Engagement Party Gift Etiquette

Engagement party
  Peter Muller / Getty Images

After you receive an engagement announcement party invitation, you might have some questions. First of all, should you bring a gift? If so, will you also be expected to also get bridal shower and wedding gifts? What type of gift should you bring if you choose to get one?

The short answer is that it's up to you. It's always a good idea to get something, even if it's small, so you don't arrive empty-handed. However, it's not necessary.

What's Proper

There are two schools of thought on this: One side claims it's fun to buy gifts for any occasion, but on the other side of the argument is that the shower and wedding gifts are enough. Both of these arguments are correct. The current etiquette policy for engagement party gift giving is open to whatever you're comfortable with. Just remember that no one expects you to make a major purchase for this event.

Illustration of engagement party gift tips
Illustration: Grace Heejung Kim. © The Spruce, 2018

Honor the Couple's Wishes

Many newly engaged couples ask guests not to bring gifts. All they want is your presence, not presents. If they mention this specifically, don't bring a gift. Doing otherwise may embarrass the hosts and other guests. If you are determined to bring something to the party anyway, make it a host or hostess gift. A special food or beverage that the hosts can enjoy later is always proper.

If you don't purchase a gift to comply with their wishes, it's still a good idea to give them something special, even if it doesn't cost anything. You can write a sweet or funny poem about how they fell in love or a note about your friendship with the couple. You can also present a personalized coupon book with offers to house sit while they're on their honeymoon, a special dinner you'll cook and deliver when they return, or an offer to babysit if one or both of them have small children.

Appropriate Gifts

If the invitation doesn't specifically mention gifts, you have a choice. Remember that you'll also be purchasing a wedding gift and possibly a shower gift, so don't bust your budget on the engagement offering.

Chances are at this point in the engagement the couple hasn't had time to register for gifts. However, if they have, you might select one of the lower priced items. At least you'll know it's something they want.

Here are some things that are appropriate for engagement party gifts:

  • Decorative picture frames – with or without a photo of the couple
  • Photo albums – for engagement photos
  • Stemware – a pair of wine glasses with their names etched
  • Coffee or tea mugs -- with cute sayings that are appropriate for the couple
  • Coasters -- a set of coasters that either goes with their decor or shows their interests
  • Vase – for all the special occasion flowers that will follow
  • Book – love poems, romantic stories, wedding planner, or engagement guide

Host and Hostess Gift

You might have been asked not to bring an engagement gift, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't bring something. Since it's normally not a good idea to show up at any hosted event up empty-handed, make it something small that the host can use later.

Bring whatever you would to a dinner party. If you know the couple well, consider choosing something related to what they enjoy doing together. For example, if they are weekend cyclists, bring personalized matching water bottles. A couple that enjoys cooking together might enjoy a new set of culinary tools.

Here are some other ideas for host and hostess gifts:

  • Cheese and cracker basket
  • Box of favorite chocolates
  • Candles
  • Wine and a pair of wine glasses
  • Coffee or tea and a pair of mugs
  • Floral bouquet

Recommendations for the Engaged Couple

If you are the one throwing the engagement party, keep in mind how much your guests will be spending over the next several months since they're likely to be the first ones on your guess list. Not only will they purchase bridal shower gifts and wedding presents, they'll have the expense of something to wear and transportation to the event.

Never expect anything from your guests since the purpose of this event is to share the news with the people you care about most. Here are some ideas for how to word the engagement party invitations:

John Smith and Mary Brown want you to join them

In celebration of their engagement.

Put on your dancing shoes for a fun night at the Disco Ball Funhouse

On Saturday, June 11 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

No gifts please. All we request is your presence.

RSVP – 555-555-1010


When he got down on one knee, I realized my dream had come true.

He proposed, and of course I said yes!

Now I want you to join us for a backyard barbecue at my parents' house.

Come to celebrate the engagement of Maggie Jones and Jerry Abbott at

1100 Main Street, Tampa, Florida on Friday, February 14, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

We prefer your presence over presents.

Let us know if you'll be able to make it – 555-555-1012.

Thank You Note

If you're the one who just had the engagement party, don't forget to send thank you notes to everyone who brought a gift. Follow the same basic guidelines as you would for wedding and shower gifts.