What’s the Deal With Engagement Presents Anyway?

An engagement is definitely a reason to celebrate, which will happen in many different ways!

Updated 03/19/17

Kim in Edinburgh for Flytographer

Celebrating an engagement can often feel like a mystery. Do you even need to have an engagement party? Who’s supposed to host it? Should people bring gifts? And should you send a gift when someone gets engaged or wait until the wedding? The gifting part can be the most confusing, so we asked our experts: Should we expect engagement presents?

An engagement is definitely a reason to celebrate, but there’s really no “right” way to do so. Some people send a card, others might drop off a bottle of wine or champagne, and some will send a gift to mark the occasion. While these are all welcome and appreciated by the newly engaged couple, none of them are actually required, whether you’re simply sending well wishes or attending an engagement party. In some families and circles of friends, engagement gifts are absolutely the norm, and if this sounds familiar, start considering your registry sooner rather than later!

In others, though, engagement gifts are totally unusual and unexpected, so if this is you, you’ll be fine waiting to set up your registry until later.

If you do receive engagement gifts, whether you were expecting them or not, don’t forget to send a thank-you note! A prompt reply will make sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks as well as let the gifter know that you’ve received what they’ve sent. Another reason to not wait until closer to or after your wedding? There’s no guarantee that you’ll get another gift later on, and waiting months to say thank you can come off as rude. Some guests may choose to send your wedding present in advance of your wedding instead of after the fact, so what you thought was an engagement gift could actually be a wedding gift instead.

When you’re writing a note to thank someone for an engagement present, there are a few details you’ll want to remember. If you haven’t made your guest list for your wedding yet and aren’t sure if the person in question will make the cut, keep your note focused on the gift itself and how much you appreciate it. That way, the gift giver won’t be hurt if you imply an invite but then change your mind later on. On the other hand, if the gift came from a friend or family member you know will be invited, be sure to add a line to your card about how excited you are to celebrate with them when your big day comes!

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