Dawn and Darren have a thing for matching outfits. Be it nautical stripes, cheeky polka dots or blue and red gingham – there is bound to be a His and Hers set in their wardrobe. When I met them in the Botanic Gardens a few days before their engagement picnic party, Dawn was wearing a polka dot parka and Darren sported matching socks (I also happened to be wearing a dotty jumper but that was pure coincidence).

They also have a thing for New York. Despite not having been there in person, they did an outstanding job of channelling the NYC vibe in Melbourne. If you’re planning a location-themed celebration, try some of these tips to take things to the next level.

Location, location

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens was the perfect substitute for Central Park – easy to get to via public transport, plenty of room to spread out the picnic rugs and best of all, free! The biggest downfall of parks is the lack of bad weather backups, but we were lucky not to need it.

Feed your guests the right flavours

When I think of NYC I think about the food. Self-confessed foodies, Dawn & Darren really excelled with the menu – freshly baked pretzels, iced Big Apple cookies, chilli dogs, donuts, Hershey’s bars and my personal favourite – Reece’s peanut butter cups. Food is a massive part of any culture so check out a few new recipes online and give any tricky ones a trial run before your party.

Don’t forget the kids

My own engagement party involved a lot of younger cousins, nieces and nephews. Most of them ended up in the swimming pool despite the cool weather because let’s face it, they’re not great a standing around and chatting over a beer.

Dawn & Darren are actually big kids at heart and had prepared a few games that everyone joined in on. The lemon/spoon races were cleaner than the egg alternative and Dawn arranged everyone into teams based on well-known NYC icons. Prizes were awarded for best dress-up creations and the piñata pretty much guaranteed mass participation.

Following are a few pictures from the day. Engagement parties are a great opportunity to “road test” a photographer before you hire them for your wedding so if you’re recently engaged, feel free to get in touch!

New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari
New York Engagement Party - Photo: Urban Safari

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