Starting the Celebration: Engagement Parties
Wedding season is no longer restricted to the balmy, breezy days of early summer. These days, couples are planning their weddings all year round. What does this mean for you as a guest? For one, budgeting for weddings isn’t as easy as it used to be. Secondly, the expectations and etiquette of these joyous occasions have changed as well.
Don’t worry – we’re here to explain the ins and outs and do’s and don’ts of all wedding-related events, including the big day. For part one of our Wedding Gift-Giving Etiquette series, let’s discuss engagement parties.
And So It Begins
Your phone rings (or dings) and your friend or family member has big news – “We’re engaged!” If there were ever a reason to celebrate, this is it. Engagement parties typically occur within the first few months after the proposal. Traditionally, the party served to introduce the two families coming together through the marriage and was hosted by the bride’s parents. However, anyone can take it upon himself or herself to host a celebration these days, especially close friends or siblings. Some couples even throw their own engagement parties but usually only because circumstance, such as a tight timeline or distance, makes this necessary.
If you decide to throw an engagement party, you’ll need to get the bride and groom involved sooner rather than later. And, to keep costs and expectations reasonable, set a budget before you set a guest list. Lastly, it’s important to note that it’s bad form to invite anyone to the engagement party who won’t make the final guest list for the wedding (unless it’s a destination wedding, but we’ll get to that occasion later in this series – stay tuned!).
Be Their Guest
As an engagement party attendee, you’re not expected to bring a gift, especially if the party is a surprise. Some guests do choose to bring a small present, such as champagne flutes, a book about wedding planning, a bottle of wine or simply a card. Since engagement parties don’t typically have a gift-giving portion, like at a bridal shower, there’s really no pressure to bring anything other than your selves.
When it comes time to shower the bride (or the couple) in gifts, do you know what the rules are about gift giving? Our next installment will cover everything from registries to properly approaching invitations to multiple showers.