As a wedding guest, it might feel like you’re paying for a costly gift every time you RSVP “yes” to a wedding-related event. There is an engagement party (often more than one), a bridal shower, a bachelor and/or bachelorette party, and then the main event. But how do you know if you need to bring a present to the first engagement party? Simply said, an engagement party does not need you to provide a present. However, bringing something (even a modest something) to some sorts of occasions is more suitable than others—and the honest fact is, it depends (ugh, we know, sorry). If you’re planning an engagement party, consider the following engagement party gift etiquette guidelines.
Do You Need to Bring a Gift to an Engagement Party?
The Event’s Formality
You probably don’t need to bring gifts if your friend just got engaged and emailed you about spontaneous celebratory cocktails at a neighborhood pub the next weekend. A bottle of champagne or maybe a lovely card might be appropriate as a gift of congratulations, but don’t worry about bringing a toaster oven to drinks. The invitation is informal, therefore the party will be as well.If an engagement party is more formal in nature—say, you received a custom snail mail invitation to a cocktail party at a swanky venue, and you know the couples’ parents will be greeting guests (aka taking stock of who brings what) at the door—either ask around to see what other close friends and family members are thinking of doing, or bite the bullet and bring something with you.
Who is the host?
If the location is relaxed and the party isn’t formally hosted in someone’s house or by someone in particular (such as one set of parents or the couple themselves), it’s another clue that the party will be low-key—and that you’ll most likely be paying for your own food or beverages. A present is not “payback” for free food and beverages, but if you open your wallet at a party, you are not normally required to bring a gift as well.
If your budget permits
Are you on a limited budget? Take some of the weight off yourself by understanding that you are not required to bring a present, even if it is a formal event—especially if you are certain you will be invited to the shower and wedding. If you despise arriving at gatherings empty-handed, try splitting your gift budget to include something for each wedding function. Otherwise, save your money for a great wedding present for the pair. Remember, the primary thing they want from you is your genuine congratulations and the opportunity to join in their joy. A personalized, handwritten card is always appreciated without breaking the bank.
Whether You Will Be Able to Attend the Wedding
If you know you won’t be able to attend the wedding but still want to express your love and best wishes to the couple, their engagement party is a fantastic chance to do so. However, before you bring a large box of wine glasses to the occasion, check the couple’s wedding website to see whether they’ve registered for presents. If they have a register, it will make the procedure much easier for both of you (their present will be delivered directly to their doorstep, eliminating the need for you to carry it).
If They Request That You Do Not
The happy couple may be adamant about having a gift-free engagement celebration. You’re off the hook if the engagement party invites, their website, or their loved ones individually urge everyone not to send gifts.
What sort of present is suitable if you must offer one?
Gift cards, checks, or cash are always welcome presents. Choose two or four champagne flutes as a present that emphasizes the joyous nature of your engagement. Bring a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco instead. The bride has most likely not registered yet, but if she has, seek for ideas there.
What should you spend?
There is no specified quantity, as there is with wedding presents. Spend what you can afford while remembering that this isn’t the wedding and that the money spent should reflect that.
Is it expected that you bring it to the party?
You can give it to the couple in person or send it to them through email. But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to open it during the festivities.
Should we bring a gift to the engagement party or should we send it ahead of time?
If you want to buy a present for the engaged couple, you may be thinking if you should bring it at the engagement party or mail it ahead of time. While wedding presents are often delivered to the couple prior to the wedding, engagement gifts are typically delivered to the engagement party. Engagement presents are often simple (a bottle of wine, a gorgeous picture frame, a gift ticket to a favorite restaurant, a personal item) and may be readily handed to the couple during the festivities.If you want to give the couple a larger present from their registry, you may send it ahead of time so they don’t have to worry about transferring it after the celebrations.
It’s entirely up to you whether you bring a present, but if you’re anxious about arriving empty-handed, consider something inexpensive like a bottle of wine or a lovely flower. If you do decide to acquire a present for the couple, you have numerous options regarding how it is given. And, regardless of whether you bring a present or not, make sure to congratulate your pals in person—and thank the host for hosting you!