Category Archives: Wedding Guestbook

The Engagement Party: Do’s, Don’ts, Guest List, Etcetera.

It’s been awhile since my last wedding blog post but I wanted to do something before our Engagement Party next weekend!

I thought throwing it in May when our wedding isn’t until next July was a bit too early but according to various webpages that came up in my engagement party Google search, throwing an engagement party a year in advance is the norm for a long engagement! :) Prior to my Google research, I also didn’t know what the do’s and don’ts of engagement parties were. Throw in the Vietnamese tradition aspect of it all and you’ve got a pretty clueless bride and groom. Lucky for us my mom is planning our engagement party and she’s basically got it all planned out for the most part.

First we’ve got the more traditional ceremony to do in the morning.

What I vaguely know of this is that it will include a presentation of “gifts,” speeches and introductions of family members and what we’re all here that day to celebrate, a re-enactment of putting the engagement ring on my finger (sounds kind of awkward, probably will be), and then general social niceties that may or may not include tea. (I think the actual tea drinking may be reserved for the wedding day ceremony). Then we will all go for an early dinner (or late lunch?) at a pre-determined restaurant (in this case it will be a Chinese restaurant where we’ve booked five tables, each table will be served a 10 course Asian-style meal).

Traditional Vietnamese Engagement Party Gifts! (Image shown is from my brother's engagement party in 2009).

That’s basically the plan. I am going to be wearing a traditional Vietnamese dress that was put together by a seamstress (my mom bought the material when she went on a trip to San Jose awhile back). Everyone else will just be wearing nice, formal clothes. My mother has commissioned one of our good friends John to film. I have also asked one of my bridesmaids to film to have some secondary shots (I’ll be putting together the clips for an engagement party video that my mom really wants to send over to our Vietnam relatives). My mother has also asked our good friend Jesse to emcee the event (which might be awkward because we don’t really know what he needs to emcee, lol).

The guest list is basically my immediate family (plus an aunt and uncle who are flying in for the occasion) and Mike’s immediate family, plus the bridal party (their respective girlfriend + boyfriends), and a couple of other close friends. It’s a very limited guest list, which is what actually prompted me to do the Google research on engagement parties in the first place.

We feel really bad excluding some of our friends (and extended family), but if it wasn’t a small gathering then we might as well be paying for a wedding dinner you know? Obviously not everyone is going to get invited to the engagement party and my thoughts of this were confirmed by a few wedding advice websites which said typically engagement parties are just for immediate family and the bridal party.

Here are a few other tips I’ve gathered from various websites on the topic of engagement parties:

  • Everyone who is invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding.
    Which is why if you’re unsure about your overall wedding guest list (and obviously things can change if your wedding is not for another year and some!) then it’s best to keep it small/just family.
  • Remember there’s still a wedding to throw, you don’t want to upstage the wedding – try for a different mood or style.
    Which is why we’re doing the reception of the engagement party at a Chinese restaurant. It’s the style my dad wants for our wedding but we’re compromising by doing it for the engagement party because we’d like our wedding to be at a hotel.
  • Come up with a budget and stick to it.
    Thankfully my mom is paying for the engagement party but it’s still quite a hefty price for five tables of 10-course meals, which is also a big reason why you should try and keep the engagement party guest list down to a minimum.
  • Think about specifying whether gifts are welcome or encouraged.
    I personally don’t really want or expect gifts at our engagement party, it feels like too much! The few people who have told us they are getting us gifts we’ve told it’s not necessary, but they still insist so that’s the most pushing we’ll do on that topic. Whatever people want to do! According to Google, you shouldn’t ask people for engagement party gifts but people will typically give you one.
But basically this post was just my way of saying sorry if anyone’s feelings are hurt if they weren’t invited to the engagement party – that’s what the actual wedding is for! :) So have you been to an engagement party before? Any do’s, dont’s, other tips or things to tell me? Reassure me it’s okay that we didn’t invite everyone because obviously that’s what the wedding is for? Lol.

– Linda

Renting a Wedding Photobooth!

We don’t know where we want the venue of our wedding. We don’t know what themes or colours we want. We’re not sure what kind of food at the reception we should have. But what we do know (and have known, for a long time even prior to the engagement) is that we want a wedding photobooth!

This is mostly because of me. I love photos and photobooths. I think they’re becoming more common at weddings (and other events) these days, but a few years ago they were (to me) a pretty cool and different thing to have at a wedding. Mike agrees!

My wedding photobooth search in the past year (Mike and I have known we’ve wanted to get married for a long time, it was just never official until now but that didn’t stop me from looking wedding-related stuff up, lol) has led to about five Edmonton photobooth companies.

At this point we’ve narrowed it down to two local companies that could provide us with a photobooth on our special day:

Flashworks Photobooth


BMP Photobooth

We’ve actually had photobooth pictures taken from both of them – Flashworks while we attended the Bridal Show a couple months ago and BMP when we were at Capital Ex during the summer.

No decisions made on which to go with yet – and we won’t likely decide till a lot closer to the wedding date (which at this point is still an undetermined date in 2013), but it’s definitely something we’ll be budgeting for – and that I think would be a great addition to the reception.

Each guest/group of guests using the photobooth gets two copies. One copy they’ll be able to take home with them and the other copy we want guests to put in our wedding guestbook along with whatever message they end up writing! Something like this:

Photo Courtesy: Kelley Finnegan Blog/Sometimes Sweet Blog

There’s also this really cute Photobooth/Chalkboard idea
(thanks Angie for pointing it out to me!)

Photo Courtesy: welovelaughkiss blog + Love & Lavender

So we may include a chalkboard as one of the photobooth props available to our guests that day as well. :)

The way Flashworks/BMP’s rates look right now (before we try to haggle prices of course, lol) – is it’ll be about $700 for the lowest-end package. Both of those include unlimited number of photos for about 2-3 hours of booth rental time, digital copies, photobooth attendant, customized photo graphic/photo strip layout choice, choice of black and white or colour photos (colour of course!) and of course delivery, set up and tear-down.

I think these are all great features. The only thing I could see us wanting more of is how long the rental lasts and of course seeing if we can somehow get it for any cheaper, lol.

This is definitely something that I would prefer investing money into over say a fancy wedding cake. In fact I think we hardly care about the cake and at a lot of weddings I’ve been to, the cake has really just been an afterthought. Plus I’m not really big into sweets anyway. Mike had even suggested we can do wedding cupcakes instead of a cake – which I am also okay with!

Point is – I’d rather allocate more money towards the photobooth/photographer than on a really nice wedding cake. It’s far more important to me! :)

So have you been to a wedding where there was a photobooth? Was it a guaranteed hit? Have you had a wedding that featured a photobooth? Was it a great investment?

What do you think of having it weddings in general? Are there any other tweaks or ideas you’d suggest?

Feel free to leave a comment!! :)

– Linda