Backyard DIY Engagment Party

Being engaged is awesome! Everyone is happy for us and handing out champagne all the time. We wanted to give some of that good-will and excitement back to our friends and family, and also bring everyone together to meet and mingle. After all, we may all be traveling together next summer! So we threw little engagement party, taking advantage of lingering September sunlight and setting up in our backyard.

We strung Christmas lights from the trees, dressed up borrowed folding tables with $3 Dollar Store table cloths that were bright warm colours. I tied some twine around mason jars and filled them with Costco flowers and tea-lights.

table set up

We assembled our patio furniture and used an old wooden crate to create a ‘lounge’ area.

lounge area

Along the fence, I created a ‘dating time-line”; pictures of us over our 7 years together, strung up with clothes pins and string.

dating time-line


We served up a simple “Southern Comfort” Style menu:

Hot Boiled Peanuts
(Provided by Union Local 613, thanks guys!)
Marinated BBQ Sirloin Steak
Baked Beans
Caesar Salad

We didn’t get many shots of the food, but it was certainly enjoyed!

family dinner

The drink table featured a cooler full of beer, Home-Made Iced Tea, and ice water. We paired Pelee Island Winery wines  with our down-south food, selecting the 2011 Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the 2012 Riesling, and the 2011 Chardonnay. These were great wines, it’s hard to go wrong with an Ontario VQA, but we mostly picked them for the Lighthouse on the label .. a nod to Liam’s Cape Cod proposal.

sommelierdrink table

For dessert we served fruit and cheese alongside a beautiful cake provided by my Aunt and Uncle. It was inspired by our destination wedding location: Lisbon, Portugal!
cakeus cuting


For entertainment at the party, we set up a photo booth by the garden shed. For a backdrop I used an old crochet tablecloth and more Christmas lights. We had our iPad mounted and on a tripod, and downloaded Wedding Booth app. An old ladder held Dollar Store masks. I think our guests had fun with it and the pictures turned out great. I printed out extra copies and included a strip in each thank-you card.

drink tablee-part 2014 001

photo booth

Speeches don’t really count as a ‘game’ but they were certainly entertaining. Both our fathers spoke, I cried, and Liam and I thanked everyone for coming.

SpeachesLiam and I got to play The Shoe Game, organised by our Best Man and Maid of Honour. If you’re not familiar with this wedding classic, I’ll give you a quick run down: The couple sits back-to-back holding one of their own shoes and one shoe of the other. They are asked questions like “Who said I love you first?” or “Who’s the better driver”, and to answer they raise the appropriate shoe. Its hilarious for the guests; where do they disagree, how fast did he answer,  aw they both think the other one is cuter, etc. Afterwards it was fun for us to recap with each other with what we answered.

liam shoe game shoe


Our guests got to take home a little something to thank them for being there; a birdseed heart. There are tons of tutorials on-line for  these so I wont take you through the steps. I found Intimate Weddings and Polka Dot Bride most helpful, and my main advice would be to work in small batches. The sign on the table read “From these lovebirds to yours”.

favor table birdseed


The end of the night got really cold, so we moved inside for dessert, but all in all it was a it was a fantastic evening. People were fed and watered, we passed around pictures of Lisbon and where we were staying, and got different facets of our loved-ones enjoying each-others company. It was a fun little party to get our feet wet in the planning process, and felt like the launch for what is sure to be an exciting year.



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