Wedding Etiquette Forum

Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party

All the talk on the Just Engaged board has me thinking and I'm playing devil's advocate here:

Why is it not ok to throw yourself an engagement party (where gifts are expected) but it is ok to throw yourself a housewarming party (where gifts are also expected)?  They are both essentially celebrations, usually for a couple.  What gives?

EDIT: In my experience I've never been to a housewarming party hosted by someone other than the new homeowners.
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Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party

  • I really have no idea. I didn't know it was considered rude to host your own engagement party until I came to TK. I thought that's how it was done.
    And I would think a housewarming party is more of a gift-giving event than an engagement party.  I personally don't see it as being much different. *Shrug*
    Note-I haven't been to many engagement or house-warming parties, so take this with a grain of salt.
  • danieliza1127danieliza1127 member
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    edited January 2010
    I've never been to a housewarming party or an engagement party.  I wouldn't think gifts are expected at either one. 

    I think the difference is that engagement parties are to celebrate your engagement, and the real purpose of them is for the two families/parents to meet.  So typically therefore hosted by one of the sets of parents.  A housewarming party is for you to open your new home to your friends and family and host them for the evening.  I see a slight difference there, but not huge. 
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
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    I've never been to a housewarming where they gave real gifts.  Maybe wine, but nothing big.

    My co-worker told someone she should register for her housewarming.  My jaw dropped.
  • while we're on this, can someone explain to me why a "stock the bar" party is ok?
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  • I never thought of a housewarming party as a gift-giving event. I've never brought gifts to one. FI and I may have one in the summer, and we wouldn't be expecting gifts, it would just be an opportunity for us to have people over for a party for the first time in our first house as a married couple.

    and the only engagement parties I know of were thrown by parents or friends of the couple, never by the couple. but I don't think I've ever actually been to one of those.
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  • Maybe because you're already getting a gift at the wedding so you shouldn't ask for extra presents on top of that?  And with a housewarming it's just the one time.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_engagement-party-vs-housewarming-party?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:c969605e-a898-44a1-b294-6875506c41f3Post:d6ed9bf2-10bd-4ba3-b985-99f74014b4ed">Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've never been to a housewarming where they gave real gifts.  Maybe wine, but nothing big. My co-worker told someone she should register for her housewarming.  My jaw dropped.
    Posted by MyNameIsNot[/QUOTE]

    ^ this.  I've been to 2 housewarming parties and each had a registry.  The gifts do not need to be expensive, like you said wine or food but I definitely wouldn't go empty handed.  I feel engagement parties are the same way, I wouldn't purchase something big - probably wine/food. 
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  • Huh, housewarmings aren't really a gift giving occasion where I'm from.  Maybe a bottle of wine or something, but that's like $10 (who brings expensive wine to housewarmings?). 
  • I didn't think engagement parties were gift-giving parties. We didn't expect or receive any at ours. It was just a party for the families to meet.
  • I think it's ok to throw yourself a housewarming. I've been to a couple and I don't think the people whose house was being warmed expected gifts, but I give little things. Before FI was anything more than my friend, I gave him a mother of pearl (fake cause it was 6 bucks) handle bottle opener. We still have it and it makes me happy every time I see it.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_engagement-party-vs-housewarming-party?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:c969605e-a898-44a1-b294-6875506c41f3Post:54e15889-c639-4b7c-8beb-fe9c13b75632">Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party</a>:
    [QUOTE]Maybe because you're already getting a gift at the wedding so you shouldn't ask for extra presents on top of that?  And with a housewarming it's just the one time.
    Posted by FutureMrsTR[/QUOTE]

    What if you only get engaged once?  It is still only 1 time <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-laughing.gif" border="0" alt="Laughing" title="Laughing" />
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  • I've been to plenty of housewarming parties and never brought a gift, unless it was a bottle of wine, however, that's more for everyone not just the homeowners.

