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A Guide To Engagement Gifts: To Give Or Not To Give

You’ve been invited to a nice dinner by a girlfriend. Everyone is having a great time, and things get even more exciting when her father stands and surprises everyone with the news that his baby girl has gotten engaged! Congratulations to the happy couple!

Traditionally, this is how engagements were announced, as a surprise to a slew of family, friends and potential wedding party candidates. Modern couples appear to be taking a slightly different approach by announcing engagements first and celebrating later.

The entire wedding process is chock-full of opportunities to give the lovely couple a gift or two.

Bridal shower, check.

Wedding day, check check.

Engagement party? Hmm…

Back in the day engagement gifts typically weren’t given at the event because engagement partygoers were unaware of the fabulous news ahead of time. Gifts may be given post announcement by family and close friends of the couple and were usually mailed to the bride’s home or her parents’ home.

Being that lots of engagements are being announced first now, is it proper to bring a gift to an engagement party?

Some couples will be kind enough to indicate on their invitations whether they are expecting gifts at the soiree while others may not be as clear. One easy way to determine what’s expected is to ask since it’s likely to vary from couple to couple. You’d hate to be the only guy or gal who shows up empty handed, wouldn’t you? When expectations for an engagement gift aren’t clearly stated, it can be tricky to determine if you should give one or not.


A Guide To Engagement Gifts

Traditionally, engagement gifts were not expected and some wedding experts say it isn’t appropriate for the couple to expect a gift at an engagement party. Modern couples may be approaching this differently, so it will be important to find out:

1. Is the couple expecting it?

Has the couple made it clear whether they would like for guests to bring a gift to the occasion? If so, find out if the couple has registered anywhere. You may want to get the couple something small from their registry and save your bucks for a more expensive gift for the bridal shower or wedding day. If the couple isn’t registered, try getting them a small token, such as candles or a nice picture frame.

2. How well do you know the bride, groom or glowing couple?

Are you going to be a part of the wedding party? Customarily, when engagement gifts are given, they are usually from family members or those who have been chosen to be in the wedding party. If it’s your best friend, you may feel compelled to get your bestie something sweet.

3. Do you plan to attend other events on the wedding itinerary?

Are you going to be attending other events on the wedding schedule like the bridal shower? If so, you may choose to give a gift at a later time.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to give a gift at an engagement party is up to you. The most important things to keep in mind are your own comfort level and your comfort level with the couple. If you feel close to the couple and would like to give them something, by all means go for it! If you feel that you’d rather wait until it gets closer to the big day, that’s an option too.

An engagement is an exciting time for a couple and everyone close to them. Don’t make it complicated folks, just have fun with it!

About the Author

Geralyn Dexter

Geralyn holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida and a MS in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She is currently working on a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. She enjoys reading, yoga and art. Within the next three years, she hopes to complete her doctorate and transition from practicing therapy in a community setting to having her own private practice.