One thing you should know about me is that I love any excuse for a good party. Any excuse - and what better way to mark an occasion than with your friends?
So here I was, thinking an engagement party would be in order. (The wedding seems so far away and I will make the most of this time.) It turns out not everyone believes in engagement parties: Andrew thinks it unnecessary. I quickly change his mind.
We book The Bluebird Chelsea, a restaurant I've always loved and which just so happens to have a very talented events team in place; add in music, courtesy of wedding DJ Matt Maurice; pretty flowers from the lovely Hannah Martin Flowers; tons of friends and a top photographer - Lucy Davenport, of course - to capture it all. In one word: Perfect.
A few lessons I picked up on the way though:
-Engagement parties used to be hosted by the bride's parents, but in this modern day and age I don't think that needs to be the case. We've celebrated with our families, but it's nice to celebrate with your friends, too.
- Putting a guest list together is hard. I avoided the challenge and invited everyone, which meant we had more than 200 people there. It was certainly buzzy and entertaining, and above all a great opportunity to meet more of Andrew's friends, and for him to meet mine. Negatives: I spent most of the night worrying I hadn't spoken to everyone, and I don't think I saw Andrew all night! I am more certain than ever that a small wedding is the right way to go.
- It was very busy and I was preoccupied and we were busy mingling, but I wish Andrew and I had spent more time together. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, I just think as an engagement party to celebrate us, it might have been nice to spend more time together. Seems obvious, but easily forgotten with hundreds of guests wanting to congratulate you, trust me.
- Although many of our guests knew each other, others did not. This was a great opportunity for everyone to interact and get to know each other. I feel like thanks to this party our wedding will be even better because our guests will already know each other.
Having said all that, I'd do it all again.