How to Plan an Engagement Party on a Budget

Follow these tips and tricks to save money on food, decorations and more.

By: Justin McIntosh
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Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Photo By: Justin McIntosh

Budget Party Planning

Planning an engagement party while also saving for a wedding can be stressful. Justin McIntosh and Nathan Smith, a recently engaged couple from Nashville, Tennessee, pulled off an amazing party without breaking the bank. Here are some budget tips they learned along the way.

Save on the Venue

If you have to rent a venue, save money by picking a spot not in the heart of a city. Popular, in-demand venues tend to have higher rates. Nathan surprised Justin with an engagement party in downtown Franklin, Tennessee – about 20 minutes south of Nashville – at Lillie Belle’s, a Queen Anne style Victorian home across the street from where they originally met.

Dollar Store Hacks

Decorations don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. Clear glass vases and candles can be purchased very affordably at your local craft or dollar store. You can also save money on buying flowers from a local wholesale florist and putting the arrangements together yourself.

DIY Decorations

Use free templates online to download and print a banner instead of buying. Stores like Paper Source have great paper selections and DIY banner kits that allow you to customize a banner like the “Congrats" one shown here hanging in the entryway for the party.

Single-Serve Desserts

Save money on dessert options like cupcakes instead of a large, custom cake. Nathan picked up a selection of cupcakes from their local neighborhood bakery, Sprinkles Cupcakes, to give guests more flavor options.

Happy Hour Savings

Stick to one cocktail or keep it classic with Champagne to stay on budget. You can often buy Champagne wholesale or in bulk to save. If that’s not an option, visit your local Costco or Sam’s Club. Most people don’t know you don't have to be a member to purchase alcohol (at deep discounts) at these locations.

Budget Menu

Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be tasty. Guests at the party dined on simple meatball sliders and easy snacks, like veggie trays. This helped keep the budget reasonable instead of spending a huge amount on a full-blown, sit-down dinner.

Edible Favors

Don’t waste money on party favors that people will throw away! Nathan found these cute chocolate covered groom cookies online, but they could easily be DIYed by dipping sandwich cookies in melted chocolate.

Easy Entertainment

Entertainment can be simple but unforgettable. Everyone was ear-to-ear smiles while watching a congratulations video montage Nathan compiled from family, friends and a few special celebrity guests – Reba McEntire, Melissa Peterman and Blake Shelton. Ask friends to send video messages from their phones, and then compile them using a free video software, like iMovie.

Becoming Husbands

Justin and Nathan both planned a surprise proposal for each other. Click here to learn about the proposal that led up to this party and how to plan your own surprise proposal. Follow their wedding-planning journey for more budget ideas and inspiration at

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