Dreaming of a Christmas engagement party that’s budget-friendly, offers no-fuss set up and clean up, and promises a fun and intimate ambiance? Can’t be done, you say? And definitely not at Christmastime? Well, here’s our holiday surprise. We present an engagement party concept that’s potluck, fondue, and wine-and-cheese all wrapped up in one festive celebration—so you can enjoy the occasion instead of agonizing over the planning. See our practical entertainment tips below *(this post contains affiliate links)!
Set up Fun, Interactive Food Stations at the Party
Set the casual tone immediately by announcing the “potluck” angle of your engagement party in your guest invitations. You may also want to read more on how to save on your invitations. [Hint: If you feel a bit awkward about this, you can tuck in a note about this to just your closest friends and family members.] Then, prepare locations in your home that can serve as food stations.
#1 Casual Christmas Engagement Party: Wine and Cheese
Free up a counter or island in your kitchen, perhaps, for the wine-and-cheese station. Then, set up a cozy couch and coffee table in your living room for the fondue station. Without the constraints of a formal, sit-down meal, guests will be free to mingle with one another and savor the varied party fare!
Wine and Cheese – Lay out a simple wine and cheese spread—consisting of goat cheese and smoked cheddar with a fresh loaf of crusty French bread. Pair these with your favorite wines such as a chardonnay, chianti, and pinot blanc. And offer fresh fruits, like pears, figs, and grapes, for a touch of sweetness. Serve these up on elegant sterling silver trays or wooden cheese boards. As party guests stroll into your kitchen, greet them with a truly inviting wine-and-cheese spread that’s sure to get the party conversations going!
As an added treat for guests, craft a clever edible topiary made of shapely cut croutons from which they can take a piece to sample the different dips on hand. Ours are a savory goose liver paté served in a terra cotta bowl, plus a selection of three-cheese, spicy tomato, and curry dips to suit every taste.
Remember: By creating an interactive element, this adds to the fun as it allows guests to move casually from one area to another. Having the foods laid out in this serve-yourself fashion also leaves you free to interact with guests rather than being stuck in the kitchen!
#2 Casual Christmas Engagement Party: Fondue
Fondue – In another spot in your home, have a mini fondue table set up. Offer up different fresh fruits for dipping, such as whole strawberries; peach, pear, or apple slices; and melon balls. For variety, you may also have mini cookies, marshmallows, and bread squares on hand,as well as veggies like sliced carrots, celery, and endives. Cooked meats such as shrimp, tender beef chunks, and chicken may also be served. Read Celebrate Your Engagement With a Cozy Fondue Party for more planning tips.
At the fondue “food station,” offer a choice of sweet and savory dips to enjoy with fresh fruits, sweet tidbits, and even veggies.
Your dipping sauces can range from decadent, sweet ones such as white chocolate, caramel, and dark chocolate—to savory ones such as cheese and chili. Just be sure to have enough fondue forks to go around!
#2 Casual Christmas Engagement Party: Potluck
Potluck – Depending on your invite requests, some guests can volunteer to bring in a main dish, while others can bring side dishes and desserts. Display the food on a serving table elegantly covered with an embroidered table linen and finished with a pretty hurricane candle wreath arrangement as the centerpiece. [Hint: To keep things organized, you may specify a food theme—like all-American comfort food, Italian, Asian, etc.—to help guide your guests.]
Or you could opt to order the main dishes from a special restaurant or caterer (remember, no preparation or clean-up for you!). Then, simply request guests to contribute to the wine-and-cheese or fondue spreads.
Offer Guests Beverages to Warm the Heart and Soul
A festive drinks bar filled with an array of beverages from wine to tea is sure to be welcomed by everyone at this engagement party. Consider offering a variety of red and white wines such as Moscato d’Asti (dessert wine), a Rioja or Tempranillo (Spanish wines), and of course, Champagne! Depending on what you plan to serve guests, choose the wines wisely and you will find that a good bottle of wine doesn’t have to cost you any more than $15 to $20. Have fun with your drinks by using wine and cheese flags (as seen above)!
Have inviting warm beverages on hand, too, in keeping with the holiday season. Piping hot chocolate would be great for the little ones–especially with a side tray of toppings such as peppermint bark shavings, marshmallows, and cinnamon. Then, set out freshly brewed coffee for the adults—a bold French or Italian roast perhaps, served with their choice of sugar, cream, and coffee syrups in delicious flavors such as vanilla and hazelnut. You may even infuse the coffee with Kahlua® coffee liqueur, Bailey’s® Irish cream, or Amaretto Di Saronno® liqueur. And for those wanting tea, be sure to include some relaxing teas from Twinings’® like Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, and Darjeeling. Lastly, don’t forget the eggnog!
Simple Yet Stylish Decorations for a Christmas Engagement Party
Extend the holiday mood in the same casual yet elegant way with party decorations in earth tones or neutrals. For the table runners at the food stations, for instance, Christmas red may be the first choice many people make. But try an alternative color such as olive, brown, or white. You can even opt for a patterned woolen throw for the fondue set-up, or an off-white or ivory runner in rich damask or brocade for the food-and-wine display. By choosing less bold colors, your party photos won’t capture a scene overpowered by red!
