Almost two years ago (oh my goodness, it can’t really be that long ago, can it?), my little brother and his wonderful wife got married. When they got engaged, I was over the moon ecstatic and couldn’t wait to throw them an engagement party. But of course, I didn’t have much of a budget to do so, as per usual. So, how did I pull off a party for 30 guests on the cheap? I’ll share with you the secrets of pulling off an engagement party when you need to keep the budget low. Whether you’re a bride, a member of the wedding party, a great friend… you will need to save some money for the bridal shower(s), rehearsal dinner(s), wedding gift(s), ceremony, reception, honeymoon… so do yourself a favor and throw a smashing engagement party without breaking the bank.
Mini Diamond Donuts
Source: The Knot
For some strange reason, I do not have pictures from this “long ago” party including the food. And what a shame too, because these donuts are so easy and perfect for the occasion! Luckily, The Knot has an adorable design as well.
Simply buy mini donuts (with holes of course, like rings) and create paper diamonds to stick into the dough. The cheapest method is to snap wooden popsicle sticks in half and glue a paper diamond to one side of the sharp end of the stick and then cover the other side of the stick as well with another paper diamond so that no one can see the jagged edge of the wood from either side. Stick the smooth circular side of the popsicle stick into the donut and voila, it looks like a ring!
This cake is such an adorable and EASY cake to pull off and pull apart. (Get it? Oh gosh that one was sickenly corny, I apologize.) AS you can see, all you need is 24 cupcakes. Feel free to use whatever flavor you want, or maybe even more than one flavor. The finishing look will not show the type of cake underneath from the top which is what matters the most for the full effect. However, to complete the look from the side, I recommend lining 7 of them with white cupcake liners and the rest in yellow cupcake liners.
Find a large rectangular or circular baking sheet and line all of it with parchment paper. Arrange ten un-frosted cupcakes into a triangle, and then 14 into a circle around the tip of the triangle as shown in the image. Frost the triangle cupcakes entirely white, and then the edges of the bottom of the triangle with a swirling line of yellow. Lastly, frost all of the circle of cupcakes yellow.
As a cute finishing touch, you can use black icing on the parchment paper (or Sharpie, but it’s obviously not as edible) and write the name of the couple in the middle. The BEST part is that you don’t have to cut the cake and dirty a knife, your guests simply pick a cupcake and pull it apart from the rest.
Signs and Banners
You should never be without a hashtag for your get togethers in my book. It’s easy, free, and fun for your guests to engage with. Pick a hashtag to fit just this engagement party, or if the bride and groom already have one for their “celebrity” couple name or the one they want to use for their wedding, and create a cute sign to showcase and remind your guests to use it. You can either write the sign by hand like I did, or you can design a cute sign in Canva and print that on normal 8.5×11 paper, or colored paper if you so desire. Put it in a nice frame you have around, and you can prop that stand up in a wire frame holder that you can purchase at the Dollar Tree. Easy peasy and adorable! #jechsputaringonit
Game Instructions Sign
Source: Say I Do Printables
We’ll get to the games in a minute, but I wanted to point out that you can take an “ongoing” game (as I like to call them, which is essentially a game that guests can play on their own time and begin when they arrive until you announce and reward the winner at the end of the night) as a great opportunity to add another decorative sign. Again, write by hand, make in Microsoft Word or Canva! The possibilities are endless.
Whatever the occasion, the addition of a banner pulls it all together and makes sure that your theme can’t be missed. In this case, He Put a Ring On It was the obvious choice for the banner. This theme could apply to literally any engagement party, but it was particularly fitting for my brother and sister-in-law because he proposed with a chocolate ring first before revealing the real one. So cute! This banner was a play on the way that he proposed, because he put more than one ring on it.
I created this banner by simply drawing the letters onto white cardstock with a ruler and cutting them out, then outlining them with a thick black marker. I then cut rectangles out of a teal wrapping paper I found at the dollar store two inches wider on each side than the size of the letters. Next, I glued each white letter to its own piece of wrapping paper. Lastly, I hole punched the top two corners of each piece and strung them together with ribbon. Hang it on a prominent wall of the party and BAM! The party has a center decoration.
