How to Throw A Clam Bake Engagement Party

Looking for a causal, summery way to celebrate your engagement? Gather your guests for a memorable clam bake – seaside optional!


Keep it Casual

A group of six to twelve is recommended for an intimate clam bake. When inviting guests, be sure to note a casual dress code, as a small mess is inevitable during this fun feast.

Set the Stage

Forgo the tablecloth and opt for a beautiful striped table runner. (Add kraft paper underneath if you are worried about a mess!)

For dinnerware, choose a neutral-colored set, like our Cambria Collection in stone. A clean cream tone will be a nice backdrop for the colorful seafood bounty. Weave in the seaside theme with our Sand Dollar Salad Plates and Starfish Place Card Holders. Each guest will need individual servings for butter and our crab snack bowls are perfect for that!


Make the Meal

While traditionally hosted on the beach, you don’t need to live in New England or be near the ocean to throw this fun coastal-themed engagement dinner party. This Williams-Sonoma stove-top recipe makes it easy to enjoy this meal — indoors or out.


Note: This recipe serves about 4 people. Double or triple for 8 to 12 guests.

  • 1 lb small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved  or quartered
  • 2 lbs hard-shell clams, well scrubbed
  • 2 quarts rockweed (seaweed), rinsed (optional)
  • 4 live lobsters, each 1 to 1 1/4 lbs.
  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and kept warm


In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium, simmer for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

Lay a double layer of cheesecloth (about a 15-inch square) on a work surface. Discard any clams that are gaping and do not close when tapped. Arrange half of the clams on the cheesecloth, fold flat and tie the ends with kitchen string. Repeat with the remaining clams and then make a third bundle with the potatoes.

In a large pot, insert a steamer rack or perforated insert that stands several inches above the bottom of the pot. Add 1 to 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat.

If using the rockweed, arrange a thin layer on the steamer rack. Set the lobsters on top, arrange the bundles of potatoes and clams on top of the lobsters and  cover with another layer of rockweed. Cover pot and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Cook for 16 to 18 minutes.

After 8 minutes, lift the lid and set the ears of corn on top. Check for doneness by using tongs to see if the clams have opened. The lobsters should be bright red and the steam should carry the sweet smell of cooked lobster.

Using the tongs, remove everything from the pot, discard the rockweed and arrange everything else on a large platter. Snip open the bundles and discard any clams that failed to open. Divide the butter among warmed individual bowls.

Serve immediately, along with tools for cracking the lobster shells and plenty of napkins.

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