Want to throw your friends or family an engagement party without hosting the gala event of the season?  While celebrating this joyous occasion is fun and exciting, parties like these can often get expensive. If you're looking for engagement party ideas on a budget, try these tips for a simple and chic event.

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Invitations & Guest List

A formal, printed invite is not required when planning an engagement party. They are a lovely touch, but not necessary with social media working just fine for this casual get together.  If you need to cut your budget somewhere, this might be the place to do it, especially if your guest list is small. Speaking of the guest list, don't invite anyone who won't be invited to the wedding. If the couple hasn't set their wedding guest list, stick to very close friends and family, just to be safe.

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Sedona Engagement Party Invitations, $121 for 55; minted.com

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Decor

If you want to throw a welcoming, easygoing engagement party, decor doesn't need to be a budget-buster. Hang a few string lights across your patio or in your living room.  Purchase a flower arrangement for the entry way.  Perhaps make a chalkboard sign or two.  If you are a big fan of DIY, you could always find a cheap, but statement-making project like this heart balloon backdrop (below).

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Tao Tronics LED String Lights, $13; amazon.com

VersaChalk Rustic Wooden Framed Standing Chalkboard Sign, $13; amazon.com

PeaceJoy Latex Jewel Toned Balloons, $11 for 100; amazon.com

Balloon Time Jumbo 12” Helium Tank, $49; amazon.com

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Activities

An engagement party isn't like a bridal shower--no one will expect games. However, if you think that conversation may not be enough to entertain your crowd and you're looking for things to do at an engagement party, you can always prepare a few activities to break out in case of emergencies.  Play bar-style trivia games about the couple's love story, have the game on in the background for a sports fan family, or plan on going out afterwards for karaoke.

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Food & Drink

This is going to be where you spend your moolah, so keep it simple. If you want to serve alcohol, stick to beer and wine. Make sure to set a party time that coordinates well with your budget. For example, if you only want to serve small bites, don't host the event around a meal time. Put it at mid-afternoon or after dinner.  Creative and affordable meals can be things like a baked potato bar with green salad, spaghetti and meatballs, hamburgers and munchies, or chili and cornbread. Each of these things can be easily prepared for a crowd.

Toasts & Gifts

There's sometimes confusion about what happens at an engagement party. Toasts are not as expected at an engagement party as they are at a shower or rehearsal dinner. However, if you want to give a toast, that's great! Guests should look to the host to kick off the toasts as their cue to give one as well.

Guests shouldn't feel obligated to bring an engagement party gift for the couple. But some people might feel awkward showing up empty-handed. They might bring a token gift for their engaged friends, or a host/hostess gift for you. As the one in charge of the party, thank them graciously and put the gift on a table. Even if there are many gifts, don't make time to open them the way you would at a shower. Have the couple simply take whatever was given to them at the end of the night.