Did your BFF just get engaged? It’s time to start celebrating! First up on the pre-wedding party list: the engagement party. Whether it's super formal or totally laid-back, the etiquette around this first bash can be a little bit fuzzy, especially when it comes to whether or not you’re supposed to bring a gift. We asked our experts to weigh in on whether you’ve got to celebrate the future Mr. and Mrs. with a present right off the bat.
Engagement parties vary widely from couple to couple—and some might even have a few before they walk down the aisle. One person might lead his partner to a surprise engagement party as soon as he's popped the question, while another couple may opt for a more formal celebration hosted by their parents once the news has been spread. Anything from casual drinks at a bar to a cocktail reception with waiters in white gloves goes—which can add to the confusion.
The good news is, engagement gifts are not required, no matter how fancy the celebration. Even if the pair has already set up their registry, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to click “buy” before they’ve even sent out invitations. Oftentimes, close relatives and friends of the couple will show up with a gift, ranging from a book of wedding inspiration to a traditional wedding gift like a pretty frame or serving platter.
Nowadays, it's common for guests to bring a gift to an engagement party, but it's usually something small and sentimental. Don't feel pressured to give an elaborate or expensive gift. If you wish to bring a gift, you can, but bring it to the gathering itself. At the very least, you can bring a congratulatory card to leave for the couple, letting them know how happy you are and that you’re excited to celebrate this milestone with them. Whether you bring a gift is totally up to you, but if you’re worried about showing up empty-handed, consider something budget friendly like a bottle of wine or a pretty bouquet.
If you do decide to get a gift for the couple, there is also some flexibility when it comes to how it’s delivered. You could send flowers or champagne to your friends as soon as you know they’re tying the knot or opt to wrap something and bring it with you to the engagement party.
And of course, gift or no gift, make sure you congratulate your friends in person—and thank the host for having you!