Wondering What to Wear to an Engagement Party? Read This Guide for Guests

Celebrate in style with one of these party-ready looks.
what to wear to an engagement party
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Oct 19, 2021
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When a friend or family member gets engaged, there are a few things that are likely to follow. They'll call you to share the news, they'll post photos on social media, you'll send an engagement gift and you'll get invited to an engagement party! It's an honor to be included in their first official wedding event, so dressing accordingly is of the utmost importance. Aside from that, there are no official rules when it comes to engagement party attire, just basic guidelines. Obviously, you should wait to pick out an engagement party outfit until you know the dress code, location and time of day of the event, but the one thing you'll definitely want to avoid wearing is anything white, as that color is reserved strictly for the bride-to-be. From feminine looks adorned with lace and ruffles to luxurious silky jumpsuits and tailored suit jackets, the options for celebrating in style are endless.

Things to Consider

1. Avoid wearing white and dressing too formally.

Obviously, white should be reserved for the guests of honor. "At the risk of sounding totally traditional, I would say you should avoid wearing white unless instructed otherwise," recommends Katie Murphy, VP of Client Services at 11 Honoré. "Other things you may want to avoid is potentially upstaging the bride and arriving dressed more formally than she is." Be sure to adhere to the dress code so you don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself by being overdressed.

2. Wear something you feel comfortable in.

We've all seen celebrities on the red carpet in uncomfortable-looking outfits and wondered to ourselves, "How are they going to eat or walk in that?" You don't want to have that feeling at someone's engagement party. "As a guest at any engagement party you want to have fun and enjoy yourself," Murphy advises. "The idea is to celebrate the couple, so I would say make sure you are comfortable. We all want to look good, but not at the risk of discomfort."

Since engagement parties are events where you'll be mingling, you'll want to feel your best (and most confident) in your attire. "You're going to be doing a lot of handshaking, hugging, and meeting new people," notes Shelby Goldfaden, the senior manager of merchandising and product development at M.M. LaFleur. "Forget adjusting a neckline or tugging at a skirt that doesn't fit quite right."

Attire Ideas

If you're still stumped about what to wear, we asked a few fashion pros at some of our favorite brands for engagement party outfit ideas. "I like cotton and lightweight silks for spring or summer events and a fuller, more structured silk for fall and winter," suggests Murphy. "For a more casual party, your fabric options can broaden to things like denim, wool, knits, and more."

Another go-to engagement party option? Something that glitters or glistens. "An outfit with a slight sheen gives off a dressier feeling," says Goldfaden. When in doubt, Goldfaden suggests upgrading one part of your outfit to something new and fresh to up the fanciness of your whole ensemble. "Simply changing your top can totally alter the vibe of an outfit," she explains. A silk top is usually best for a nighttime party or formal dinner, while a cotton top may be best for an outdoor engagement party.

Shop Our Picks

eloquii sage satin cocktail dress with v-neckline ruffles and high low skirt for what to wear to an engagement party

The romantic details on this satin gown—from a high-low hemline, tie waist and ruffle edges—take this cocktail dress to the next level.

lulus red velvet ruched mini dress with v-neckline and spaghetti straps for what to wear to an engagement party

A nighttime party celebrating the newly engaged couple calls for a more sultry engagement party dress. If cocktail attire is the dress code, this ruched velvet mini dress is just the ticket.

asos grey white and black plaid suit jacket for what to wear to an engagement party

For the fashion-forward men out there, this skinny-fit tartan suit jacket has your name written all over it. It's the perfect complement to a summer engagement party.

fame and partners black satin jumpsuit with wide leg pants short sleeves and crisscross back for what to wear to an engagement party

A satin black jumpsuit is the epitome of class and elegance. If your personal style errs on the side of classic, the draped neckline and wide-leg fit of this style are right up your alley. Don't worry though—the crisscross panels on the back add a hint of sexy.

nordstrom one shoulder magenta midi dress with shoulder drape for what to wear to an engagement party

For a black tie engagement party that requires a little more glam, consider this one-shoulder midi dress in dark magenta. The chic shoulder drape and form fitting silhouette will make you stand out from the crowd.

j crew khaki pants for what to wear to an engagement party

For a waterfront soirée or outdoor engagement party, these khaki pants would pair perfectly with a pastel button-down shirt and blazer. Bonus: The stretchy chino fabric will ensure you're comfortable all day and night.

needle and thread blush mini dress with long mesh sleeves light pink and green floral print and ruffle lined pleated tiered tulle skirt for what to wear to an engagement party

Whether the engagement party is a springtime soirée or country club brunch, this feminine mini dress—made of layers of tulle featuring ruffle trims and sheer sleeves—is a romantic option.

neiman marcus black dress with high neckline cap sleeves flare skirt and lace embroidery for what to wear to an engagement party

The feminine A-line silhouette and delicate lace embroidery serve as a stark contrast to the sultry sheer detailing and black hue, making it a head-turning engagement party dress.

tie bar teal and white gingham button down shirt for what to wear to an engagement party

This teal gingham button-down shirt is fit for any dress code. Whether you pair it with a blazer or a pair of jeans, this versatile dress shirt works in any setting or season.

bloomingdale's royal blue shift dress with high neckline and sequined and beaded short sleeves for what to wear to an engagement party

This royal blue shift dress is comfortable and loose-fitting, making it a great option for an engagement party with a dance floor. The bead and sequin-embellished cape overlay at the shoulders take this look up a notch.

m.m. la fleur black vegan leather leggings for what to wear to an engagement party

Leave your cocktail party dresses hanging in your closet and opt for a pair of vegan stretch leather leggings instead. Pair these with high heels and a blouse or blazer and you're guaranteed to turn the heads of close friends and strangers alike.

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