In order to pull off a ring themed party, you have to throw in a few ring-specific pieces of decor. These ring related pieces of decor were a big hit with the crowd, added some whimsical and colorful effect to the mood of the party, and they were only a few dollars each.
Paper Diamond Ring Chain
Did you ever create those paper chains when you were in middle school? Remember how easy and adorable they were? You can easily add them to any party decor, but they are especially cute when turned into diamond rings.
Simply cut pieces of colored cardstock 2.5 inches wide and 8 inches long, about 20 to 30 strips of each color. Roll the first strip into a circle and attach one end over the other, overlapping just a tad. You can attach them either with a couple of staples or tape on the inside and outside of the circle. The tape method is what I chose so that it would be more invisible on the paper.
Next, place a second strip through the first ring and then close the second strip into a new ring. Continue closing rings until you run out of strips of paper. The chain should be at least twice the length of your wingspan or longer, which will look nicely spread across the top of a wall in the party area.
Lastly, print out diamond rings about 2.5 inches wide at its widest point on white cardstock so that it will be sturdy. Print enough out so that you can turn every few ring into a diamond ring. Stick the diamond sporadically to rings that are facing the same direction (but feel free to put some upside down as shown in the picture) and then hang it on the wall with the diamonds laying flat against the wall.
Diamond Ring Garland
This is a cheap and easy addition to the decor as well. Simply cut out two different sizes of yellow rings out of the yellow cardstock. You could of course make them all the same size, but I think alternating between smaller and larger creates a nice effect. Either way, find a circle object that is the right size (a cup, small plate, cd if anyone still has those lying around, etc.) and cut out larger circles, then smaller circles inside of each to create the rings. Tape them all together into one long and straight line.
Next, you need to create the diamonds on your rings. I simply used a glue stick to adhere tin foil flat against cardstock, and then cut out diamond shapes. Here is a template which you can tape to the front and cut out all layers, or you could trace the diamond shapes from this template and cut only the two layers. Either way, you will end up with the desired effect of a diamond shape to tape to the back of each of your rings on the garland. Want to step it up one level? Buy some sparkly silver paper, or better yet holographic paper, from the craft store and use that instead of tin foil. Of course it will be more expensive, but it may be worth it for the perfect amount of dazzling shine. You decide!
Giant Hanging Ring
This one is dirt cheap and adds a large “centerpiece” to the room, but is a little gawdy. Then again, plenty of diamond rings and jewelry are gawdy as well, so perhaps it is spot on. All you need to do is cut a large circle out of cardboard and then a smaller circle inside of that to create a giant ring. Cover the cardboard ring in tinfoil so that it is completely covered. Looking back, I wish I had laid the tin foil a bit flatter along the ring instead of so wrinkled, but can’t change the past. It was a creative choice, so I suppose I should own it, but you can decide how you want the tin foil to look against the cardboard and make that your own.
Next, you will need to create your giant diamond. I used an entire sheet of white cardstock and drew straight lines on it with a sharpie and ruler in the same design as the template from earlier, just in a much grander scale. Do the same lines on both sides. Then, cut a small slit in the tin foil cover. Put some glue (I recommend a glue stick instead of liquid glue) on the tip of the diamond on both sides of the paper and slip it into the slit you created an inch or two deep. This will ensure that you can’t see the tip of the diamond no matter which side the giant ring is facing. It needs to look the same from both sides.
Lastly, loop fishing line around the ring near the diamond area and tie a knot to be able to hang it. Tie the other end to a thumb tack and stick that in the ceiling. Your dazzling rock will be hanging for all the world (or I guess all the guests) to see.
Floating Balloon Picture Display
I love this one because it is so darn cheap and easy, yet adorable and gives an engagement party that extra touch of the warm and fuzzies. All you will need for this one is helium balloons (with long ribbons attached as they usually come), sweet pictures of the couple. You will want twice as many pictures as you get balloons. I went with bright blue balloons to go with the theme and black and white pictures so that they would all go together nicely, but you can customize that any way you want. Also, make sure that all of your pictures are the same size, and that half of them are vertical pictures and half of them are horizontal.
