After much anticipation (and a little bit of trepidation) our Engagement party has now come and gone! After months of designing invitations, planning menus, and countless afternoons of DIY crafting, our New York themed Engagement party happened last weekend, and it was a massive success! (Although I am slightly biased).
Location, Location, Location!
We chose a gorgeous spot in the Bayside suburb of Manly in Brisbane, and arrived at the park nice and early to secure ourselves a great table that overlooked the water. We arrived nice and early to begin setting up trestle tables, bunting and all sorts of New York themed decorations, before the guests started to arrive at midday. If any of you also decide to use a public space that you can’t reserve, I recommend you arrive early and check the space out for amenities close by such as toilets, taps, and Barbecue’s that are in good working order
New York – The City that Eats!
Our aim on the day was to keep things as casual and relaxed as possible (an intentional nod towards the demeanor of the couple being recognised on the day ;-)) and decided that a BBQ lunch was the perfect way for people to kick back and enjoy a beautiful day on the bay. We tried to make the menu meaningful and relevant, so all the usual suspects were present: Steak, sausages, coleslaw, potato salad etc. It was also necessary to introduce some New York favourites to carry our theme throughout, so this included New York cheesecake, chocolate brownies, and our delicious Arnold Palmer ice-tea concoction!
Styled to Perfection
We also went out of our way to ensure our New York theme was recognisable, but not tacky so we kept our colours muted and used highlights of red to add a pop of colour. I purchased some fabric that featured New York icons, then matched it with neutral tones of biscuit and white which my Mum sewed into bunting flags. They looked amazing and it was nice to have this personalised touch which we will also be able to reuse for our Central Park wedding next year. My fiance ordered some big red disposable cups as he loved the fact they resembled those used at American frat parties. We then teamed them up with white paper straws that had red hearts on them that I sourced through Sharnel Dollar Designs. They were very popular especially with the kids that attended!
As a special thank you to all of our guests who attended, we also created little party favours to ensure everybody got a little piece of New York to take home. These came in two forms: The first was a little airmail envelope that we’d stamped and tied up with bakers twine. Inside the envelope was a little thank you note, as well as three little Polaroid magnets that my Fiance and I made ourselves. The images on the magnets featured photos of New York that we’d taken ourselves, as well as little descriptions. The magnets were a hit and were a nice little talking point for all our guests as they now take pride of place on their refrigerators. We got the idea from a blog by Ambrosia Girl and then changed the design to meet our own needs.
The second take-home gift (although many didn’t even make it to the car-park before being devoured) were our Big Apple cake pops! I ordered 70 red velvet cake pops from Tori’s Delights which were made to resemble big juicy red apples. The cake pops were displayed in metal pails supplied by Tori and decorated with red and white apple ribbon that I bought from Ribbons Galore. As a final touch, my Sister helped me hand-stamp our initials onto little manila shipping tags to add a personalised touch.
An Engaging Map
Because our wedding next year will be small and only attended by a handful of family members, I decided that the Engagement party was a more appropriate event to have everyone sign our signing board. Because I thought the idea of a guest book was a little old-fashioned and not nearly creative enough, I decided to design my own framed map of New York, that was surrounded by a white photo mat that people could write on. I purchased a good quality re-print of an old vintage map of New York, then took it to my local framing place to have a heart shape cut out of the photo mat. They then put it all into a silver frame and left the glass out so that people could write on it. After everybody had signed it, I took it back to the framing store so they could add the glass, and voila! we have a beautiful keepsake that will hang on our wall for years to come.
With the party now over, it’s so nice to look back and see all the hard work and planning paid-off, and that our closest friends and family had the opportunity to share such an exciting time in our lives. If any of you are planning a destination wedding and you also aren’t able to have everybody you love attend your special day, I highly recommend throwing a destination-themed Engagement or Post-Wedding party. You can do it with a very small budget like I did, or go all out and book a fabulous venue. Either way, it’s worthwhile and I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself as much as I did!