WIBU not to get them an engagement present?

(86 Posts)
bt1978 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:31:09

A couple DH and I are related to got engaged and had a party. It was in an ordinary hotel, not fancy, but a nice teatime do. We were invited 3 days before the event via Facebook.

We have been related to them for only a few years since it is due to a second marriage in the wider family, and although we are similar in age we do not socialise with them and only see them at random family events.

The above may or may not be relevant...it is just background info.

Anyway, it has been brought to our attention that we were the only people not to give an engagement gift. We took a card. Apparently that wasn't enough!
We will be getting them a wedding gift, unless we have now been struck off the invite list.

Do people give gifts at these things?

Would you expect an engagement gift?

Is it not unbelievably bad manners to even remark on the absence of a present?

This has pissed us off, quite frankly, and I wonder if we were being unreasonable....

jacks365 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:34:39

It is bad manners to mention the lack of gift but it's also bad manners to turn up empty handed. You would have been better not attending and just posting a card.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:36:42

I wouldn't consider having an engagement party myself, purely because I would hate people to think we expected gifts. I think some people throw parties just because they want presents these days!!

I find the whole thing very tacky hmm

When I got engaged I had a few cards off a few people and that was absolutely fine. Why should people be given a present just because they got engaged??

Wedding gifts - yes.
Engagement gifts - no!

FatPenguin Tue 10-Sep-13 19:38:48

I wouldn't have taken a gift, just a card. But then I don't understand the need for an engagement party.
Did they comment on the lack of gift to you personally or is this something you heard through the grapevine?

DoctorRobert Tue 10-Sep-13 19:39:13

it wouldn't occur to me to get somebody an engagement gift. card yes, gift no.

we didn't get given any engagement gifts but then we didn't have a party

SunshineMMum Tue 10-Sep-13 19:39:33

YANBU a wedding present yes, but to actually expect an engagement gift seems a bit much.

NightScentedStock Tue 10-Sep-13 19:40:38

I think expecting a gift for an engagement party is a bit odd.
I wouldn't expect a gift upon engagement hut would be very touched if people sent cards.
I think it's bad manners to remark on the abscencevof apresent.

sooperdooper Tue 10-Sep-13 19:42:28

jacks they didn't turn up empty handed, I think a card is fine!

Incredibly rude of them to have mentioned this, how have you found out about this? I can't stand people who expect gifts, no matter what the occasion, plain rude

maddy68 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:45:25

Yes it is the done thing to take a gift

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 19:47:57

If I was invited to anything, dinner, lunch, birthday party, I would take something.

RenterNomad Tue 10-Sep-13 19:48:47

FGS, the invitation was late and casually-delivered enough to make it an imposition to sort out a present as well.

If it was the couple who complained, I'm surprised they weren't embarrassed to look so grabby!

If it was an older relative, could it be family politics about the recently blended families?

Writerwannabe83 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:49:13

You take a present for someone who invites you out for dinner??

jacks365 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:50:15

If it had been say a housewarming party would you deem a card sufficient or would you also take a bottle for example. I wouldn't attend an event/party without a gift for the host/hostess. Personally I think engagement parties are unnecessary but I wouldn't attend and not take a gift.

SeaSickSal Tue 10-Sep-13 19:50:19

It is the done thing to take a gift if you attend the party.

I think engagement parties are a bit of an anachronism though.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 10-Sep-13 19:50:59

People expect engagement gifts now? You already get wedding gifts, wtf do engagement gifts consist of? Is there no end to this money spending?

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 19:51:43

If I went to someone's house for dinner I'd take something. If I was invited to a restaurant I wouldn't. Except this was a special occasion so yes, I would take something for the happy couple.

superbagpuss Tue 10-Sep-13 19:51:59

I think you anbu

we had an engagement party for many reasons and I was really surprised to get presents

we just had a garden party, nothing big and it was a good celebration

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 10-Sep-13 19:51:59

If you're invited along to mark an occasion, you take a gift.

AmpullaOfVater Tue 10-Sep-13 19:52:07

Very bad mannered to comment on lack of gift!

I don't think I've ever been to an engagement party, I think I'd probably have done the same thing - take a nice card, maybe buy the couple a round of drinks, and expect to buy a present for the actual wedding.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:52:16

What does anachronism mean?? grin x

bt1978 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:52:28

I won't say exactly how I found out because it might identify me...but a parent of the engaged couple made it known to one of our parents.

