Engagement Gift Etiquette

Updated February 21, 2017

When you find out that a friend or relative has recently become engaged, it's almost always happy news. However, the engagement announcement brings with it questions about gifts and proper etiquette. Know what is expected of you, so you don't offend anyone or go overboard with your enthusiasm.

The Couple

If you are part of the engaged couple, do not send out any gift requests or registry information with your engagement announcements or invitations to an engagement party. Don't expect any gifts from anyone, including your parents, as this is only an announcement of your upcoming wedding. Some people may offer a gift, but most people will be saving their money for your shower and wedding gifts.

Be thankful and appreciative for any and all gifts, even if they aren't exactly perfect for you. Hand-write personal thank-you notes to everyone who attended an event on behalf of you and your fiancé, as well as for each gift.

If for any reason the engagement is called off, return all engagement gifts and reimburse people who sent money, gift tokens or tickets that have already been spent.

Friends & Family

Although you are not required to give an engagement gift, it is a nice gesture to congratulate the couple on their upcoming marriage. Gifts don't have to be expensive to be meaningful. Family heirlooms make wonderful engagement gifts as a way of honouring the relationship and accepting the fiancé into your family.

If you haven't seen your friend for a few years, or the engagement includes a distant relative, do not feel obligated to send a gift, particularly if your finances are strapped. Send a thoughtful card congratulating the couple and wishing them the best in their upcoming nuptials.

Gift Ideas & Guidelines

Before splurging on an engagement gift, take the entire wedding process into consideration. If you are a part of the wedding party, have to travel and spend money just to attend the wedding, or have other wedding-related expenses, be realistic about your wedding budget. Designate a particular amount of money for all wedding gifts, and split this budget accordingly. suggests spending 20 per cent of your gift budget on the engagement gift, 20 per cent on the shower gift and 60 per cent on the wedding gift.

Engagement gifts should be something for the couple, such as a cooking class for two. Consider movie tickets, event tickets to sports or concerts or gift tokens to one of their favourite restaurants. Couple's massages or a relaxing day at the spa for both of them may come in handy during the hectic wedding planning process. A bottle of wine, or membership to a wine-of-the-month club would be appropriate, if they both enjoy wine. Perhaps a subscription to a bridal magazine or a wedding planning journal or scrapbook would work.

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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.