Your Guide to Creative Engagement Party Gift Ideas
According to an excerpt from author Peggy Post's Emily Post's: Weddings, 3rd ed. (New York, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1999), proper etiquette for engagement gift giving is as follows:
"Traditionally, engagement presents are given only by close relatives and intimate friends upon the announcement of your engagement and are almost always intended especially for the bride. When the engagement party is a small dinner, cocktail party, or luncheon and a guest wants to give a gift, he or she takes it to the party. If everyone brings a gift, the bride-to-be may open them as part of the festivities. When the party is a large reception or cocktail party, gifts are not generally taken; if they are, they should not be opened during the party, to avoid embarrassing those guests who (correctly) did not bring any. The bride-to-be may decide to give her fiance a small engagement present, such as a pair of cuff links, a watch, or a key chain. These items may be engraved with the date of the engagement."
Now that you know how and when to give an engagement gift, you need to decide on what to give.
When we got engaged, we really didn't expect a gift from anyone. The intention of having our engagement dinner was not to receive gifts, but merely to celebrate the announcement of our commitment. I'm willing to bet that most brides and grooms feel this way...so, if you cannot decide what to get, or are concerned about the cost of an additional gift (in addition to the future wedding, that is), don't feel pressured to buy something. I can assure you that the future bride and groom won't notice the absence of your present...it's just not expected.
$0-$25 Engagement Party Gift Ideas
Book(s) on wedding planning
Engagement Christmas ornament
Gift basket with champagne/wine and truffles
Stationary or note cards with their married last name or initial--you can even make these on your own computer!
A letter telling the couple how happy you are for them, why you believe they'll last forever, welcoming one of them to the family...whatever (depending on your relationship to them). They'll cherish something like this, and have it to put in their wedding scrapbook.
A personalized photo calendar with a picture of the couple for each month of the year (you can make these using most major online photo companies)
A wedding scrapbook
Framed photo that you took of the couple (they could use it on their sign in table at the wedding)
$25-$50 Engagement Party Gift Ideas
Items for their home--brass door knocker with their married last name on it, personalized towels with initials, personalized door mat with last name initial
Items they'll need for their wedding--engraved cake serving set, champagne flutes, unity candle, cake topper