Engagement parties are a growing trend among the newly -betrothed, but can pose a dilemma for their friends when it comes to giving gifts. With more couples living together before they get married, there's less need for the typical bridal registry. Some friends and family may prefer to give cash, and some couples may prefer to receive it. Deciding on how much cash is appropriate or acceptable for an engagement party gift depends on a number of factors. But you may choose not to give an engagement gift at all.
Is A Gift Even Necessary?
Traditionally, engagement parties were not occasions for gifts. Times are changing; however, and in some areas giving a gift at an engagement party has become standard practice. If you're not sure, check with other invited guests or a local wedding planner to see what the custom is. If the bride- or groom-to-be are family or close friends, a small gift may be appropriate.
The First of Many
An engagement party is just the beginning of the wedding-related celebrations. You may be invited to a bridal shower, bachelor or bachelorette party, and, of course, the wedding itself. When you're deciding on how much to give for an engagement party gift, set a spending amount for the entire knot-tying process. Divide that amount among the various gift-giving opportunities; allocate the majority to the wedding gift.
Consider Other Expenses
The exact amount to give for an engagement gift, or any part of the wedding process, depends on a number of factors. Keep your own financial situation in mind first and foremost; your friends and family won't want you to go bankrupt buying their engagement and wedding presents. Also consider your relationship with the happy couple; you'll likely spend more on close friends and family members than you will on co-workers or acquaintances. Finally, think about your other expenses related to the wedding; if you'll have to fly in or stay overnight, it's generally accepted that you'll have a little less to spend on gift-giving.
The Gift Amount
An engagement party is not a fund-raising event for the upcoming wedding. Engagement gifts do not need to be pricey or ornate; a nice bottle of wine or champagne, perhaps with two glasses or flutes for toasting is a common gift choice, and can be a guide for giving cash. Aim for the engagement party gift to be around one-quarter to one-third the cost of the wedding gift.