What You Need to Know About Engagement Party Gift Etiquette

Photo of author

You’ve just received an invitation to an engagement party for your friends or family members. You’re excited to celebrate their love and happiness, but you’re also wondering: should you bring a present or not? The answer is not so simple, as different situations may call for different engagement party gift etiquette. In this article from Viva Wedding Photography, we will help you navigate the tricky question of engagement party gifts. We will explain when you should and shouldn’t bring a gift, what kind of gift is appropriate, and how much you should spend. 

1. Engagement party gift etiquette for guests

1.1. Are presents expected at an engagement party?

In short, no. Engagement gifts are by no means required, regardless of the level of extravagance of the celebration. Just because the couple has already created their registry, it doesn’t mean you are obligated to follow it or buy anything before they have sent out the invitations. There will be many other events, such as the couple’s shower and the actual wedding, where you will have the opportunity to express your congratulations with a gift.

Proper etiquette for engagement party gifts
Proper etiquette for engagement party gifts – Photo by: Historic Acres of Hershey

Having said that, giving a present is not considered poor engagement party gift etiquette. A bottle of champagne, a candle, or a pretty frame are all lovely presents that the happy couple will surely appreciate, and of course, there’s no need to go crazy shopping for their wedding registry just yet. If you are still uncertain about the best course of action, read on!

1.2. How do you know if you should get one?

The question is whether or not to bring an engagement gift. As previously stated, engagement gifts are not generally anticipated. However, if you’re concerned that the event’s style would encourage gift-giving, examine the event’s formality, who’s hosting it, and whether you’re attending any other wedding-related gatherings. Answers to “Do you bring a gift to an engagement party?” are provided below.

a. The formality of the event

Are presents expected at an engagement party with a laid-back affair?
Are presents expected at an engagement party with a laid-back affair? – Photo by: Taste of Home

If your friend recently got engaged and sent you a text inviting you to join them for spontaneous celebratory drinks at a local bar next weekend, it is unlikely that you need to bring any gifts. A gesture of congratulations, such as a bottle of champagne or a nice card, would be proper etiquette for engagement party gifts. Definitely, there is no need to worry about bringing a toaster oven to the celebration. Since the invitation is casual, the party will also have a relaxed atmosphere. 

If the engagement party has a more formal atmosphere, such as receiving a personalized invitation by mail for a cocktail party at an elegant venue, you have a couple of options. You can either inquire with other close friends and family members to see what they are planning to do, or you can take the initiative and bring a small gift with you.

b. Whether or not you cover the meal’s cost

Engagement party gift etiquette for attendees
Engagement party gift etiquette for attendees – Photo by: Easy Weddings

Suppose the venue for the party is casual, such as a bar, restaurant, or park, and it is not officially hosted at someone’s house or by a specific person (like one set of parents or the couple themselves). In that case, it indicates that the party will be relatively relaxed, and you’ll likely be responsible for covering the cost of your own meal or drinks. Although bringing a gift is not considered a form of “payback” for receiving free food and drinks, guests are generally not expected to bring a gift when they are already contributing financially to the party.

c. Your financial situation

Gift etiquette for an engagement party
Gift etiquette for an engagement party – Photo by: GigSalad

Are you on a tight budget? Relieve yourself from unnecessary pressure and understand that you are not required to bring a gift, even if the event is formal. This is especially true if you are confident that you will be invited to both the bridal shower and the wedding. In case you don’t want to show up empty-handed, you may want to consider allocating your gift budget to include something for each wedding event. Alternatively, you can choose to save your funds and contribute towards one meaningful wedding gift for the couple. 

Keep in mind that the most appreciated gift you can give is your appearance and congrats. A considerate, personally written card is always a great choice that doesn’t require spending a lot of money.

