Perhaps you're newly engaged—congratulations! Or maybe you know a couple lucky in love. Whether you're a guest or the guest of honor, we've got your gifting needs covered. We've rounded up 57 of our favorite engagement gifts to give (or register for) along with everything you need to know about hosting an engagement party. We've even answered the tricky question: Do you have to bring a gift to an engagement party?
Engagement party etiquette
It's time to share your news and celebrate your newly engaged status! People will want to congratulate you and share in your joy—and let's face it, a party is a lot more fun than a bunch of phone calls. An engagement party is also a great opportunity to introduce key people from your respective lives who will be seeing a lot of each other over the next year or so as you plan your wedding.
Tradition dictates that it's the bride's parents' prerogative to host the first official celebration. Then the groom's parents can throw their own party, or both families can come together and cohost an event. But these days more and more couples are hosting their own parties, or friends are offering to organize something in their honor.
The engagement party typically falls within a few months of the proposal, in the sweet spot between carefree engaged life and serious wedding planning. There used to be hard-and-fast rules surrounding the guest list—if you aren't inviting them to the wedding, they shouldn't receive an invitation to the engagement party. That still holds true if you two or your parents are hosting the party. But if your friends want to gather a gang at a local bar, or your parents' good friends want to host cocktails at their home, the rules are a little more lax. It's totally fine to include people you aren't sure will end up making the guest list, or for your parents to invite mutual friends or business associates whom you might not have room for at your wedding. To avoid a sticky situation, try and have your guest list loosely mapped out and your bridal party chosen before you send out engagement party invites. And have a plan for addressing wedding plans with guests who may not be invited to the wedding. ("We haven't started thinking about the wedding just yet, but we think it will be an intimate celebration next summer.")
Remember: This is your engagement party, not the wedding (you definitely don't want to upstage the main event). So make the party as casual or as formal as you'd like. While it's fine for the decor and details to reflect your wedding colors and theme, don't feel like you have to rush to choose them just so your engagement party can match.
Do you bring a gift to an engagement party?
You don't need to bring a gift to an engagement party—but it's more appropriate to do so at some types of events. Couples want your heartfelt congratulations most of all and for you to share in their happiness. So gift or no gift? Here's what you should consider:
Is it an impromptu celebration at a local bar days after the proposal? If the invitation is casual (you were invited by text), the celebration will probably be too. In this case, no engagement party gift is necessary, but a bottle of champagne wouldn't be out of place if you want to spread some cheer. While a gift isn't "payback" for free drinks or food, if you're sharing in the expenses of the evening, you're not usually expected to bring a gift as well.
If the event is at someone's house or being officially hosted by a VIP (like the parents of the bride), the stakes are a little higher—especially if you receive an invitation by mail. While you still don't have to bring a gift, this is the occasion where you might not want to arrive empty-handed. Find out if the couple has registered, or choose something for their home that they can both enjoy, like candlesticks or a picture frame. If you're on a tight budget, opt for a token gift, like a handwritten well wish and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Engagement Gifts For Couples
Maybe you're friendly with the groom and will be meeting his fiancé for the first time at the engagement party. Or perhaps you're shopping for the couple that already has everything. Finding the perfect gift for a new duo can be tricky. Our expert tip: choose something they can enjoy together. Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas for couples.