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The Bride's Guide Blog

Etiquette: Engagement Party Gifts

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Some of the questions we field via our AskMartha e-mail box (askMartha@marthastewartweddings.com) aren't from brides or grooms -- they're from guests.

Today's question was about whether to bring a gift to an engagement party. The traditional answer is that engagement parties aren't gift-giving occasions (they're not a shower -- a gift opening ritual is not supposed to be part of it) -- so, no. But in many circles, gifts have become very standard.

Our reader's other question was, "What would be a good gift?"

Well, of course, a subscription to Martha Stewart Weddings would always be good -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge. As would a copy of Martha Stewart's Keepsake Wedding Planner (I worked on that one -- I know it's good!).

But I think an engagement gift should not be expensive -- under $30 (both of these qualify). Oh, okay, your mom can spend more. But aunts and friends? Theirs should be an "I'm happy to hear the news" gift. (So if you register before your engagement party -- which might be smart -- populate it with ideas in the low price range. You can add your china/crystal/flatware now, regardless of price, since they're classics, but hold off on appliances and other big-ticket items.)

But you ladies are in the thick of it -- how would you answer this reader? What would you tell other brides to expect?

Comments (2)

  • I recently went through the same dilemma, however I'm the bride in this case. I was raised in Los Angeles and my fiance on Long Island but we both live in NYC now. My FIL's were throwing an engagement brunch for us and after tons of research, I too also determined that engagement parties aren't gift giving occasions. However my fiance strongly objected and insisted that we register. We included "evergreen" items - china, crystal, giftware - as well as some electrics, cutlery and pots and pans. The price points ranged from $40 to $200. I was shocked that we recieved gifts from every single person in attendance - everything from a waffle iron to a $200 serving platter from our china set to a Tiffany's knife set. We also recieved several gift cards and cash. I'd say the average price of a gift was in the $75 range.

    When it was all said and done I think this comes down to where you live. If my parents had thrown the brunch in LA, no one would have brought gifts, but in NYC it would've been considered bad form to show up without one.

    We're attending an engagement party in a few weeks for some friends that are planning a destination wedding. They have not registered so we're planning on getting them either leather passport covers or luggage tags that are monogrammed with their initials.

    I think in these instances it's the thought that counts. And since I had already recieved a subscription to MS Weddings (from my sister) and a copy of the MS Wedding Planner (ny fiance used it in his proposal), I was all set there :)

  • Nice one.There are many ideas on engagement party gifts.If you are going to select a engagement gift then you should have full knowledge about the hobbies of the person whom you are going to present gift then that gift is the perfect gift for her or him.

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