Engagement Expertise: The appropriate gift giving guidelines

by epi on December 6, 2011

Q: What is an appropriate gift for an engagement party? Is one expected?

A: An engagement present is not a requirement. Particularly if you are going to a large party, gifts are not expected, although lately, many people believe a gift is expected so more gifts are being taken, even though they aren’t required. If you are invited to a small dinner party or other intimate gathering in honor of an engagement, then those invited are presumed to be very close and would likely take a gift.

In this case, good presents include a memory – a childhood photo in a great frame, a small scrapbook of things you have done together, etc. if that relationship exists. Other good presents are “things” for the couple to do together prior to their marriage:  a little escape from the stresses of wedding planning. This could be a gift certificate for the movies, with one thrown in for popcorn, or a book of coupons for Blockbuster and a basket of microwave popcorn, or collection of treats and a bottle of wine, or passes to a museum or gallery, or a gift certificate for tea at a tea shop. A bride would enjoy a gift that gives her a little pampering, such as a certificate for a manicure or a facial, or a collection of her favorite fragrance in bath powder and lotion, for example, are fun. The groom-to-be might enjoy the same kind of gift. If you prefer, you can give a small household item – placemats, a welcome mat, a door knocker, guest towels, a salt and pepper grinder. . . the list of things people need is endless.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg December 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

The engagement presents are not a requirement part cannot be emphasized enough. I recently got an invitation to an engagement party that included information on their four registries. I wasn’t at all disappointed to not go.


Rachel M February 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

@Winifred Rosenburg, that is terrible! Even if they were inviting you to an event where it IS expected to bring a present, they should have NEVER ever put ANY registry information whatsoever on their invitation. That is very tacky. I don’t blame you for not attending.


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