16 Small Engagement Party Ideas for an Intimate Soirée

Plan your small engagement party with these unique ideas.
Engaged couple holding hands and smiling
Photo: Mr.vicpix / Shutterstock
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Emily Shiffer
emily shiffer headshot
Emily Shiffer
The Knot Contributor
  • Emily is a freelance health, lifestyle and entertainment writer living in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Emily has worked with an array of print and digital publications, including: Women's Health, PEOPLE, Runner's World, POPSUGAR and more.
  • Emily graduated with a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University.
Updated Dec 19, 2023

Throwing a small engagement party for your inner circle is a special way to honor your upcoming nuptials. It's a time for your nearest and dearest to celebrate before the big day. If you're starting your search for small engagement party ideas, we've got you covered.

Keeping your small engagement party small can be tricky. While guest list size may vary, inviting anywhere from 10-20 guests (which may include parents, some extended family members and friends) to a small engagement party may be appropriate.

Choosing a location is a big detail for any small engagement party–so we rounded up a variety, including small backyard engagement party ideas and small engagement party ideas at home. Besides location, picking a theme and aesthetic are major details, so there are also a bevy of small, cute engagement party ideas to consider. Get ready to discover the best small, intimate engagement party ideas ahead.

1. Backyard Happy Hour Small Engagement Party

For the couple who love to imbibe, hosting a small backyard happy hour is a great way to gather friends and family while toasting with the couple's favorite drinks.

2. Carnival-Themed Small Engagement Party

Let your guests turn back into kids with a carnival-themed engagement party. Serve carnival food favorites (like corn dogs and cotton candy), rent a bouncy house, and set up games (like a ring toss) around your home.

3. Tea Time Small Engagement Party

Have your guests dress in their afternoon finest (fascinators included!) for a lovely tea service. With hot beverages, champagne, and finger sandwiches and petit fours, it will be a tea time to remember.

4. Kentucky Derby Small Engagement Party

Getting married in May? Celebrate the biggest horse race in America with a derby-themed engagement party Bring out the big hats and serve mint juleps with Southern fare.

5. Backyard Seafood Boil

Whether you live in a coastal region (or just have an affinity for clams, crawfish or crab), a backyard seafood boil is a fun way to fill your guests in a communal setting.

6. Parisian Small Engagement Party

Can't make it to France? Bring the City of Love to your home by serving the best of French food (cheeses, baguettes, fruit and of course, croissants) with a romantic setting and Edith Piaf playing on repeat.

7. Alma Mater Small Engagement Party

Proud of your alma mater? Honor your favorite school by hosting a school spirit-filled engagement party, complete with decor in school colors, nods to traditions and maybe a sports game going on a TV.

8. Bring Your Dog Backyard Small Engagement Party

If your friends and family are equally obsessed with their furry friends, theme your engagement party about the dogs. Fill your backyard with treats, toys and water bowls for a fun get-together that your pets will also remember.

9. Luau Small Engagement Party

Beachy vibes will be on full display with this island-themed engagement party. Set up beach chairs, decorative surfboards, beach balls and fresh leis (along with island-friendly munchies) to bring the beach to you.

10. Pig Roast Small Engagement Party

Culinary couples know that there are few things more sacred in the world of roasting meats. Treat your guests to a well-planned (and flavorful) meal centered around food.

11. Decades-Themed Engagement Party

Fancy the '80s? Or get nostalgic for the rockabilly '50s? Host a decades-themed engagement party and get your guests to dress up from your favorite decade, playing tunes and serving foods to pay homage.

12. Christmas in July Small Engagement Party

The holidays can happen any time of year. Christmas fanatics can deck the halls with their decorations for this holiday-themed party. For extra fun, print out holiday-themed engagement party games for all to enjoy at the merry event.

13. Ice Cream Social Small Engagement Party

Ice cream is a universal crowd-pleaser and a truly decadent way to celebrate an engagement. Create an over-the-top sundae bar with toppings galore and endless ice creams flavors in honor of your sweet news.

14. Vinyl-Themed Small Engagement Party

Records are having a comeback, and if you and your partner are obsessed with collecting them (or music in general), make them the center of your engagement party. Put them on display, play them throughout the party, and get music-themed decor for your soiree.

15. Gatsby Small Engagement Party

The Roaring '20s were a time of decadence, and your engagement party can have the same vibe. Dress in suit coats and flapper dresses and party the night away. After all, as Fergie iconically sings in Baz Luhrmann's 2013 rendition of The Great Gatsby, "A little party never killed nobody."

16. Outer Space Small Engagement Party

The galaxies can come to Earth for an evening with an outer space-themed engagement party. Planets, stars and extraterrestrials are the perfect influence for lovers of the expands.

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