The Lowdown on Engagement Parties

Etiquette, Favors & Gifts
chic engagement party

Photo: Jessica Craig-Martin

When it comes to engagement parties, there really are no set rules. Sometimes, engagement parties are thrown as a surprise, either for the newly affianced bride-to-be to celebrate immediately following the proposal. Another option? Either of the couple's parents can host a gathering to introduce the soon-to-be-married couple to their social circles and rejoice in the pending marriage. Among these celebrations, guests may be confused on appropriate decorum, especially whether or not they should present a gift — even more so with bridal shower, bachelorette, and wedding looming in the future. Here, a basic overview of engagement parties and their inherent demands.

There's no set-in-stone style for throwing an engagement party: That is, an engagement party can be a multitude of things. First, as we mentioned above, an impromptu engagement party, often a surprise, can be thrown by friends and family immediately post-proposal. On the other hand, one set (or both sets!) of parents can throw an engagement party to celebrate the couple with their friends and other family members. The level of formality is up to the hosts: It could be a swanky evening affair or a casual luncheon. Moral of the story: these get together really can be whatever you want, or what your friends and family want to do to celebrate your pending nuptials.

As for gifts, there's no requirement to bring one: Sure, you can present something sentimental to help congratulate the couple, but there's no etiquette requirements to purchase a pricey-gift, give the host a present, or for the couple to register. Leave that to the wedding!

Remember to choose the guest list wisely: Every person you invite to your engagement party, must receive an invite to the actual wedding. So think twice before sending out that mass Facebook invite.

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