Use a glue stick all over the back of one of the pictures. Then place one of the balloon strings in the middle of the string top to bottom, then place a second picture (one that faces the same direction as the first picture) on top of the sticky surface. Let all of them dry and then simply place them in the same area of the party so that they can exist together in one adorable display. Try to pick a ceiling height (if you can help it) that will allow your pictures to hang at about eye level, that way your guests can easily walk over to the display and admire the pictures and turn them around to see the memories on both sides.
It may not be very original, but it sure is fun. All you will need for this game is enough Hershey’s Kisses for each of your guests and pipe cleaners in your color of choice. You will wrap the pipe cleaners around the Kiss so that it becomes the diamond of your ring. You can find a great tutorial here.
Once you have enough rings for all of your guests, you’re done with the hardest part. You will need the sign that you created before with the rules to display next to the rings, and a basket or bowl of some kind to store the rings in. The game and your directions on the sign are simple: don’t say any of the following words. (Insert your list of taboo words here.) These should be words that would naturally come up very easily in this setting so that it will be hard to avoid and you will need to pay close attention. For an engagement party, words like marriage, engaged, ring, wedding, bride or groom are perfect. Also, I wouldn’t recommend that you keep it to no more than four words so that guests can remember without having to look at the sign.) If anyone hears you say one of the taboo words, they get to keep your ring! The guest with the most rings at the end of the party wins.
Put all of it near the front door so that your guests will notice it and pick up a ring as they walk into the party and begin playing this game right away. It is a game best played throughout the entire party and the winner announced at the end. And of course, the winner gets a Ring Pop candy!
Find Your Fiance
This game comes in many forms and names, but it is hilarious in engagement or wedding parties. The rules are simple. All of the male guests that want to play stand in a line. The bride-to-be is blindfolded, and then they have to go down the line and feel a body part of each of the guests until they are sure that they have found their fiance. This does not have to be dirty by the way, as we started off with the men’s noses, hair, hands and feet. I recommend having a “host” of the game that knows how to play but does not participate, so that they can guide the blindfolded bride’s hand. They can help her feel just the person’s nose, etc. so that there is no cheating or accidental touching in the wrong spot. (It can prevent some awkwardness, let me tell you!) It’s actually very difficult to figure out who someone is just from their toes! And that’s what makes it so embarrassing and hilarious.
Then, switch it up and have the groom guess from all of the ladies! Just make sure the host keeps everything PG. 😉
This one is pretty obvious for the theme: incorporate a ring toss into your ring party. How can you not? If you can find or want to DIY a larger games such as this one, by all means use that! If you are like me and don’t have a ring toss game or the money/time to buy/build one, here is a simple version you can pull off for a few dollars.
If you don’t already have a six pack of some kind of bottles, you will need to purchase those. But if you don’t have any and don’t care about what it is in the bottles, there are a couple of options at the dollar store that you can dump out or store in a mason jar. But careful– don’t throw out the box they come in!
First, with the bottles set aside and the thin cardboard box by itself, decorate it however you like to match the theme. I wanted to recreate the look of a wooden crate (like the one I wish I had the time to build), so I simply printed a wood pattern onto printer paper and cut/glued it to the outside of the box until it was completely covered. Then I wrote in a font that looked like it could be carved, “Ring Toss.”
Next, you must find suitable rings to work for this game. They need to be about the size of your wrist, so try to find bracelets or ponytails that may work. You will be able to get that back later as you will not damage the “rings” themselves. Using bracelets or hair ties that you can find, take curling ribbon in the party color, tape one end securely to the “ring,” wrap it all the way around so that the ring doesn’t show, and then use clear tape to secure the other end of the ribbon. This not only makes all of your rings the same color and the color of the theme, but it also makes the ring more sturdy and protected for its time clanking into glass bottles. It also seemed to make them the correct weight for the game. It was just as you would picture at the carnival and I love how it doubles as both a fun game and piece of decor!
Although this was a pretty casual party with no expectations coming from the guests, it was an absolute blast to put together.