Also, since the occasion isn’t a sit-down event, there’s no need for elaborate table centerpieces. A few potted poinsettia plants, topiaries, or mini Christmas trees positioned around the party areas would do just fine. Add some candlelight to the scene by placing blue-and-silver jeweled votives amidst the poinsettias—playing up the striking contrast of blue and silver against the deep red of the flowers. An added plus? These all stay on as your holiday decor for the rest of the season!
Favors with That “Ho-ho-ho!” Holiday Vibe
Jazz up the earth tones and neutrals on the scene with richly-colored fabric wraps. They turn even a simple woven box of holiday potpourri or a Christmas CD into fabulous engagement party favors!
As the party draws to a close, send your guests off with favors that speak of the holiday season:
– One-of-a-kind tree ornaments made from recycled lightbulbs covered in beads
– Iced sugar cookies with a whimsical wedding slant: decorated as a bride and groom
– Mini snowglobes presented in organza favor bags
– Save-the-date calendars—a practical gift actually for the coming year, but with your upcoming wedding date prominently marked
– Music CDs of your favorite Christmas songs in artful DIY organza sleeves
– Heart-shaped woven boxes filled with fragrant holiday potpourri
– And for the kiddie family members at the party, festive Christmas stockings filled with candies and small toys
So, who says a fun, intimate, at-home engagement party can’t be done? Our ideas above show that it can—at minimal cost, with limited fuss and mess, and during the Christmas season to boot!
Our Updates Just in Time for a Christmas Engagement Party in 2018
We want to make your engagement party planning even easier. So, we’ve added new sections on Christmas-inspired invites, food and drinks ideas, goodie bags and fillers, fun activities and games, and creative guest book alternatives!
Christmas Engagement Party Invitations
You’ll love these engagement party invites we found that are designed with a holiday theme—thanks to Zazzle. Take your pick!
- Christmas Engagement Party Invitation
- Tis’ the Season Engagement Party Invitation
- Christmas Engagement Party Holly and Ivy Invite
- Christmas Engagement Party Red Gold Invitation
- Faux Gold Foil Elegant Engagement Party Invitation
- Elegant Snowflake Engagement Party Invitation
Menu Ideas for a Christmas Engagement Party
With the incredible array of holiday food and drinks selections, planning your party menu can be overwhelming! To help you narrow down the options, do visit our posts listed below.
Our posts on holiday main dishes, appetizers, sides, desserts, and drinks:
- Rustic Christmas: Menu Planning Ideas for Food and Drinks
- Wine and Cheese Holiday Party Ideas
- Holiday Cocktail Recipes Go Chic and Modern
- Holiday Sweets and Treats: Ideas for a Sweet Christmas
- Homemade Christmas Cakes: Sweet, Simple and Stylish
- Holiday Treats and Cakes: Our Weekly Roundup #16
- Everything Eggnog! Creative Recipes: Cookies, Cake, Ice Cream & More!
Christmas Goodie Bags for Your Guests
Again, thanks to the season, you’ve got gift and goodie options galore! So filling special favor bags for your guests should be a breeze—especially with choices like the ones we chose below for you:
- Glogex Kraft Paper Gift Bags (Set of 16, 8 Unique Designs, 2 of each) – via Amazon
- Peppermitn Bark Square in a Tin – via Ghiraldelli
- Pop Art Gourmet Popcorn in a Can (12 Packs) – via Amazon
- The ‘Ornament Cocoa’ Hot Chocolate Lover’s Gift Set (Set of 6) – via Amazon
- Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Apple Cider, 8.4 oz (Pack of 12 bottles) – via Amazon
- Christmas Joy Soy Wax Candle – via Amazon
Holiday-themed Activities and Games
Aside from celebrating your engagement, this party is a chance for your soon-to-be wedding guests to meet and mingle. So prepare a couple of group games or activities with a Christmas spin that will get everyone involved.
All finds below are available on Amazon:
- Christmas Carols & Songs Game
- Christmas Bingo (Set of 20 Cards)
- “Find the Guest” Game – Gold Confetti (50 sheets)
- Christmas ornament markers
- Christmas Party Photo Booth Props Kit (20 Count)
Alternative Guest Book Ideas with a Christmas Spin
Lastly, you do want to capture memories of this occasion through messages from your guests. So, consider these creative guest book alternatives in keeping with the holidays!
Finds #1 – #4 are available on Amazon:
- Winter Canvas Guest Book
- Jenga Game Guest Book
- Wedding Puzzle Guestbook
- Rustic Pendant Ornament Tree
- DIY Winter Icicle Guestbook – styled by Bellenza
Get Inspired with Our Favorite Pins
Planning a holiday wedding celebration on a budget? Based on a crisp winter green and silver palette, we’ve pinned some of the most stylish and sensible ideas onto our Pinterest board: