How to plan a not-so-traditional wine and cheese engagement party

Traditionally, an engagement party is hosted by the father-of-the-bride to officially announce the betrothal of his daughter. Times have changed, however, and so have engagement parties. Emily Post’s rules of etiquette are no longer a given. Instead, a couple may carefully choose and curate traditions to set the tone of a wedding, to tell the story of their courtship, and to invite their family and friends to meet and take part in the months of planning and celebration ahead.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

Planning your own engagement party may be the first opportunity you have to eschew some traditions while keeping the ones you love. And because it’s a more laid-back affair than the actual wedding, you are less likely to scandalize your in-laws by doing so. An easy way to do this is to turn a classic party tradition, like a wine and cheese tasting, on its head. Add craft beers and charcuterie to the mix and allow your guests to vote for their favorites. Promise that the winning pairing will be added to the wedding day menu.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

The elegant theme gets a fun new twist that will give your guests a chance to be directly involved in wedding planning. It will also make the mixing and mingling of your different friend and family groups seem effortless.

Here’s how to plan a not-so-traditional wine and cheese engagement party.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

Choose Wisely

Keeping in mind your wedding budget, so you can afford to make good on your promise to serve the winners, choose a wide assortment of wines and craft beers that you and your fiancé enjoy. Consider the flavor of each choice. Then match them with a cheese or meat that will enhance the unique flavor of the wine.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

For example, a Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with fresh goat cheese and pine nuts. While Pinot Noir and brie make a good match. Beers are better off served with charcuterie. The hoppy flavor of an IPA is well suited for spicy sausage. And a refreshing wheat beer and a mild prosciutto pair well

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

Set the Scene

You’ve spent the time hand-picking your flavor combinations. It’s important to place each bottle of wine or beer next to its partner. Label each option clearly to keep the voting accurate. A slate serving board that can be written on with chalk or place cards that display the names of the cheeses and charcuterie are a must. If your choices were sourced locally, or have a personal story behind them, make a note of that in their description!

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

And don’t forget to serve some rustic breads, mustards, olives, and dipping oils as well to cleanse palates and fill stomachs.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

Let the voting begin!

Direct your guests to the ballot cards and pens when they arrive, so they are equipped to cast their votes. The directions are simple and easily customizable: vote for your favorite wine and beer from the choices served. Tally the votes at the end of the engagement party.

Turn a classic engagement party tradition on its head in three easy steps! | #livelifefair

And feature the winners on the wedding day menu. You can choose to serve the top three or just the one that receives the highest number of votes. I’ts up to you. After all, it’s your engagement party!

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Valentina

A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Valentina lives in Lancaster, PA where she runs slowly, hikes often, and excitedly points out historical landmarks to friends and family. She is fond of curry and guacamole, and insists that vanilla ice cream is a waste of time and calories. Val is convinced that the greatest feeling in the world is stepping off a plane in a new place, and is a passionate believer that all the best days include books, baking, border collies, and bagpipes.

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