It's a given that wedding guests give gifts on the big day and that bridal shower attendees bring presents to the party. But what about the engagement party? Are guests expected to get another gift for this pre-wedding tradition? We asked an etiquette expert-approved answer to this common question for your convenience!
I've attended a number of engagement parties, and I still can't figure out the etiquette of gifts. Some people bring presents; others don't. Do I need to bring a gift to an engagement party?
It depends. In the past, engagement gifts were not obligatory or expected, and usually this is still the case. However, in many parts of the country, bringing a gift to an engagement party has become de rigueur. Gift instructions are not included on invitations, but couples who are very conscious of taxing their friends' budgets can tell guests (through the hosts) not to bring presents. If you really aren't sure what to do, call the host and ask.
Ultimately, your decision whether to give an engagement gift depends on local custom, your relationship with the couple, and your budget. Often close friends and family members do give a gift.
An engagement gift is really a good-hearted gesture of affection, and it need not be expensive or elaborate. Something simple such as a cookbook or a good bottle of wine—intended to help the couple establish a collection—makes a great engagement gift. Or if you prefer, save your money for the wedding gift.