelli

BIKE RIDE AND PICNIC

Pack twee picnic baskets and meet at a bike rental shop, or just arrive at the picnic spot early to set out your red gingham blankets, baguettes, and strategically placed wildflower bundles. This is an easy one to keep the menu simple with bubbly wine, cheese, crackers, and some fresh fruit.

Photo by 11 Howard

GLAMOUR VIBES

Break out the rose gold sequin dress from New Year’s Eve, and book the top-floor bar in the city center (the one with the really low mood lighting). You can even request guests wear black and white attire. There’s something about engagement parties that leans toward elegant as opposed to the garden party vibe of many bridal showers, and I say: Go for it.

Photo by Vinazine

HYGGE IT UP

Especially in the winter, we all want to get nice and cozy at our social gatherings. Capitalize on those warm feelings with an everything-hygge-themed event. Think: a coffee or hot cocoa bar (spiked!); bonfires outside plus the fluffiest blankets, of course; s’mores; a roaring fire; and hot toddies over good conversation.

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Photo by Peden + Munk

BEACH COOKOUT

You don’t want to attempt an engagement bash that rivals the wedding itself, so keep it casual. I love the engagement party idea of a chill beach cookout. Bring a few staples yourself, but ask guests to add in whatever they want to throw on the grill. For more fun, toss some volleyballs around, get your sangria on, and stay late enough to watch the sunset.

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Photo by Mary Costa Photography

PERSONALIZE THIS THING

Did the couple have their first date at a zoo? Do they really love science fiction? Are they constantly traveling to France? Add in some thematic elements that will make people go, “That is so Chris and Malery.” Or, include little details about them in the decor, like photos of them as kids suspended on the strings of helium-filled balloons, or notes about why they’re a great team scattered on tables.

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Photo by Robbie Caponetto

EARTH CHILDREN

If your couple has more than a couple green thumbs, this could be the perfect engagement party idea. Some versions of this idea include succulent decor, seeds as favors, hanging air plants, or even cookies shaped like ferns. Consider hosting this party in a botanical garden, or even just a particularly lush stretch of public park.

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Photo by Sweetteapaper

STATEMENT BALLOONS

Say it right with these bubbly, ultra-fun balloons. You can find cursive, metallic ones that say “love,” or purchase individual letters to spell out the couple’s name or a longer phrase (maybe try “CONGRATS LOVEBIRDS”). Set them over the dessert/food/booze tables, or line the phrase up as a trail from the front door, so that when the couple enters, they’ll be greeted with helium cheer ASAP.

Photo by Jose Villa

CHAMPAGNE TOWER

Champagne towers seem to be disappearing from wedding-related events, and, if you ask me, we need to bring them back, fast. They’re opulent things, though, so save this engagement party idea for your One Big Thing at the party, and bust it out just in time for the toast for fun. It’s a memorable way to congratulate the couple.

Photo by Pottery Barn Kids Instagram

FOOD AS ENTERTAINMENT

DIY food stations are fun, but who doesn’t like to be a little spoiled? For this engagement party idea, bring in a pro, like a sushi chef, a stellar taco truck, or even a custom cotton candy maker for an indulgent treat that doubles as something fun to do at the party. (In Honolulu, you can hire an amezaiku, or Japanese candy art expert, and they’ll whip up lollipops on the spot, shaped as animals, people, and more!)

Photo by A Joyful Riot

POPCORN BAR AND A MOVIE

But okay, DIY stations are also super fun. Popcorn is so easy, and so casual, and has a million ways it can be customized. (Sweet! Salty! Nutty! Spicy!) Then, use a projector play a flick on a sheet in the backyard, a la an old-school drive-in. Make sure you pick a movie that’s short and sweet, or keep the volume turned low enough to facilitate mingling and mixing throughout the party.

Photo by New Hampshire Magazine

TUBING

If you’ve never been tubing before, this is when you and all your friends each get an inner tube, tie them to each other, and either float lazily down a river or hang out in the ocean. It’s the best thing ever. It’s the engagement party idea to win all engagement party ideas. And it should be the theme of all your next parties.

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DESSERTS AS DECOR

Again, there’s no need to go All Out In Every Way. Instead, go for one or two sweet touches. For example, opt for shaped, custom cookies, in an image that resonates with the couple (maybe they love hedgehogs, are serious dog people, come from California, or love bikes) or the generic-but-always-cute chunky, stylized engagement ring. Or how cute are these donut engagement rings? Yum!

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12 Best Ways to Heat a Garage in the Winter

Brenda Porter-Rockwell Original Article

Even in winter, projects, repairs and hobbies must go on. And that often means you’ll be spending time in the garage. Instead of risking frost bite, consider these 12 ways to heat your garage safely and reliably in winter.

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Are Barstad/Shutterstock

Determine Your Heating Needs

How difficult will it be to warm your garage in the heart of winter? How easy is it to get cheap heat in your garage? Consider how cold it gets in your part of the world, the square footage of your space and if you have sufficient insulation. Heat output is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. To get to that number you’re going to need to measure your space and think about how warm you need it to be. After you get that number you’re ready to shop for a unit!

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Insulate Your Garage

Before you invest in a garage heating system, make sure your garage has plenty of insulation. Insulate garage doors where possible as well as walls and ceilings. You can easily and inexpensively add clear plastic shrink film over windows for added protection against the cold. Once you get a garage heating system installed, you don’t want all of your warm air—not to mention the money you spend on utility bills—seeping out through cracks.

