Engagement party gift etiquette help!

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1644 posts
Bumble bee

It is always a pity that guests do not haunt etiquette message boards as frequently as do brides: it would solve so many problems for thoughtful ladies like you. Well, and a pity also that etiquette message boards do not always get things correct, especially about gift etiquette.

The proper etiquette for engagement gifts, is NOT to give them. A couple’s engagement is a delicate time: they are trying on the idea of permanent commitment in public, and discovering whether that idea fits. Early in the engagement is when pressure or conflicts are most likely to disturb their happy romance, whereupon the presence of gifts would create a truly awkward situation. Only the most intimate of connections should presume to pressure the couple to accept an engagement gift.

For that matter, no-one should ever assume that a gift would be welcome. Gifts should only ever be offered, never imposed (and certainly never expected.)

Ah well, I did say we etiquette sticklers were prone to wishful thinking. Obviously your guests are innocent of any acquaintanceship with standard etiquette or real tradition. But you knew that already, since standard etiquette forbids the practice of angry calls and emails avering rudeness and self-righteousness. Your best course of action is selective polite deafness. That strategy goes as follows: since you (as a nice person) must assume your guests are polite, but since you (as an intelligent person) cannot figure out any polite interpretation for what you think they said, then you must have mis-heard or mis-read them. So, assuming that they said something different (and polite) answer “It is good to know of your kind feelings toward us. We do appreciate your kindness,” and let them decide for themselves whether that counts as an apology, an invitation to give a gift anyway, or a subtle reminder to behave themselves.

Post # 4
1981 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@izzer2036:  Maybe I read this wrong, but are you inviting people to the engagement party and then not inviting them to the wedding?   That is an ettiquette no-no and really rude!  Your friends and family may be offended when they don’t get an invitation in the mail.  Is there a reason why you can’t invite all of them to the wedding?

If someone wants to give you a gift that badly, I would just accept it with grace.  Refusing gifts will only lead to hurt feelings and if you fight back too much it would look self-righteous.

Post # 4
762 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

The no gifts thing it very considerate of you!! That being said, inviting guests to your engagement party that will not be invited to the wedding is very rude. It’s like saying I can’t afford, nor do i want you at my wedding BUT since our parents are paying for our engagement party you can come to that because it’s less important. I think i would be very angry to be invited to an engagement party and not the wedding. I would however bring a small gift for the bride and groom even if gifts were not requested because that’s how I am. Maybe a set of toating flutes or a cake cutting set. Or even just a little cash in an envelope.

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