    Its an open house, its for people to see the new home.
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_engagement-party-vs-housewarming-party?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:c969605e-a898-44a1-b294-6875506c41f3Post:37c4b4e0-d6ca-485a-b058-8d8afa1b7572">Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party : ^ this.  I've been to 2 housewarming parties and each had a registry.  The gifts do not need to be expensive, like you said wine or food but I definitely wouldn't go empty handed.  I feel engagement parties are the same way, I wouldn't purchase something big - probably wine/food. 
    Posted by pinkpinot[/QUOTE]

    I never knew anyone that actually registered for anything besides a wedding or a baby. 

    I think of it more like a hostess gift.  I wouldn't go to dinner at someone's house without bringing wine or something.  A housewarming would get the same gift from me.
  • Technically, housewarming is not supposed to be a gift giving party.  The house is to be "warmed" by the friendship and care of your guests. 

    I would bring wine, but I bring wine and/or flowers to EVERY party.  So no matter what you call it, I will show up with a "gift."
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  • Hmmm, only ever given wine, champagne for a housewarming party too.

    Registering for a housewarming? Really? Cause you've got the big pants on for buying a house, but you can't buy your own furnishings?
  • Stage, FTW, on the vampire analogy.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_engagement-party-vs-housewarming-party?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:c969605e-a898-44a1-b294-6875506c41f3Post:c028e972-cbbc-4254-a902-362157253103">Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party</a>:
    [QUOTE]I didn't think engagement parties were gift-giving parties. We didn't expect or receive any at ours. It was just a party for the families to meet.
    Posted by buttaflai[/QUOTE]

    I agree.  I never thought they were gift grabby.  So many people are calling engagement parties gift grabby that I don't understand how a housewarming party isn't gift grabby.  If you throw a housewarming party, people will bring you gifts.  I'm not talking about the value of the gifts but I'm sure you would get wine or something small for your house, maybe a gift card.  I just don't see how it's tacky for one but not the other. 
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  • I wouldn't expect gifts at a housewarming, although now apparently people can register for it!

    Of course, call me an asshole, but I've hosted my own birthday. Usually I invite people out for my birthday. Which I think is more of a "hey, do you want to do something this weekend?" than a gift grab. However, this year, I did send the invitation, and I also hosted the whole thing - as in, we had it at a karaoke bar I rented, I paid for drinks, etc. I think the only thing my guests paid for was the $2 valet parking lot if they chose to use it.

    Okay, actually, now that I think of it, almost every year I've had a friend of FI cohosting my birthday. The year I rented a hotel suite was amazing.
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  • Michael and I hosted a Housewarming/Engagement party when we moved into our house last Spring.  Having been together for five years, we didn't need anything and certainly didn't expect anything.  I printed invitations with Vistaprint, stating that we were announcing the engagement and celebrating the move- and we had a great party.  Never crossed my mind that it was rude or selfish- and while we did get some gifts, it was mostly a bottle of wine or something similar...things we would take to someone's house even if just invited to dinner.  I spent $1000.00 for food and beverages for the party, so I certainly don't feel like I was just hunting for gifts...lol.  We had about 60-70 guests and had invited about 100. It was a great party and I don't regret it for a minute, it was fun having everyone to the new place and getting to cut loose.  At the end of the party (with only 4 guests still here) I jumped in the pool with all my clothes on, and FH dropped his pants and went in wearing his undies.  It was all quite perfect.  Innocent
  • We threw an open house type thing when we bought our home, and we just set out heavy apps and wine and things, fully expecting that people would drop in, have a bite and a glass of wine and go on with the rest of their evenings. It felt like it turned into a bridal shower - everyone brought gifts, they wanted us to open them, etc. It was strange and uncomfortable and really unexpected. I've only ever brought food or something to a housewarming, and at the most, brought food and a platter to serve it in that's new and that the hosts can keep.

