Engagement Party Gift Etiquette

You may be wondering about engagement party gift etiquette if you are invited to celebrate a friend or family member's engagement. With bridal shower and wedding gifts ahead, are engagement party presents necessary? Are you obligated to bring one?

Necessary Or Not?
You do not have to bring an engagement present. This bears repeating: You do not have to bring an engagement present. However, you will notice at the party that many guests will bring presents. Engagement party etiquette is still evolving, but keep in mind that you will be giving presents later on, when the couple really needs to add items to the household. Some people may confuse the engagement party with the bridal shower, and bringing a gift is acceptable, but it is not required. You can go and enjoy the engagement party without a gift, feeling confident that you have not committed a grave etiquette error.

Appropriate Engagement Gifts
If you feel that you must bring a gift and find out that almost everyone else is bringing a gift, keep it simple and small. Since the big-ticket gifts should be saved for the wedding, engagement gifts should meet these criteria: inexpensive, meaningful, handy and tastefully humorous. Here are some examples:

Inexpensive: You can figure out what that means to you.
Meaningful: Romantic gifts that preserve memories are great. For example, picture frames, a bottle of wine with glasses, his and hers items or a book of love poetry could be perfect.
Handy: Something useful, such as a kitchen item, a wedding planning book, a book on sustaining the romance in a marriage or a small set of tools for home repairs.
Tastefully Humorous: Matching shirts, matching coffee mugs, a book of jokes or a romantic comedy DVD to watch together (for instance "When Harry Met Sally" or "Father of the Bride") with some microwave popcorn and a box of movie candy.

Whether you get a gift or not, it's completely appropriate to bring a congratulations card, with a heartfelt message written inside. If you can include a special thought of your own about why the future bride and groom are great together, or how to have a long marriage, all the better.

Congratulate the couple in person, regardless of whether you brought a gift. They will be receiving other gifts from you, so this courtesy is the most important etiquette tip you could possibly have.

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