I do get that when someone invites you to something you don't go empty handed...but honestly i thought the card would have been sufficient.

I thought they might have been satisfied with everyone's presence at such short notice.

Ho hum

elcranko Tue 10-Sep-13 19:54:34

I probably would have taken something, maybe a nice bottle of wine or something but I don't think YWBU for not doing so. A card is fine!

They should have just been grateful that you attended to celebrate with them- isn't that the point of an engagement party? To point out that you didn't bring a gift is not only rude but also makes me think that part of the reason they had the party was to receive gifts.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 19:54:56

In the greater scheme of things OP, I wouldn't worry.

FriskyHenderson Tue 10-Sep-13 19:56:56

Did you even have time to get a present?

mrspaddy Tue 10-Sep-13 19:59:47

I don't really agree with engagement parties as such.. around here it tends to be 'lets meet for a few drinks' so no present expected.

However, I do tend to get a token for most people who get engaged - purely because I want to - I would hate to think I have to.

I would have brought something to the party but am shocked that they even mentioned it to anyone!!! It says a lot about them.

Don't worry about it at all.

Furthermore - how are they to know you have something ordered - I would be ashamed.

BarbarianMum Tue 10-Sep-13 20:01:18

We had a party (friends not family) to celebrate our engagement. It honestly never occurred to us to expect a gift. Happily it didn't occur to any of our guests either. We did receive a few cards though.

OP if you are UK based YANBU - I've never heard of engagement presents and don't believe the practice is widespread. No idea about customs in other countries though.

BlueStones Tue 10-Sep-13 20:02:32

I might have taken a small box of chocolates just to say thanks for the invite, but I wouldn't give an engagement present. Though in my family circle people get engaged and the de-engaged in an endless cycle, so I don't take engagement announcements that seriously until a wedding venue is booked.

Rude of them to mention it to you, for sure.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Tue 10-Sep-13 20:05:18

It wouldn't occur to me if I was invited on facebook three days before, that a gift was expected. And I wouldn't turn up to a hotel with a present like chocolates or wine, to me those are more the kind of thing you take to someone's house to thank them for hosting.

Very rude of them to mention it, anyway.

MissStrawberry Tue 10-Sep-13 20:09:57

I think engagement parties are tacky and there is no good reason to have one.

omwards Tue 10-Sep-13 20:13:22

What's next, an engagement shower?

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 10-Sep-13 20:15:07

If it wasn't them saying that it could be a parent taking umbridge on their behalf or similar madness.

I would only have taken a card, no idea what kind of gift you would give for engagement!

YWNBU. I think if it's in a hotel then I'd have brought a card and offered to buy them both a drink.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 10-Sep-13 20:16:06

People get more and more grabby. We just went to the pub.

BarbarianMum Tue 10-Sep-13 20:16:17

<<I think engagement parties are tacky and there is no good reason to have one.>>

I'm a bit puzzled by this. What makes them tackier than any other party? As for the good reason, well an engagement is generally something to be celebrated and anyway who needs a reason to throw a party?

Bit qworried I've missed out on some massive bit of etiquette here.

Nanny0gg Tue 10-Sep-13 20:28:32

Surely if you attend a party which is in celebration of something (anniversary, birthday, engagement etc), you take a present?

Don't you?

AnnaRack Tue 10-Sep-13 20:28:34

Three days isn't enogh notice if gifts are expected, so they are being greedy. Be warned - they will expect you to spend £££££££ at their wedding - now's the time to think how much you want to spend.

GaryBuseysTeeth Tue 10-Sep-13 20:35:00

What the Jeff is an engagement present? Balls to them.

Barbarian, personally I think engagement parties are a silly idea because it's not an 'event', it's just a stage you go through before you get married.
But them I'm the least romantic person in the world who dislikes weddings.

Yanbu OP.

RenterNomad Tue 10-Sep-13 20:54:07

I knew parents would be involved or stirring aunts and uncles

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 10-Sep-13 21:44:52

There's some right misery guts here!

I've been to loads of engagement things, it is very much something to celebrate!

pigletmania Wed 11-Sep-13 00:05:29

Yanbu, a card is fine given the informal nature of te invite and at such short notice! If they did complain they are looks very grabby, or your sakes hope tat your not invited to the wedding!

