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03.28.2002: Etiquette Schmetiquette
common-sense manners
for real-world living
1 2 3

Engagement parties...
My boyfriend and I have been invited to attend an engagement party for one of his co-workers. My question is, are we required to bring a gift? If so, what kind of a gift would be good? I don’t know these people well enough to know what they’d like or need.

Thanks, Kimberley

A: First of all, let me state that I’m of the opinion that gifts should never, ever be required – to view the act of gift-giving as mandatory takes just a little something away from the generosity aspect of the gesture, doesn’t it? 
But at an engagement party especially, gifts are generally not expected, since the couple typically has both the bridal shower and the wedding itself to allow for ample opportunity for a deluge of gifts. Toss in the factor that you’re apparently not close friends with the bride-and-groom-to-be, and I’m sure no one would bat an eyelash if you arrived with nothing more to offer than a sincere congratulations and good wishes. If, however, you just don’t feel right arriving empty-handed, a small token gift – a nice bottle of champagne or wine, for instance – is appropriate for just about any occasion, and would no doubt be much appreciated.

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