Engagement Party Planning Tips

Interview with Jasmine Sparreboom, the Functions Manager at The Normanby Hotel. With over 5 years of experience coordinating events at The Normanby and other pubs, she knows plenty about organising engagement parties. They’re actually some of the most popular events held at The Normanby.

Here are some tips to make your event one to remember.

If you’d like more information about having your engagement party at The Normanby Hotel, email us or call (07) 3831 3353 and our events team will help you out. Or send us an enquiry using our event form below (scroll down).

For more information on Functions at The Normanby, download our Functions Package and Menu.

What’s your experience at organising engagement parties?

With more than 5 years of function management experience I’ve organised plenty of engagement parties over the time. Of all age groups. And the occasional second engagement party too…

What’s your #1 tip for making an engagement party special?

Having photos of the happy couple around the room is a special touch. You can make a slideshow or even print pictures and make a cork board of photos and hang them.

Hanging fairy lights around the room makes it look celebratory too.

Which space at The Normanby is the best for an engagement party?

For an engagement party, the Public Bar and The Lounge Bar are our most popular. They are our biggest spaces, providing plenty of space for a cocktail style party.

The Public Bar can accommodate up to 120 guests.

The Lounge Bar can fit 100 guests comfortably.

If you want a smaller space, I recommend the Valentine Room (50 guests) or the Cabana deck if you want it outside (60 guests).

And we also have the Garden Bar for a smaller outdoor space (40 guests).

For information on all our rooms and pricing, download our functions package.

What are some ideas to make an engagement party memorable or a bit different from the ordinary?

  • Disposal cameras or polaroids for people to take memorable photos
  • Photo booths – we recommend Steve from Photo Illustrated
  • Powerpoint slide show of past photos playing in the background. We have plenty of TV’s to use for displaying your photos
  • Decorations – balloons, fairy lights, candles (yes we allow candles), balloon garlands. We don’t really like glitter for the obvious clean up reason….

What can the Normanby Hotel help organise?

Food and beverage of course. But can also organise the photo booth. Just ask us and we’ll try help out where we can.

What drinks package should I do?

Our premium drinks package is the best for engagement parties. The selection is wider and the wines are of a higher quality, especially the champagne/sparking wine.

For more information on drinks, download our food & drink functions menu.

What food is the best for an engagement party?

Start with a cheese platter and antipasto.

Then nibbles like sliders (our #1 choice!), pizzas, mini meat pies and sausage rolls, mini quiches, chicken skewers work really well. Small bite sized pieces that are easy to handle with a drink in your hand. We do have vegetarian options too – samosas, vegetarian spring rolls.

For more information on food, download our food & drink functions menu.

When should I schedule the food to arrive?

You can choose when you want the food to arrive and how much. From experience, people tend to order it in two stages. Bring in the cheese platters and antipasto half an hour from the start, and the more substantial items, like sliders and pizza, an hour from the start.

What items on your menu do you think work best for an engagement party?

I recommend the Bread & Dips, Antipasto or cheese platters.

For heartier food, I recommend sliders, pizzas, chicken skewers and the Asian and vegetarian platters.

An inside tip, everyone loves a mini burger so definitely have a bunch of sliders. We have these options – cheeseburger, pulled pork, chicken and slaw and vegetarian.

Do you have gf and vegetarian options?

We have gf pizza bases and gf slider buns. And we have vegetarian Arancini Balls and a complete Vegetarian platter.

How much food should I order per person?

Each platter feeds 6-8 people which is roughly 2-3 pieces each.

How does the music work for my party?

You can create your own spotify playlist. We have the sound system to easily hook that up. Make it at least 4 hours long. We can also shuffle a party playlist for you if you don’t want to create your own. From my experience, make your playlist a mix of old and new.

Any song recommendations for an engagement party?

Plenty of love songs of course. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. Perfect by Ed Sheeran. And for an oldie, Elvis Presley, Can’t Help Falling in Love.

What about dancing. Can I have a dance floor?

We don’t have a physical dance floor but any piece of floor can become a dance floor…

Should I have it on a Friday or Saturday night?

Saturday’s are more popular because it’s not a work day for many.

If you want something closer to a dance floor, then reserve the Public Bar because it has built in disco lights for that special disco effect.

What time should it start and end? How long is the typical engagement party function?

Start time from 6pm is always best. And we close at midnight, but happy to keep things going longer if there is a want to do so… Most engagement parties wrap up at midnight though.

Can I decorate the room?

Absolutely but depends on which room you book.

The Public bar is open to the public when it’s not booked out. You are welcome to come in and decorate as long as you are considerate of the guests.

For all other rooms, you can come in any time of the day to decorate and prepare.

What information do you need from me to help plan the party?

  • Budget
  • Timing especially arrival time
  • Number of guests
  • Bar tab or drinks package
  • Which food platters
  • What time you want to come and decorate

And let me know the names of the happy couple so we can put up signage around the venue to help direct people.

When should I book?

If your party is in the first 6 months of the year, book at least 2 months out.

If it’s the second 6 months, especially closer to the end of the year, book at least 4 months out to secure your date. We get very busy with functions as the end of the year approaches…

Should I have speeches at the engagement party? What is the set up for speeches?

Yes most close friends love to say something on the night. We have a wireless microphone and AV system for speeches. Let us know and we will set it up and show you how to use them.

Do you have any seating for guests?

We have lower couches scattered around our function spaces so there is always somewhere people can sit and relax.

Any stories of past events?

I’ve actually been involved in organising a surprise wedding. Everyone thought it was an engagement party but then the couple went that step further and actually got married. So I’m good at keeping secrets…

I have some more questions.

Please email us or call (07) 3831 3353. Or send us an enquiry with our event form below.

We love holding milestone events at The Normanby Hotel. An engagement party is definitely one of these moments. We’ll do everything we can to make your event a memorable one.