So, you and your boo are engaged! You may be wondering if you need to have an engagement party, and if so, who throws it. At a time when the looming planning already seems out of control, you might be tempted to skip this pre-event. But if you do, you will be missing out on a whole lot of fun. Here are 17 engagement party ideas that sound even better than a wedding, from a camping party to a champagne mixers bar to a food and wine pairing.

And here are four more compelling reasons to have an engagement party:

1. Announces to the World That You Are a Couple

You are going to need to announce your engagement at some point. Sure, you could just change your status on Facebook and be done with it. But the Engagement Announcement let’s people know where the two of you can be located, should events happen in the coming months and invitations go out to the two of you to attend. Sort of like a change of address. Would you rather send out paper announcements or make a bunch of phone calls? Or would you rather have a shindig? Yeah, we thought so!

2. Gives You a Chance to Show Off the Ring

The engagement party is the traditional way of announcing your nuptials. It’s the heads up to all that a wedding is coming, keep the calendar clear. It’s also a great time for everyone to meet your fiancé, assuming they haven’t already, and to show off the ring. Come on; we know you want to.

3. Gives Your Parents a Chance to Party

Traditionally the bride’s family hosts the engagement party. It’s totally cool if you want to host it yourselves and foot the bill, but understand the implications. If you or your parents host, as is traditional, anyone invited to this event will expect to be invited to the wedding.

4. It Doesn’t Have to Be Formal

These days it is totally cool if someone other than the engaged couple or the bride’s parents host the engagement party. Maybe your friends want to throw you a cocktail party. Or, in blended families it can be a way to give the parents who are not hosting the wedding a chance to get involved. When someone other than the engaged couple or bride’s parents host this party, the rules are a bit more free and easy. The host can invite anyone they or you want there, and no one assumes it means they will be invited to the wedding.

What do you think? Are engagement parties passé? Tweet us at @BritandCo.

(Photo via Frog and Prince Paperie)