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Forced-Air Heater

You can use a forced-air unit to heat your cold garage. These heaters range in price and size and are not as pricey as an infrared heat source. Here are some factors to consider: Forced-air heaters work by blasting hot air into the room. They can be professionally installed to tie into your home’s gas or propane line, too. The downside here is if you do a lot of woodworking, for example, the forced air will blow dirt and debris around, which is a major drawback especially when you’re painting, staining and finishing projects.

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Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock

Convection Heater

A convection heater is another versatile option for a garage space heater. You can choose a unit that’s powered by electricity, natural gas or propane. These heaters operate by air convection currents circulating through the unit and across its heating element, thus heating the air around you. Depending on the type and size of your appliance, the unit could heat pretty quickly, while others take a little longer to warm a room. So, factor in how cold your garage gets and how long you’re willing to wait for it to warm up when you choose a convection heating system.

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Ductless Heating and Cooling

There are many reasons to go with a ductless heating and cooling system to heat your garage. Sometimes called split systems, multi-split systems, or split-ductless systems, a ductless system heats or cools with a single unit. They’re an efficient use of energy, thereby saving you money on your utility bill. And ductless systems are eco-friendly since they meet the highest, most efficient energy guidelines. If that wasn’t enough to consider this option, they are easier to install than most HVAC systems.

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In-Floor Heat

Warm floors aren’t just for bathrooms anymore! They’re also great for heating garages and perfect for the part-time mechanic. If you find yourself rebuilding that classic car from the ground up, treat your toes, back, neck and more with an in-floor heating system. This is a great addition to any other heat source you have in the room. Check out how to get started with PEX tubing for your radiant heat system and get one step closer to your toasty-warm dream garage.

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Add a Propane Heater

Whether the garage is the place where you tinker or you do more serious work, you’ll want to be comfortable in winter. When searching for a heat source you’ll come across many options including a propane appliance. Propane, an affordable heat source, also delivers great warmth. With a propane heater you can go big or small, depending on your needs. With this type of heater you add the fuel to the appliance and begin to instantly warm your space. The unit typically provides an automatic setting or manual ignition. Their affordability and mobility make them a great option for warming up your space.

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Electric Ceiling Panels

If you’re looking for a primary way to heat your garage in winter consider the radiant electric ceiling panel. These 1-in.-thick panels mount on the ceiling and can be an energy-efficient option that heats up quickly and cools down just as fast. Plus, if your garage not only needs to function well, but look good, you can’t go wrong with these ceiling-slimming panels.

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Consider a Mounted Electric Heater

Bigger than a portable space heater, a wall-mounted electric heater is among the best ways to heat your garage space in winter. Here you’re typically looking at installing a 240-volt hard-wired unit. Another plus—these heaters can be easier to install than a forced-air heating system, so you may not need to call in a professional for help. If you go with this kind of heater, here are some DIY tips for mounting a heater on a wall to help you.

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Dmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock

Portable Space Heater

A portable space heater—like the kind used to heat up a cold room in your home—is a simple way to augment an existing heat source to better warm your garage on those super-chilly winter days. Depending on how much additional heat you’re looking for, a garage space heater comes in nearly any size to fit any budget. Plus, they’re very portable and readily available. The U.S. Department of Energy’s tips on buying and installing a heater can help you decide what type and size unit is right for your garage.

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Install an Infrared Heater

A low-intensity infrared tube heater can be one of the best ways to heat up your garage. (Not the kind that glows red, since that could be a potential fire hazard.) Instead of blowing air like a forced-air unit, a tube heater radiates heat throughout your space. This kind of heater tends to heat objects first, people second. So, you’ll get comfortable, but it may take a little while. Check out these tips on how to install an infrared heater or a forced air unit, so you’ll be ready to go if you choose this type of system.

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SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Wood Burning Stove for Cheap Heat

A wood burning stove is an economical way to heat your garage space in winter, if done safely. Just like you take steps to make your indoor wood-burning fireplace safe, you’ll want to do the same with your garage stove. First, check with your local municipality for the permits that may be required. Then check with your insurance company to make sure installation of a wood stove in the garage for cheap heat will not void your homeowner’s policy. After getting the necessary approvals, you can order a wood stove from your local hardware store. Once installed, don’t forget to periodically clean your chimney and flue or hire a professional. Otherwise, you risk exposure to toxic gases.

When installing wood burning stoves – check with your insurance agent for guidelines on installation that won’t void your insurance policy. Shopping for insurance in Indiana – call Scott Lynch at (317) 886-0081 or visit him on line at: Scott Lynch Agency

Art Deco Puzzle Cabinet – Craig Thibodeau Fine Furniture

This Art Deco cabinet was designed for a puzzle collector and incorporates several puzzles and hidden details in the construction, it is the second in a growing series of mechanical furniture pieces I have built.  There is a 25 piece sliding tile puzzle with a marquetry picture of two birds on some flowering branches in the top.  It is hidden by a sliding cover opened with a hidden magnetic key.  Next to the puzzle is a secret compartment with a hinged lid that opens by pressing a small button hidden under one of the sliding puzzle pieces.  The front doors have a series of 13 randomly placed sliding locks holding them closed.  Sliding the correct locks allows each door to be opened with the magnetic key.  Overall this was a fun piece to build and I’m looking forward to building more like this in the future.

Watch Video here: Art Deco Hidden Puzzle Cabinet

Size:
42″ wide by 18″ deep by 34″ high
Materials:
Etimoe, Amboyna Burl, Curly Sycamore, Maple Burl, Ebony, and various marquetry woods

The YouTube video of this piece was created by his website designer Chad Thompson of Monkey C Media, thanks Chad.