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Bridal Club Magazine

Engagement Party Etiquette – The Do’s And Don’ts, Part One

Is there really a proper time for an engagement party and what is supposed to happen at one? These are two of the many questions asked by brides when they first get engaged.

The truth is .. There is no proper time. Most etiquette books suggest 4-8 months prior to your wedding date. Some couples chose to have a 'surprise' engagement party where they announce the pending nuptials to friends and family. In this case, you will need to act more fairly promptly to avoid it filtering through the grapevine to parents.

There are only two essentials to the proper timing of an engagement party:

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You need to get engaged


Both the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be must be present at the event. (Though this one may sound obvious, it's quite common for couples to get engaged just prior to one of them leaving for a while.)

It has been customary for the bride's parents to lost the engagement party, however this is not a given.

Do We Need To Give Out Invitations?


Don't invite anyone who you will not be inviting to your wedding.
The engagement party is as the name suggests, a party, not a formal or traditional occasion. Therefore keep it small and intimate and celebrate this happy time with only your closest relatives and friends. By doing this you will not only have a great time but won't risk having to apologise to anyone for not inviting them to your wedding because you don't have room for them in the church or reception venue.
You don't have to have set a date for the wedding at this stage.

Do you issue formal invitations or just call up friends and invite them?


Depending on the formality - If you are having dinner at a hotel or private house, then a printed invitation would be appropriate. Especially so if an RSVP is required in order to be catered for.
If you are having an informal gathering such as at home or in a bar, a hand-written invitation, phone call or even email is quite acceptable.

Are Guests Supposed To Bring Gifts?


It is certainly proper to bring a gift to any special occasion, including engagement parties. However, it is not required and rarely expected. An engagement party is often given six months to one year before the wedding. Gifts can be as simple as a lovely bouquet of flowers to be enjoyed during the evening or as practical as the ever needed toaster oven. However, for the most part, gifts are neither expected nor given at engagement parties.

Keep Engagement Gifts Separate From The Party


That isn't to say that engagement gifts are never given; they are simply not given at the engagement party and not by all people. Only family and the very closest of friends generally give engagement gifts to the bride only. When given, these gifts are usually mailed to the bride's house or bride's parent's house.



First and foremost -- only a few people would even give an engagement gift in the first place. An engagement party will have any number of people who are not expected to give gifts but could feel uneasy should others give gifts and they do not. Secondly, since many engagement parties are "surprise" parties for friends and family, you can't expect people who don't realise the occasion to come armed with a gift for it!

Best of luck with your engagement party. Don't forget to check this space next month for Part 2 of our engagement special - party themes and ideas.

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