Casual vs Formal

Like any event planning and wedding planning, in particular, this is one of those questions that is most often answered with “It depends”.  On what, you ask? Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to have a ‘formal’ party or a ‘casual’ one.  


It’s not unusual for family members and friends to get caught up in the excitement and throw the couple an engagement party.  It’s also acceptable for the newly-engaged couple to host their own party. The choice of casual or formal can depend on the personality of the hosts.

My parents, for instance, are more formal than my husband and I.  My mother always uses the ‘good’ dishes for the company – especially if she and my dad are hosting a party.  My husband and I don’t even have a ‘good’ set of dishes.


Regardless of who is hosting the party, the venue is a big factor in choosing the ambiance.  Yes, you could host a black-tie party in a barn or you could have a square dance in a high-end restaurant, but both those sites lend themselves more easily to other themes.  Backyard barbecues are usually ‘casual’ while sit-down dinners in restaurants are more ‘formal’.


Often, but not always, the theme of the engagement party will coordinate with the theme of the wedding.  If the wedding party is large and many guests have been invited, it is likely the wedding ceremony and reception will be formal. But the couple could be planning to tie the knot at the beach or a local park.  In that case, the whole event would probably be more casual.  


What is ‘party casual’ vs ‘formal’ wear?  ‘Party casual’ is just what it says. Casual.  It does not mean messy or grubby. Casual usually means that your outfit – including your shoes – will be comfortable for the entire occasion. Casual can mean jeans or shorts but can include dresses and skirts.  ‘Formal’ on the other hand, is always a dress of various lengths for women and suits for men. And it almost always means uncomfortable shoes for women.


Off the top of their heads, I think most people would assume that ‘casual’ costs less than ‘formal’.  But that’s not always true. Think about the money parents spend on ‘fun’ or ‘casual’ birthday parties for their children.  In fact, my experience has been that ‘casual’ can be the same price as ‘formal’. But neither has to be expensive. Formal can simply include muted tones or black and white tablecloths, napkins, silver chargers, and cutlery.  

When you’re looking for decorations for your engagement party – whether it’s casual or formal – drop by Event Decor Direct’s new bricks and mortar retail store located at 98 SE 7th Street Deerfield Beach Fl 33441.  Don’t live close by? Check: https://www.eventdecordirect.com/catalog/ 

Did you go ‘formal’ or ‘casual’ for your engagement party?  Post a comment. We’d love to hear from you!


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