    Then again, we committed an etiquette faux pas and threw our own engagement party, not realizing until it was mostly planned that it was gauche to do so. It ended up being fine anyway, and was surprisingly much less "shower-y" than our housewarming. Go figure.
  • LOL @ your FI in his undies.

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  • Where I am from (because that is all I know) housewarming roughly translates into "come and get drunk, wooooo!". The only thing I have ever taken to a housewarming is my own booze (they are always BYO). I would throw myself a housewarming because they are not gift giving occasions, they are just piss ups.

    Msmery- I also threw myself a party last birthday. In fact, I throw myself one every year. No one else is going to do it, I pay for everything and 9 times out of 10 I don't get presents anyway.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_engagement-party-vs-housewarming-party?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:c969605e-a898-44a1-b294-6875506c41f3Post:51e82514-8763-4f0e-9f9c-6fe3f3a64ca8">Re: Engagement Party vs. Housewarming Party</a>:
    [QUOTE]And I don't generally think hosting your own engagement party is gift grabby either.  I just think it's really tacky because you are basically honoring yourself and asking others to do so as well.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]

    Does this mean then that birthday parties should never be hosted by yourself? Because I have had many a birthday party that H and I put together which was essentially hosted by us in honour of one of our birthdays.
  • edited January 2010
    Here, engagement parties are gift giving events- however, we don't have bridal showers, so it's really the only gift-giving that happens before the wedding itself. Engagement parties are not just to provide the family a chance to meet here- in fact, they're usually very big parties in which all of the friends/co-workers get invited to come and celebrate an engagement. There isn't an expectation that you'll have an invite to the wedding if you attend the e-party, particularly if it's a smaller wedding or if the wedding is currently completely unplanned (as is often the case as they're usually thrown within a couple of months of the engagement). Usually, they're pretty casual events. We did actual invitations for ours and restricted our guest list, but many I've been to are just a word-of-mouth type party (or nowdays, facebook event organised) and not so formal- really just a big party, with the main difference being an engagement cake and a quick speech from the couple thanking everyone for coming. We organised a bar tab and canapes for ours, but many I've been to don't provide any drinks. We did thank-you cards to all who attended, but I've never seen these done for an e-party before- usually the verbal thank-you speech at the event sufficies.

    Even here though, in the land where etiquette norms tend to stray far from those of the states, generally speaking the family are the ones who host the party. If they're not listed as official hosts, they'll be there and make their own thank-you speech which makes it clear that they've had some role in putting the party together. Officially, my parents were 'hosts' for our e-party, and they did contribute some money towards it as our engagement gift, but in reality we were the ones who organised the whole thing.
  • I typically put together the parties for my and my BF's b-days.  Although since they started costing me an arm and a leg, I laid off.  However, this year is Mark's 40th so I will be planning something BIG.


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    I don't get married often, but when I do, I do it in Las Vegas.

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    "Lvharpy could be your AE." - direy25
    "smokeybailey is the one shining beacon of light in this steaming turd of a thread." - daffodil_jill
    "The almighty smokeybailey has spoken." - some bitch on the Las Vegas board

  • I don't really think it's ever appropriate to throw a party in honor of yourself.

    Even with a housewarming party, I'm not a huge fan.  Why not just say, "Come over and see the new place and let's party!'

    It's not YET another occasion to buy you stuff. 
  • I don't know anybody that's had an engagement party.  Not one.  If I were invited to one, I wouldn't have assumed I should bring a gift, pre-knot. 

    Housewarming parties here people usually bring a little something - wine, house plant, candle & holder, etc.  Nothing big.  I've heard of people registering, but always a friend of a friend. . . that mythical tacky person that people talk about. 

    Birthdays. . . generally, in our crowd, the birthday guy or gal picks a restaurant and a time & people meet up for dinner.  Generally, the group will contribute a couple $$ each to the birthday person's bill, such that they usually eat free that night, but not always.  No outright gifts, though. 
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