Engagement parties

No matter how long a couple have been together, the engagement should still be viewed as a special event.

Engagement Parties

An engagement party should be held within a month or two of becoming engaged to ensure that it feels relevant to the announcement, but should not be too close to the wedding. The invitations make it clear that the party is being held to mark the engagement. All guests invited to an engagement party should be invited to the wedding; presents should not be expected.

Engagement parties vary according to the wishes and circumstances of the couple and their families. Traditionally, the bride’s parents hosted a gathering of family and friends – for example a small dinner party or larger drinks party – and this is still a popular convention. If both sets of parents are well known to each other then they may organise a joint celebration.

The couple may also host a party for their friends. This may be at their home, in a hired venue, or informal drinks in a local pub.

Introductions made at the engagement party will be invaluable on the wedding day, not only for guests to see familiar faces, but also to relieve the hosts of making introductions.

Engagement Cards and Letters

It is customary for friends and family of a newly engaged couple to send a letter or card. Traditionally this was sent to either the bride or bridegroom, never jointly to the couple. The man was offered congratulations, but the woman was not, as it implied she had ‘caught’ her man. Instead, letters or cards to the bride-to-be focused on the happy news rather than congratulations. This rule is seldom adhered to now, as so many couples live together before marriage and well-wishers simply send a card to them both at their shared address. Friends may wish to send an email or text message, or comment on social media posts, but this is still an occasion where it is appropriate also to put pen to paper.

Engagement Presents

Family and close friends may choose to give the bride and bridegroom a present. Friends may send flowers or give a small token but family (parents or grandparents) are often more generous. Heirlooms such as jewellery, furniture or paintings are traditional; a financial contribution towards the cost of the wedding or the honeymoon is a more modern trend. Handwritten thank-you letters for any engagement presents received should be sent as promptly as possible.

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