Engagement Gifts

Real talk: most of my friends are married. I, as you may know, am not.

Given the fact that most of my friends are married, you’d think I’d be a pro at all the wedding-associated gift giving. But I am so not. I have no idea what people want. And there are a lot of gifts to get: engagement, bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding. In all honesty, I usually choose the most absurd thing on the couple’s registry and buy it for them. I have no idea why I do this, especially since I know most of the gifts I’ve purchased are sitting in the back of a cabinet somewhere collecting dust. I mean, who really needs a trifle bowl?

So I’m turning to you, dear readers, for advice today. Specifically, I’d like to know about engagement gifts. What’s appropriate? What do people want? How much should I be spending?

Recently, a friend from Michigan whom I’ve known for a good 10 years and happens to live nearby in Falls Church, got engaged to her boyfriend. She and I have never been super close, but since neither of us knew anyone when we moved here, we’ve definitely reconnected over the last year or so and hung out a few times. She’s a great girl, and I’m so happy she’s found her guy. I’ve met him once, but I know her much better. Still, I’m stumped on an engagement gift. I scoured Pinterest and thought most of what I saw was kind of stupid (is that a horrible thing to say?). But I do have several ideas, and I’d love it if you’d be my virtual sounding board today. Feedback, please!

1. Wine with a picture of the couple as the label

wine giftOK–so I am definitely doing this, minus the date since they haven’t set one yet. But there’s a super cute pic of them that I stole from Facebook, and Manfriend is going to make it look vintage-y like this one since he knows how to do such things. Good gift? Yes?

2.  Self-inking Return Address Stamp

il_570xN.431139282_f8ytMy thinking here is that this is both cute and useful. After all, there are save the dates and invitations to send, plus the RSVP’s, and maybe this could work for those, too? How do we feel about this?

3. Love Letter Pillow

1de73f46d9aa4c0733d999d9479cd02aI think this is so cute and secretly want it for myself. Is it horrible that my main hesitation with this gift is that their initials are S & M?

4. Bride Magazines 

0c9f19f9cf13cc4713c2534795ff280cThis is obviously a gift for the bride only, but since I don’t really know him, I’m guessing this might be OK. I have no idea. Do brides to be want wedding magazines?

That’s all I’ve got. What do we think? Good? Bad? Please help. I’m completely lost.

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20 thoughts on “Engagement Gifts

  1. Ak says:

    Ok… I’m in my mid 30s. Most of my friends have been married for a while. My best friend just got engaged for her second marriage. She is not having bridesmaids, but I was requested to throw a luncheon. She is also having an engagement party. My questions when did engagement parties become popular (the one I hosted resulted in the couple not getting married)? Are gifts expected (I thought they were strictly no gifts)? What do you do for a second marriage?

  2. Jill says:

    Depending on the place that they are in their life I like to give Home Depot gift cars or an theatre subscription so that they continue to have date nights.

  3. hhrunner says:

    LOVE the wine bottle! And I second the Home Depot gift card thing, maybe that plus some magazines? Also think the stamp idea is super cute and useful 🙂

  4. Engagement gifts? WTF. I didn’t get any of those. Nor would I ever think to get someone a gift cuz they got engaged. Not only will they be having a bridal shower, which gifts are for, but people bring gifts to the wedding. Also, I’m against bridal showers. I didn’t have one of those because I feel they are like asking for gifts twice. #scrooge
    If you MUST get something, I – I mean she – would probably love that bottle of wine. Assuming she likes wine, cuz she might drink it. I’d prob use it for decoration.

    • I feel the same way. I hate bridal showers. #grinch

      OK, so maybe just the wine is a good gift? I know I’ll be going to all the other events, too.

      ________________________________

    • lol paula, i love that i knew this is your comment before i even scrolled back to see your name. i agree, it’s never occurred to me to get someone a gift for getting engaged, isn’t that a little like buying a drink for someone who’s just won the lottery-? shouldn’t people send all their single friends consolation prizes when they get engaged instead?
      but, not criticizing your inclination to be nice…i love the self-inking stamp, i would just wonder if she already has some kind of bridezilla must-be-parchment-not-off-white kind of requirements for the invitations etc..but i love that you don’t run out and have to keep reordering labels. i also really like the gift card idea, but the wine is a no-brainer. it’s adorbz, and nobody can argue with wine, or their own face.

  5. I love the wine bottle and stamp — and I know how you feel about pillows 🙂 (SO love that they are S&M- ha ha ha).

    I’m on the “when did engagement parties become a thing” train. I had a couples shower – I guess that’s the same thing???

    • I want to know when bachelor/bachelorette parties became vacations where you have to get on a plane and pay for a hotel and also for the person getting married? I’d feel crazy guilty asking my friends to shell out that kind of cash for me.

      ________________________________

  6. Alison says:

    When Marc and I got married we had an engagement party but it was mostly an excuse to get all of our friends together! I never expected any gifts but we did get some pretty fab bottles of wine so I would go with that!

  7. applesandglue says:

    I think you are very creative, I love ideas 1 and 2, and will have to remember that for the next time one of my friends gets engaged. I usually just buy a gift card lol!

  8. I love the wine and bridal magazine idea- seems like a good pair!
    I also buy the random gifts on the list. Ha-my last shower gift included onion cutting goggles (yes goggles) and a cutting board. They asked for it…

  9. Ahhh, the money making machines of weddings.
    I really think that engagement parties and gifts are a bit much when you also have a shower and wedding to attend. So with that notion, my vote would be to keep it simple.
    Maybe a card and a few bridal magazines or a card and some vino. It lets the bride know that you are thinking of her without breaking the bank. Win, win.

  10. Well, we didn’t receive any engagement gifts (a few cards), but I would have been happy to receive any of those! That being said, if it’s not your BFF, it doesn’t really seem necessary. Every bride-to-be loves a bridal mag and bottle of wine though, so I’d go that route. Save the super cute creativity for the bridal shower. 🙂

  11. According to the Post Etiquette book, you do not give gifts at engagement parties. Just the showers and the wedding. We didn’t get any gifts at our engagement party and I didn’t expect any. The engagement party is a chance for the family and friends of the couple to meet.

  12. Abbie says:

    I really like the first three ideas! Maybe one at one party, one at another, etc.??

    When we were married last year, we loved getting Home Depot gift cards and used all of them. However, I think there is nothing better than a gift that says “I actually thought about something to give you rather than just a gift card!”

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