Engagement Party {r o u n d 1}

9567840324_8933c2bcff_oThe best part about being engaged is celebrating and sharing the news with your family and friends.  I was blown away with all the love and support that surrounded Adam and I.  We both knew we wanted to have a longer engagement than normal and didn’t want to rush into the wedding planning stress just yet.  We wanted to relish in the moment and take the time to enjoy our new lives together as an engaged couple.  { and it’s really fun to call each other fiancé all the time.  Sounds so grown up! } 

 Just a fair warning to the guys out there, once you pop the big question you will be asked repeatedly to tell the story of how the fateful moment all went down.  So make sure it’s a good one to tell for a lifetime.

Having an engagement party was the best way to celebrate our new commitment and enjoy a special evening with everyone we love.  The next dilemma was finding the perfect location!  Thanks to Adam’s brother, Paul { the wine connoisseur in the family } he offered getting us a connected with the Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery to host our big event. 9543892492_2fa751254f_o

The Newport Beach Winery is a hidden gem tucked into the landscape of Costa Mesa.  It’s acts as a mini oasis removed from all the bustle located on the upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. The elite property holds over 1,200 hundred vines and produces some of the most high quality red grapes Orange County has to offer.  Nestled amongst the vines is perhaps the vineyards best-kept secret, a 1,000 sq ft wine cave where they hold their special blend of wines in imported oak barrels. 

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We invited 75 of our closet friends and family to our soirée.  The party took place on the patio entrance and navigated through the wine cave.  The winery has their own catering service they coordinate with and supplied us with rich and elegant hors d’oeuvre plates.  Including tempting cheeses and fresh fruit, antipasto platters and bit-sized desserts.  Our guests enjoyed pop up wine tasting stations throughout the location and were free to mingle and roam the grounds throughout the evening.  

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To capture the moment we decided that hiring a photographer was necessary.  Our friends are pretty great with Instagram and we knew we get some fun candid shots of the evening, but we wanted some images that were more formal.  My dear friend Christian Florin was just starting to build his photography portfolio, so I decided to reach out and beg for his services.  He was extremely generous and gave us a huge friends discount to keep our budget on point.  Christian arrived early to the party to capture some beautiful images on the vineyard grounds before our guests arrived.  

Here are some of my favorites.

Check out Christian Florin Photography.  He is amazing!

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How to Prepare:

{ things I wish I knew }

Everyone wants to bring you a gift!  People love to give you stuff, so take advantage of the opportunity.  Make sure you register ahead of time and put your registry link on your invitation.  Or you will be getting a lot of champagne as a parting gift.  (We weren’t complaining, we had mimosa’s for months!)

Have a list of photos you want your photographer to take.  Once the party gets started you are social from beginning to end.  It’s hard to keep track of whats going on with a new person wanting to talk to you every second.  Give your photographer a list of photos you don’t want to miss out on.  We totally forgot to get family photos and taking photos with our guests.

Remind your guests 2 weeks out and again 1 week prior to the party.  People put things on calendars but sometimes life gets in the way.  We sent out a Paperless Post as our invitation online to invite our guests.  Unfortunately, we did not set up an alert system to remind our guests weeks prior.  We only had a reminder sent 1 week in advance.  Many people canceled the last minute.  Remind your guests through email or social media posts frequently to keep their calendars clear for the amazing event you are hosting. 

Enjoy the moment!  This is the perfect trial run to what your wedding day will be like.  Lots of important people all in 1 room and they all want to talk to YOU!  It’s a surreal experience and a bit awkward for me personally.  I’m not a person who likes to be the center of attention.  Adam and I were separated the entire party getting pulled every direction to talk to another table.  Make sure you and your finance regroup and connect throughout the night.  Try to introduce his family and yours to friends together.

Be aware of your time.  Allow 5-10 minutes per table greeting.  There’s always that one family friend that wants to talk your ear off for 30 minutes and tell you about the weather, their pets, kids life, etc.  You gotta keep moving!!  You are the hostess and remind your guests that you have other people to attend to.  Direct them to the food or bar area and tell them how happy you are they came to  celebrate, then move on!  You have guests to attend to!

Make sure you leave time for speeches.  Adam’s parents were kind to host our wonderful engagement party.  You need to take the time to thank your hostesses formally .  We had beautiful speeches at the end of our evening.  It was my favorite part of the night.  I recruited one of my friends to take video on their iPhone during the speech.  I’m so happy I have this to look back on.  My parents were not able to attend from Kansas and this was a perfect way to share the moment with them so far away.

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It was the perfect evening and Adam and I learned so much throughout the process.  It’s a great experience that helps prepare you for your big day.  At the end of the night around we invited our guests to join us at a local bar to continue the party.  This was our opportunity to be more relaxed and really spend more one and one time with out-of-town friends in a smaller setting.

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Good luck planning your party and don’t forget to live in the moment!

{ HER:  dress//DVF, jewlery//Nordstrom & Henri Bendel (here & here), shoes//Valentino,make-up//Elyse Reneau @ Nordstrom SCP }

{ HIM:  custom suit designed by Mark Pomerantz }

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