Affordable Gift Ideas for an Engagement Party | Expenses

After two years of suspending large social gatherings, weddings are back. Nearly 2.5 million couples will marry this year and 2.2 million couples will marry next year – up from 2.1 million in 2019 – according to The Wedding Report.

As exciting as it is to celebrate loved ones falling in love, it also comes at a price. A Knot Survey found that the average cost of being a guest at a wedding was $460 – with average expenses reaching $660 for guests who drove to an out-of-town wedding and $1,270 for guests who traveled to a wedding by plane. With inflation continuing to drive up prices in all sectors, these expenses could continue to increase.

Of course, many weddings are associated with additional events, including bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners. Before all that, however, comes the engagement party.

If you’re concerned about the expense associated with all of these events, you can skip the engagement gift altogether.

“You don’t have to bring a gift to an engagement party,” says Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol. “It’s most definitely a thoughtful expression towards the couple, but it’s not required.”
That said, if you want to bring a gift to an upcoming engagement party, consider the following to stretch your budget a little further:

  • Be personal. Etsy is a great source for gifts like personalized mugs, engraved cutting boards, and monogrammed coasters. Costs vary from store to store, but options like a sweatshirt embroidered with the couple’s names or a holiday ornament painted with the couple’s engagement date cost around $20.

  • Use the price filter on their registry. Many online registries allow you to sort the list by price category. Consider buying a few small items from the registry and packing them together.

    “Put it in a basket and make it fun,” says Marilyn Anderson, author of “How to Live Like a Millionaire When You’re Short of a Million.”

  • Enter with a group. If you have a group of friends or other family members attending the engagement party, pooling your resources can allow you to purchase a larger gift for the couple. Apps like Venmo or Zelle make it easy to raise funds from those who want to contribute, even if you’re not in the same location.

  • Give them something for their wedding. The engagement party usually comes early in the wedding planning process. The couple may appreciate something they can use at the wedding itself, such as an attendance book, cake knife, or champagne flutes.

    “These little things really add up for couples,” says Katy Turchich-Martin, owner of Coastal Coordinating in Florida.

  • Use discounted gift cards. Websites like Raise and CardCash let you buy gift cards on sale. For example, CardCash was recently offering Sur La Table gift cards at more than 10% off. You can either give the gift card directly to the couple as a gift or use it yourself to purchase an item for them.

Joseph K. Bennett