>>> Don’t miss out on these 53 Perfect Engagement Quotes For Couple To Congratulate Them!

d. Whether or not you can attend the wedding

Are presents expected at an engagement party when you can't attend the wedding
Are presents expected at an engagement party when you can’t attend the wedding – Photo by: David’s Bridal

If you can’t make it to the wedding but still want to express your love and best engagement wishes to the couple, their party provides a wonderful opportunity for gift-giving. 

Before you go through the trouble of bringing a large box of wine glasses to the event, it would be wise to first check the couple’s wedding website to see if they have registered for the engagement party. In case they do, it will be much more convenient for both of you. The gift will be delivered directly to their doorstep, eliminating the need for you to worry about carrying it.

e. If the couple ask you not to

Do you bring a gift to an engagement party
Opt out of a gift when the couple specifies not to bring a gift – Photo by: Hitched

Do you bring a gift to an engagement party when the couple openly expresses their desire to have a celebration without any presents? The answer is absolutely not. If the engagement party invitations, the couple’s website, or their loved ones explicitly request that guests refrain from bringing presents, then it’s better to respect their wishes and not bring one.

1.3. How much should you spend on an engagement party gift?

Engagement party gift etiquette regarding the present's value
Engagement party gift etiquette regarding the present’s value – Photo by: Wedding Vibe

While the engagement is a significant milestone, the gift doesn’t have to be. When choosing an engagement gift, we recommend opting for something budget-friendly. A golden rule of gift etiquette for an engagement party is to keep the cost within one-third of what you’d spend on a real wedding present. Since it is an optional addition, there’s no need for it to be extravagant.

You can check the couple’s wedding registry to avoid duplicating gifts they will receive on the big day. However, please note that the registry may not be available at that time.

1.4. Should you gift money at an engagement party?

Proper etiquette for engagement party gifts with cash present
Proper etiquette for engagement party gifts with cash present – Photo by: Truly Engaging

Like the previous query, the answer is no. Monetary gifts are not required during an engagement celebration. But if you want to give the engaged couple a financial surprise, that’s fine too. Gift cards are also an excellent suggestion!

1.5. What if you can’t make it to the engagement party?

If you are unable to attend the engagement party, don’t need to worry! There are still ways to find a sweet and thoughtful way to congratulate the happy couple. We think sending flowers or champagne to the couple’s home in your absence is a wonderful idea. You can also send a heartfelt card through the mail to express your apologies for not being able to attend the in-person celebration. 

2. Engagement party gift ideas

Engagement party gift etiquette on proper presents
Engagement party gift etiquette on proper presents – Photo by: Yeah Weddings

Want to bring a gift to the engagement celebration but aren’t sure what? Here’s a short list of some of the traditional engagement gift ideas for you to consider:

  1. Champagne flutes with their preferred bottle of bubbly
  2. A beautiful picture frame
  3. A photograph album
  4. Coffee mugs with a personalized monogram
  5. Coasters that correspond to the party’s theme or color palette
  6. A flower vase, either with flowers or without
  7. A book or diary with sentimental value to the couple (a collection of love poems, a wedding notebook to record their joyous memories, or a book to serve as a guest book).
  8. Personalized kitchen items such as a cutting board
  9. A gift certificate to a spa or cookery class

Besides these gifts, there are various ways to treat the couple without spending a fortune or even any money at all. For instance, you can choose to give a gift that involves an act of service, such as assisting in setting up the party. 

Alternatively, you could opt for words of affirmation, such as a heartfelt letter or a congratulatory song. Or, something relating to how they spend their time together, such as a gift certificate, would also be appreciated.

>>> Read more:

Engagement parties are a fun and festive way to share the joy of a couple’s decision to tie the knot. Regardless of whether you bring a gift or not, it is important to personally congratulate your friends and express your gratitude to the host for inviting you. Viva Wedding Photography hopes this guide on engagement party gift etiquette will help you avoid common pitfalls and faux pas when it comes to engagement party gifts.

4.9/5 - (10 votes)
Chloe Grace Avatar

Leave a Comment