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Engagement Party Etiquette

A Guide to Engagement Party Etiquette

The engagement party is the first of several events leading up to a wedding, so it is particularly important that engagement party etiquette be followed so that no one is offended or hurt right at the beginning of what is sometimes a long journey to the wedding itself.

The first thing you should know is that it is not a part of traditional etiquette to have an engagement party at all and it is not traditional that engagement gifts be given. An engagement party is simply an event where good news of an engagement can be shared with friends and family. It is engagement party etiquette that the gathering be hosted by the family of the bride.

It is also traditional for the father of the bride to give the first toast to the couple. The engaged couple does not drink during this toast to their future happiness and long-lasting marriage. The groom is expected to speak next and to offer a toast to his bride-to-be and her family. After these two toasts have been completed, anyone else there who so desires can lead a toast to the future of the couple.

If the bride’s family doesn’t take it upon themselves to host a party, it is still within proper engagement party etiquette for another family member or friend to host the party, or even for the newly engaged couple to hold it themselves. The event does not need to conform to any pre-established guidelines. Sometimes the affair is a dinner or cocktail party but it really can take any form the couple desires, however formal or informal.

That means that the budget can be any amount that is appropriate for the couple or their families. There is no need to overdo it as there will be plenty more pre-wedding events not to mention the wedding itself. It depends how long the engagement is going to be as to when an engagement party can be held. Engagement party etiquette holds that it be at least six months before the wedding but if the engagement is going to be particularly long, such as a year or more, the engagement party is usually held approximately three months after the engagement.

The engagement party is an appropriate place for the bride to show off her engagement ring. It is traditional but not an absolute that the bride gives a gift to the groom at the engagement party. The most traditional gift is a watch that is personally engraved with the names and dates. While not expected, gifts are often brought by guests but these are not opened at the party.

Unfortunately, many times not all of the people who are friends and family of the bride or groom are happy about the engagement. The best you can do is try to maintain peace. You may invite someone who disapproves but tell them you understand if they don’t want to attend. It can be particularly stressful if families are at odds, but all you can do is your best to make sure that this first pre-wedding event gets everything off to the best possible start.




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