HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY

Hi.

Today I’m going to tell you a love story. It’s the story of Carson and Anna, high school sweethearts that grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

After college their budding careers (his with Starwood Hotels, her’s with Lululemon) took them to Denver, Colorado. A while back I took you on a tour of their charming Denver Loft, remember? Click here to see it again.

A TOUR OF A DENVER LOFT | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comA TOUR OF A DENVER LOFT | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Well today, just before Valentine’s Day, I’m inviting you to their stunningly beautiful and heartwarming engagement party. In doing so I’m going to show you how to host a magnificent engagement party, just in case you know someone getting engaged, perhaps even tomorrow? Not only will you see photos of the event, but at the conclusion of the post I’m sharing all the resources with links to where you can purchase all the charming party paraphernalia.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, come on in to the beautiful Arcadia, Arizona home of my friend Jen. Not only does Jen throw great parties, she is also a celebrated interior designer with her business partner (my oldest and dearest friend) and mother of the bride, Lisa. Together these two extraordinarily talented women design beautiful homes. Their Scottsdale, Arizona design firm is called Shutters Home. So in this post not only will you get to see a beautiful party, you’ll get to see a beautiful home as well.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I helped Lisa and Jen get ready for the big event so I was able to shoot these photographs before the guests arrived.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Just inside the front door the credenza was covered with photos and mementos of Carson and Anna’s 10 year courtship.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Photos clipped to ribbon were hung from a frame…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

while other photos were cleverly displayed in glass apothecary jars and under glass cloches.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On the opposite side of the foyer was this lovely vignette consisting of a guest book, photo taking props and a handsome chalkboard marking their upcoming wedding date.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In the living room gifts for the bridal party were on display, all designed to match the black and white decor of Jen’s beautiful home.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The mantle was decorated with the couples initials and a personalized heart bunting.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Stuffed white rabbits held helium balloons for the 2 flower girls, while hat boxes housed gifts for the bridesmaids.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A chair held gifts for the 2 junior bridesmaids, Jen’s twin daughters.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Opposite the living room lies the formal dining room where I helped ready the table for the catered dinner that would arrive later.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A sideboard in the dining room provided a convenient place for arriving guests to place their gifts.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Soon the family room would be the setting for a video presentation, but more on that later.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Roses adorned a family room table…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

while white hydrangeas decorated the kitchen.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Just past the kitchen there is a circular shaped breakfast room where a round table, ingeniously draped in a painter’s cloth, served as the dessert table. Lisa, mother of the bride, readied the table and adorned it with more framed photos of the couple.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There were cookies, cupcakes and a cake, all beautifully crowned with glittery decorations.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As the sun began to set the guests started to arrive. That’s when my talented son Austin took over as photographer. The credit goes to him for the majority of these photos. I snapped this photo of him with our hostess, Jen.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Carson and Anna had asked the wedding party to arrive a bit early so that they could formally ask them to be in the wedding. We were honored and delighted that they asked my granddaughter Elle, …

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

along with the bride’s cousin, Izabelle, to be flower girls. The two girls were delighted with their balloons…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and stuffed rabbits, which kept them entertained for the rest of the evening.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Then the Junior Bridesmaids got to see what was inside their goodie bags.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Anna handed out the hat boxes to her bridesmaids…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

with an especially large one going to the Maid of Honor, her cousin, Kelsey.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

They were filled with a gold framed photo, a bottle of Prosecco with a personalized label, a beautiful wine stopper and a personal note to each girl.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Finally it was time for Carson to address his groomsmen.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

