Engagement party gift etiquette

Hi,

Is it usual for guests to buy gifts for an engagement party? Or is this typically reserved for the wedding? It’s normal in Australia to buy gifts for both, but I’m not sure about the UK (our engagement party is in the UK as this is where my fiancé and his family is from). Just wondering whether to put anything about gifts on the invite, or if this is too presumptuous? 

Thanks in advance!

Posts

  • Hi,

    First off I've never actually been to an engagement party as (I could be very wrong on this) I don't think they're all that common in the UK unless you're planning a long engagement.

    That said, I probably wouldn't bother with a gift unless it were a close friend or family member and even then, it would be a small token gift like a wedding planner (book not person  ;)) or a photo frame or something. Otherwise, I'd probably just give a card and my well wishes and save an actual gift for the wedding.

    In short, I wouldn't bother putting anything on the invites. If people show up with a gift, that's great and if not, don't be disappointed - they'll probably just be waiting for the wedding itself. 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 607 New bride
    I don't think formal engagement parties are really a thing in UK, so I suppose it's up to your guests whether they get you anything. Generally people only buy congratulatory cards, if even that, so I would leave it off the invitations.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone in UK had a formal engagement party, as I've never been to one and it never occurred to me to have one. We had a barbecue to introduce the parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen, but that's it.
  • Thanks for your advice. It definitely sounds like formal engagement parties are more common over here. We really don’t want or need gifts, just wanted to make sure people wouldn’t be expecting gift instructions on the invite. 
  • cs2thecoxcs2thecox Posts: 257 New bride
    I've been to a couple of sets of engagement drinks, but generally they've been in a pub or bar or somewhere. My sister had an engagement/housewarming party years ago too.
    Cards are normal, a bottle of fizz will never go amiss, but not much more than that. I was sent a small wedding notebook on my engagement, some champagne and some chocolates, and that was more than I expected!
    I don't think any gift instructions are needed for an engagement party.
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,458 New bride
    I've never been to an engagement party. I think we received 1 card when we got engaged!
    I would think it would be a massive faux pas to put a gift list or even mention gifts on a engagement party invite though - you get a gift when you actually get married. People might give you a bottle of bubbly and a card, that's what I'd probably take.
  • @Jessica Rabbit had a really nice one. You can read about it on her planning thread. I've seen a few others on planning threads on here as well (I often read through the older threads for different ideas).

    Engagement parties -not to stereotype, so forgive me - seem to be most common with younger couples, first marriages, longer engagements, and couples with large(r) social circles. 

    If I were invited to one, I'd bring a small gift (card, bottle of wine, small box of macaroons, etc) just because I personally don't ever like to arrive empty-handed to any hosted event. I think anytime someone has gone through the time and expense to entertain, regardless of the reason, that it's good manners to bring a little something.
  • Thanks for the tag @KittyFiennes :-)  I wouldn't say that our engagement party was "formal" as it was in a local pub, but it was definitely a party and I loved it!  We didn't mention anything about gifts beforehand and I genuinely wasn't expecting gifts but we were flooded with them, prosecco, wine, champagne, money, photo frames, glassware, all sorts and each gift was greatly appreciated.

    Although I didn't expect gifts, I completely agree with @KittyFiennes, if someone is going to the time and expense to entertain, I would always turn up with a token gift, even if it was something hosted at home.

    My advise would be to leave it off the invites, but have a table ready for the gifts and cards to go on.
  • Thank you so much for all your comments - it’s really helped to get the UK perspective! I’m going to leave it off the invites but I’ll make sure there’s a space at the venue just in case anyone feels they want to bring some bubbles or something :)
  • My Fiancé and I are having a fairly formal engagement party as we won’t be having our wedding for a couple of years, we’re hiring a private bar in Cheltenham with fizz & food. We’ve not put anything on our invites as we have received bubbly etc when we became engaged so we aren’t expecting anything from our guests :) 

    I don’t think it’s nessessary :)

    Enjoy your party! 🎉 

  • longhaullonghaul Posts: 22 New bride
    engagement party are definitely a thing here, they're actually British to begin with and I've been to loads

    that said never mention gifts, if gifts are mentioned it means they are non optional... some people bring a gift, usually wine/prosecco/champagne (same as you would at a dinner party) a few may give 'wedding' related gifts or cards but many wont bring gifts, its pretty standard at parties to buy the 'honoree' a drink though so people who don't bring gifts may offer to buy you a drink at the bar but honestly I was just happy people took the time too come
  • longhaullonghaul Posts: 22 New bride
    OmRum said:
    I don't think formal engagement parties are really a thing in UK, so I suppose it's up to your guests whether they get you anything. Generally people only buy congratulatory cards, if even that, so I would leave it off the invitations.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone in UK had a formal engagement party, as I've never been to one and it never occurred to me to have one. We had a barbecue to introduce the parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen, but that's it.
    the BBQ your describing is a engagement party... ours was in a bar, the main purpose is to introduce family and wedding party although now its common to invite friends too
  • CoffeeDogAddictCoffeeDogAddict Posts: 842 New bride
    @longhaul i disagree - a party to introduce families and the wedding party isn't an engagement party at all, its purely an opportunity to introduce them.  

    Find it really interesting that you say engagement parties are really common in the UK as i have never been to one, despite many of my friends being engaged and now married. I think they're gaining in popularity, but id hardly say they're commonplace. 
  • longhaullonghaul Posts: 22 New bride
    edited 13 May
    @longhaul i disagree - a party to introduce families and the wedding party isn't an engagement party at all, its purely an opportunity to introduce them.  

    Find it really interesting that you say engagement parties are really common in the UK as i have never been to one, despite many of my friends being engaged and now married. I think they're gaining in popularity, but id hardly say they're commonplace. 
    you might not see them as common place because you don't believe they are what they are

    you can disagree but it doesn't change the fact that that is the purpose of them and if you don't view a party after an engagement that's specifically about the engagement/wedding as an 'engagement party' then you'll keep seeing them but thinking they don't exist


  • CoffeeDogAddictCoffeeDogAddict Posts: 842 New bride
    IMHO an engagement party is to celebrate the engagement, and if i were to have had an engagement party it wouldnt have included any of my family, because i think the families meeting should be done in a way that takes their comforts into account so it could be an environment theyre happy with, so does that mean id have had two parties? Madness. 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 607 New bride

    Mine defo wasn't an engagement party as we had already been engaged for ages - it was more of a spur of the moment thing as it was sunny and both sets of parents were available, so the chances are we would have done it anyway even if we weren't engaged.

    I did deliberately use the phrase "formal engagement party" as the Original Poster was talking about a formal event where invitations had been sent out with the possibility of a gift list discussed, as opposed to more casual social gatherings which might occur to celebrate an engagement. I expect a lot of people have casual or impromptu get-togethers to celebrate, but I was more interested in the formal parties. Personally, I have not been to any formal engagement parties, and only to two casual gatherings, one being my own, so in my experience they aren't very common.

    Saying that, I had also never heard of people buying confetti for their guests at a wedding as every wedding I've been to people have taken their own, but apparently people who post here have experienced the opposite, so I wonder sometimes if there are little social bubbles dotted around the country where people do totally different things to what each other considers the norm!


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