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Pre-wedding Parties

Engagement Party: Is it customary to bring gifts?

I've never been to an engagement party, I've never even heard of them until I got engaged when my family was pestering me about one so naturally, I do not know the faux pas of such a thing. I am having an engagement party, just a simple pot luck cook out with our families and close friends. I hadn't even thought or asked for gifts, but I have been recently receiving quite a few e-mails and phone calls asking if the guest to this party need to bring gifts. I hadn't even asked for anyone to bring anything to the cook out but instead ask that they tell me if they are bringing something and if they are, what. Now I have all these people asking if they should bring gifts and I want to give them a better answer than "I don't know. Do what you want I guess." I don't expect anything from the guests, but I want to know whether or not it is customary for people to bring or get asked to bring gifts?

Re: Engagement Party: Is it customary to bring gifts?

  • hlpopper said:
    I've never been to an engagement party, I've never even heard of them until I got engaged when my family was pestering me about one so naturally, I do not know the faux pas of such a thing. I am having an engagement party, just a simple pot luck cook out with our families and close friends. I hadn't even thought or asked for gifts, but I have been recently receiving quite a few e-mails and phone calls asking if the guest to this party need to bring gifts. I hadn't even asked for anyone to bring anything to the cook out but instead ask that they tell me if they are bringing something and if they are, what. Now I have all these people asking if they should bring gifts and I want to give them a better answer than "I don't know. Do what you want I guess." I don't expect anything from the guests, but I want to know whether or not it is customary for people to bring or get asked to bring gifts?
    AHH! Ok, here's a few etiquette/gift pointers.

    1. Are you hosting your own engagement party? You really shouldn't be as it's a party that honors yourself. Typically parents or close family friends host engagement parties, but really it can be anyone who offers to play host.

    2. A pot-luck is never ok for a hosted social event. Saturday BBQ with your circle of friends? Fine. Engagement party? Not fine. You need to feed everyone. It can be a nonmeal-time cocktail party.

    3. Yes, people usually bring small gifts to engagement parties. I usually see wine, photo frames, gift cards, etc. I never show up to a hosted party without something in hand. The fact that people give gifts is part of the reason you aren't supposed to throw an engagement party yourself - you're throwing an event for which people bring you stuff.

    4. Anyone invited to an engagement party should be invited to the wedding, so be very careful of your guest list.
    image
    doeydo
  • I don't see how you could possibly tell people that they should bring a gift without sounding greedy.  

    Otherwise, just read PKDH's post and pretend I said it too.
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    doeydotabathafaye
  • I am having my engagement party this Sunday, hosted by my parents. My FMIL just informed me last Saturday that people bring gifts to these things. I was like, WHAT? I, too, have never been to an engagement party, so I didn't know that. We aren't registered anywhere and I have no idea what kinds of gifts people would give for an engagement. That seems kind of silly.


  • In my area guests always bring gifts to engagement parties.  I always buy something off the couple's registry.  In a rare case when the couple has not yet registered, I ask the host(s) where the couple is thinking of registering and buy a gift card.  The engagement parties I've attended have always been hosted by the parents of the bride or groom, usually the bride's (never the couple).  They've ranged from backyard bbq to lavish open bar/sit-down-dinner/DJ events.

  • In my life, not only do people bring gifts to an engagement party, but I include information on the bride and groom's registry with the invitation.  People who call the bride and ask "should I bring a gift?" are the tacky ones, IMO.  
    Although it is not my first choice for the bride and groom to host their own, it does happen, the same way some brides and grooms pay for their own weddings. 
    ei34
  • Our engagement party is next weekend and I too was unsure about whether or not people bring gifts to these things, so I went ahead and registered just in case. I never know what to get other people so I appreciate registries. So far only a few gifts were bought so I guess some people will come giftless or maybe bring money. I doesn't matter to me since we are not out to get gifts from people. My FMIL is throwing the party. So my advice is, register for gifts just in case. Definitely don't throw the party yourself since it's a party thrown in your honor and definitely feed people.
    onwednesdayswewearpinktabathafaye
  • I just had my engagement party in September.  All of my family members brought gifts or gave money.  We did no directly ask anyone to bring a gift but we did set up a small engagement registry and put it on our wedding website.  We did not include any information regarding the registry anywhere on the invitation.  We simply told guests about it if they asked if we had a registry for our party or happened to come across it on the website.  It is not required for guests to bring a guest to an engagement party.  Any gifts given are a nice gesture to the couple and may be used if a couple moves in together before their actual wedding date.  Most guests did bring a gift and out of 56 people around 10 did not bring a gift.  

    I personally would bring a gift to an engagement party as I truly feel it is proper etiquette but it is not traditionally required.   
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  • It's another one of those "lost in translation" things.

    "Engagement party" could mean different things, depending on your families' background and expectations.
    It could be a "real" party with friends, with music and dancing , or it could be the day the two families ( parents and siblings ) meet for the first time, or anything in between. 
    As with every party , whoever hosts the party, he provides the food.
    Of course, if you have family and friends like mine, no matter how much stuff you have prepared, no matter how many times you tell everybody that there is no need for anything, everybody brings more food and drinks .

    As for the gifts , if anybody, ever , no matter what the occasion , asks you if he/she should bring you a present,  the correct answer is always "NO!"

    By the way , I know that in some cases, where the engagement party is for the parents and siblings to meet, the parents exchange gifts between themselves , so it will be your engagement party, but there will be no gifts for you :)
  • I'm having an issue with this topic... My mother is hosting our engagement party... When talking to my FI's father about it in order to pick a date he asked me, "are we supposed to bring a gift to this?" I was kind of caught off guard for a few reasons...
    1. He hasn't offered to help my mother pay for ANYTHING regarding the wedding, not even what is traditional or expected from the groom's parents.
    2. We picked the date according to HIS schedule because he is a truck driver.
    3. I didn't know that it was customary to bring gifts until I read this thread...

    I didn't get mad or irritated until I got off the phone but I kind of stuttered and told him that it's not necessary or expected.

    His question rubbed me the wrong way. Am I overreacting?
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