Wedding Wednesday: Let’s Talk Engagement Gifts

In case you’re new to this site, let me give you the summarized version of my engagement party: I threw Lance a surprise birthday party, and it was actually all his idea; in reality, I threw my own surprise engagement party at a very bewildering and spectacular celebration that — in reference to an inside joke, of sorts — was full of hilarious socks. It makes more sense when you read the whole story.

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Because of the hilarious sock theme, there were sock and sock-themed gifts at the celebration. They were perfect. (They are perfect, I should say. I was pretty much out of socks at the time of this party, so these make up most my sock wardrobe now.) But reading wedding-related content online brought up a few points about run-of-the-mill, normal-person-themed engagement parties, and the gifts that may or may not go with them. My friends are currently getting engaged faster than I can write ‘Congratulations to you both,’ on Facebook, so I think it’s time to discuss engagement parties and the presents that go with them.

So… Are engagement gifts required? No. Hell no. Absolutely not. Gifts create this weird etiquette balance — and the ideal place to be, in my opinion, is the person who would never arrive without a gift but yet never expects one in return. That’s politeness perfection, don’t you think? Confusing and hypocritical, but in a good way.

Alas, I have degrees and awards and certificates, but none certify me as a manners pro. I should work on that. Till then, let’s turn to the experts. What’s the deal with engagement gifts, experts?

In the past, engagement gifts were not obligatory or expected, but it has become the custom in many parts of the country to bring a gift to an engagement party. Close friends and family usually do give the couple an engagement gift, either when the engagement is announced or at the engagement party. An engagement gift is really a good-hearted gesture of affection, and it need not be expensive or elaborate.  Something simple such as a cookbook, picture frame, or a good bottle of wine – intended to help the couple establish a collection – makes a great engagement gift. —

If some guests arrive [to an engagement party] bearing gifts, just be sure the couple unwraps them after the party or away from the crowd so people who came empty-handed won’t feel uncomfortable. —

Even though gifts are not customary at an engagement party, some guests will inevitably arrive bearing them. This is a natural impulse: It is part of the celebratory nature of weddings and parties. —

In closing: engagement gifts are a nice thing to give but you don’t have to give them. And regardless of what I have seen online, I think registering for an engagement party is bananas. Don’t do that. Did you register for Christmas? (Please say no…) You’ll have your big celebrations later; keep this lighthearted and fun.

So… How does one find a good engagement gift? Assuming you’re not invited to a themed affair, such as my surprise sock celebration, I repeat the aforementioned thought: lighthearted and fun. Actually, socks are a great lighthearted gift, but I digress. I rounded up a few ideal engagement gifts for the bride-to-be in your life. Or, ya know, gifts for yourself from yourself. You’re a modern working career gal, you can buy whatever the hell you want. And I want nail polish with a cheeky bridal name like Mimosas for Mr. & Mrs., so there.

She said yes!

Earrings | Engraved Wine Stopper | ‘I Do’ ‘Me Too’ Forks | Nail Polish | Tuxedo Clutch | Ring Dish | Mr. & Mrs. & More Mrs. Luggage Tags | ‘I Do’ Necklace | Wedding Planner | Bridal Beauty Kit | Cooking For Two Cookbook

Now simply isn’t the time to give a blender. No one needs an engagement blender. Now is the time for cheeky wedding-themed accessories and the like. Or Champagne. (Or socks.)

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