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Engagement Party Etiquette

Proper engagement party etiquette revolves around attire, gift-giving, the guest list, addressing invitation envelopes, the date of the event and the venue. It is impossible to please everyone, but these engagement party etiquette tips will help to shed some light on appropriate guidelines to follow.

  • Attire: Suitable attire for the engagement party will depend on the time of day and location of the party. If the party is held at night, in a formal function hall, a dress is appropriate. For women, a simple black dress paired with high heels and colorful accessories, such as a shawl, will bring “the look” to life. If the party is held during the day, a skirt or dress pants are appropriate choices. For men, a suit is appropriate if the party is formal and in the evening. A sports jacket and khakis work well during the day. If the party is held in a more relaxed setting, such as a house or bar, casual attire is appropriate, such as capris, or clean-cut jeans and a button-down shirt. Ask others what they will wear to the party to ensure you are dressed properly.
  • Gifts: Appropriate engagement party gift etiquette is not to expect guests to bring gifts. On the engagement invitation, write, “No gifts please,” if the bride and groom feel strongly about not receiving gifts. If gifts are given, they should not be opened during the party. It is customary for the bride and groom to send thank you notes if they are in receipt of presents.
  • Guests: It is proper engagement party etiquette to only invite those that will receive an invitation to the wedding. The wedding party and their significant others, along with close friends and family should make up the guest list.
  • Invitations: When inviting the significant other of a close friend or relative, address the invitation envelope, “Ms. Addyson Smith and Guest.” Replace “guest” with the significant other’s name if the couple is engaged or married.
  • Date: Hold the engagement party one to three months after the engagement is announced. Use your discretion based on the length of engagement and date of the wedding. Plan the engagement party closer to the three month mark If the wedding date is over a year after the engagement. Schedule the engagement party within one to two months If the wedding is planned within 10 months or less of the engagement.
  • Venue: Choose the venue based on the preferences of the guests of honor (bride and groom). Take the guest list into consideration. If the bride’s 85-year-old grandparents are attending the party, a nightclub may not be the best venue. If there are guests under the age of 21, the party should not be held at a bar.
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