They were each presented with a wooden cigar box that contained a personalized bottle of whiskey, a celebratory cigar and touching note.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Three generations of my family attended the party in honor of Anna, who is like a daughter to me. Here you see my father along with my son Nathan and his son Wills who flew in from Washington, DC to be here.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As the other guests began to arrive the party overflowed into the backyard where a DJ played…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and an outdoor fireplace was adorned with another fitting chalkboard message.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There were jars of s’mores fixins…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and a self serve bar with beer, wine and champagne. Wine stoppers spelled out LOVE and the couples initials, C & A.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Eventually Carson and Anna invited guests into the family room where a video was played.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Carson had proposed to Anna in Vancouver, Canada.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Anna was in Vancouver to run a marathon for Lululemon when Carson flew in unexpectedly to join her. He filmed himself on his Iphone making the journey from Denver to Scottsdale where he first asked Tony, Anna’s father, for her hand in marriage. He then flew on to San Francisco where he purchased Anna’s engagement ring at the same store where Tony had purchased Lisa’s ring 30 years earlier, all the while making a video of his adventures.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Later that day he had both a videographer and a photographer on hand to capture the proposal…

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

which he then edited into the touching video he shared at the party.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as everyone was captivated by the video, including Anna’s parents, Lisa and Tony.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was such a wonderful party, one I will never forget.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So great to share in the joys of this special couple who are so much in love. They have shared a long past already, but I am sure for them, the best is yet to come.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Happy Valentine’s Day Carson & Anna.

XOX

Photography:  By Austin Becker – He is available for hire in the Southern California area. Contact him at austin.beckers5@gmail.com.  Check him out on Instagram here.

Interior Design Services from Lisa & Jen of Shutters Home: ShuttersHome@me.com

Here is your shopping guide to all the things you need to host a wonderful engagement party.

Contents of Hat Boxes:

HAT BOXES – Hobby Lobby

GOLD FRAMES – Paper Source

NOTE CARD – Paper Source

CAPE JASMINE WINE BOTTLE STOPPER –  From BHLDN here.

HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

JUNIOR BRIDESMAID BAG – $10.00 from Etsy here.

WILL YOU BE MY FLOWER GIRL BALLOONS – From BHLDN here.

CIGAR BOXES – Michaels

WHITE HEART BUNTING ON FIREPLACE – From Etsy here.

CHAMPAGNE URNS – Home Goods

SILVER GLITTER CUPCAKE HEART PICKS & HEART CAKE BUNTING – From Etsy here.

GLITTER FLAG PICKS WITH INITIALS – Anthropology

PERSONALIZED SUGAR COOKIES –  Barb’s Bakery

ALPHABET WINE STOPPERS – Pottery Barn

CATERER – Carolina’s Mexican Food

CHALKBOARDS – Made by painting old frames and inserting a chalkboard cut to fit. Lettering by Lisa

So there you have it: HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY

Thanks for dropping in!  Do please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.

Comments

  • Lisa Sanford

    Touched beyond touched by this post!!

  • Xenia

    This post is so beautiful and I can feel the love. The engagement party turned out very classy. Everything is so tasteful. I love the home decor.

  • So sweet of you to say that Xenia. It was a beautiful party in a beautiful home.

  • Thank you for allowing me to document the wonderful evening. You are a party planner extraordinaire!

  • What a fabulous party and darling couple, but I am sure you know what I enjoyed most?!! Seeing Jen’s house. No wonder we stalk each other on Pinterest! We have similar chairs and I adore her house!!

  • Hi Cindy, so glad you saw this post. I knew you would enjoy seeing the house. And yes, I imagine you are referring to the monogrammed chairs that I admired in your house. Great minds think alike!

  • ErTron

    Hello Celia,

    This post is awesome! I love the Groomsman gift idea. Would you be able to help me build something like this? Can you tell me exact websites or stores you got each item to build the groomsmen gift? I want that same color, drink and note. Please that would be so helpful.

    Thank you,
    Erhan

  • Hi Erhan, well the cigar boxes and brown paper stuffing came from Michaels. You can buy whatever liquor and cigar you like. The groom produced the notes on his computer. If you’re not handy on the computer show the photo to a graphic designer and have the art produced for you. The notes were customized to each groomsman, giving a personal and specific message to each one. Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.