As people's friendship groups are becoming more diverse, single-sex parties such as bachelor and bachelorette parties and bridal showers are falling a little bit out of favor. What is becoming more popular is the more inclusive Engagement Party. Engagement parties are generally mixed gender, mixed age groups, and mixed friendship circles. They can be a great way to introduce all the people in your life before the wedding.

A new trend in engagement parties is a little difficult to pull off, but can be a lot of fun: A Surprise Engagement Party!

There are two ways of thinking of this idea.

1) The Bride and Groom throw the party

Engaged couples and pre-wedding events are getting a bad rap these days. Instead of making an engagement party another event your friends and relatives have to plan, attend, and buy a gift for, why not do something for them? Plan a normal party around any pretense you like, then use it as an occasion to bring out the champagne and announce your engagement. Throwing the party yourself gives you a chance to let everyone know how much you appreciate them, and the help they'll be giving in the upcoming months.

This does take some advance thought. If you've already told almost everyone you know about your engagement, the party will be less of a surprise. Also, you don't want to invite anyone to the party that you won't be inviting to the wedding, so you'll need to give some thought to your guest list as well.

Make sure to do the actual announcement in style. Let Elvis or Lady Gaga make the announcement. Have a magician pull the ring out of a hat, have a fortune teller "divine" that you're engaged, or have a marching band come in with the news.

2) Throw a Surprise Party for a Bride and Groom

Looking to do something nice for a deserving bride and groom? Why not give them one less party to think about? Again, you'll want to be careful and not invite anyone to the party that you don't know for absolute sure is going to be invited to the wedding.

How would you feel about a surprise engagement party? Share your thoughts in the comments below.