Culture & Entertainment

Engagement party etiquette

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Engagement party etiquette

Engagement Party Etiquette Guest post by Leah Morrison Last week, when I received an invitation to a friend’s engagement party, I drew a blank. What exactly is an engagement party? I’ve heard about them (in books), but had no idea they were still a common occurrence. Traditionally thrown by the bride’s parents, engagement parties are for friends and families to celebrate the proposal of loved ones. And now that I’m going to one, I have a million questions: Should I bring a gift? Is this a practice for the actual wedding? Do I even have to go? I spoke with Lina Manuel, party designer and owner of PartyStock, a Canadian online party supply store, to get tips on engagement party etiquette: Attendance “It’s a nice gesture to attend if you’re close with the bride and groom,” says Manuel. But if you can’t make it due to scheduling conflicts, send your sincerest apologies and well wishes. “Usually the guests invited to the engagement party are those who will be invited to the wedding.” The main exception is if the couple is having a destination wedding. In that case, engagement parties are thrown so those who can’t attend still have a chance to celebrate with the bride and groom. Gifts “If the invitation specially requests that no gifts be brought, then guests should honour that.” Gifts are not usually given at an engagement party. However, a close friend or member of the wedding party might bring something small, like a bottle of Champagne or flowers. Manuel suggests a gift card to the couple’s favourite store for something more non-traditional. Attire Wardrobe will depend on the location of the function. If it is hosted at a family home, then business casual dress is appropriate. If the party is at a restaurant or rented venue, you can dress a little fancier, but not as formal as wedding attire. “I see engagement parties as wedding dress rehearsals,” says Manuel. Toasts “It’s traditional for the parents of the bride to give a toast, then the groom, followed by his parents." The couple will often toast their guests and hosts at the end of the evening. You don’t have to give a toast if you’d prefer not to, but if you feel like honouring the couple with a few words, go for it. Budgeting Advice Weddings can become costly very quickly. To help manage your budget, Manuel advises against splurging on an outfit for the engagement party if you’re already investing in a new dress for the wedding. Also, if you decide you’d like to bring a gift, she suggests spending half as much as the cost of your wedding gift. “Focus on the basics. You’re there to celebrate your friends’ engagement. The bride and groom will appreciate your attendance more than any gift.” Quick Tips Most engagement parties are hosted, and that means an open bar. Be careful! “Don’t overindulge,” says Manuel. These functions have become a less formal, perhaps more quaint social gathering, so save your partying for the wedding reception. Remember, an engagement party is meant to honour the union of the bride and groom and the coming together of two families. “A lot of the time the families don’t meet until the engagement.” So it’s always best to make the night about them. Throwing a party for your best girlfriend who’s getting married? Canadian Living shows you how to plan the best bridal shower. Photo courtesy Flickr/CC William Warby 
Comments
Share X
Culture & Entertainment

Engagement party etiquette

Login