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.