MidniteScribbler Wed 11-Sep-13 00:13:00

I would always take a gift to an engagement party.

Although the latest trend here is wishing wells for engagement parties. ::hoicks judgy pants::

You were informed via the older generation, I wonder if the umbrage comes from them as well, rather than from the engaged couple? I am an old gimmer, so many of my friends got engaged over thirty years ago. Back then an engagement party and gifts were the norm, but I have to say that the gifts were fairly token, e.g. teatowels; the sort of thing that could be placed in the 'bottom drawer'.

I was under the impression that the tradition of engagement presents had waned. After all, the 'bottom drawer' was meant to be stuff you were setting aside for your new household; because of course, both parties lived with their parents until their wedding day then.

SenoritaViva Wed 11-Sep-13 02:38:36

I think they are very rude for saying something frankly. I'd say any gifts were a luxury /bonus. I'd be peeved too.

goodasgold Wed 11-Sep-13 02:47:39


Who gets engaged for the goddamn presents?

LouiseD29 Wed 11-Sep-13 04:03:47

Engagement gifts wouldn't occur to me! We had a big engagement drinks party and no one got us a gift. Some people brought cards. But very bad form of them to keep track of gifts or even expect them. YANBU

redexpat Wed 11-Sep-13 07:42:59

I wouldn't have thought to take a gift. I'd have taken a card though like you. Perhaps it's just one of those things that depends on what circles you move in. Do you know if the couple were miffed, or if it was their parents?

RaspberrySnowCone Wed 11-Sep-13 07:50:12

I've never and would never buy someone an engagement gift. People really are grabby these days. Why does getting engaged deserve a gift FFS? If they aren't close I wouldn't bother with the wedding either OP, the fact that your lack of gift has been mentioned would make my blood boil.

moustachio Wed 11-Sep-13 07:54:09

I wouldn't of taken a present unless they were close friends. Weddings are for presents (bit like baby shower vs having an actual baby!).

I would of taken some cheap champagne or something though as a token. I hate going empty handed and you could of stopped off at a supermarket on the way!

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Wed 11-Sep-13 07:57:42

I personally just wouldn't have gone to the party if I'd been invited 3 days before via FB as it was obviously an afterthought.

However, if I did go, yes I would've taken a small gift, although nothing expensive.

IloveJudgeJudy Wed 11-Sep-13 08:01:04

I was a bit irritated with a relative of mine who had an engagement party. We were quite strapped at the time. It is not the norm in our family to have engagement party. We did not get a thank you card. The couple broke up, but the girl (my relative) kept everything (including the engagement ring!).

MissManaged Wed 11-Sep-13 08:02:36

Engagement gifts are something which only parents of the couple would give, in my experience.

Perhaps this is a new wave of preciousness which is logically following on the heels of wedding gift lists and the preciousness which seems to surround so many weddings.

I don't think you were in the wrong, OP, and would also find it very bad mannered that the subject was even mentioned.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 11-Sep-13 08:05:20

It's always polite to take a gift if you are being hosted, but considering you weren't formally invited and all you got was a Facebook invitation a couple of days before the event, a box of chocolates or a bottle of bubbly would have been appropriate.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 11-Sep-13 08:06:00

The Wedding is the event to be celebrated, not the engagement!!
The engagement is just the start of the process.

What's next? Conception Parties because that is the 'event' that begins the process of a new baby being born?

MrsMook Wed 11-Sep-13 08:06:33

I'd have done the same as the OP.

Out of the umpteen weddings I've been to, only one was preceeded by an engagement party. There were gifts there- seem to remember a list so we got one, and they were a very young couple who were preparing to live together.

Generally when most people live together, what kind of present would be expected? Household items, you'd expect for the wedding. It's not a personal item like a birthday present. It's not a bottle of wine for hosting. It's not a box of chocolates type thing is it? (Genuinely doesn't know ettiquette)

sounds like the parents are the offended party, rather than the couple.

Never heard of an engagement gift.

Where will it end? First shag present?

MaxPepsi Wed 11-Sep-13 08:14:11

I wouldn't have taken a gift. No matter how long I'd known about the party/celebration.
A card yes, present no.

In fact I tend to find myself busy for engagement parties, for me they are a bad omen and tacky. Mainly due to the fact everyone I know who's had one has split up/divorced/never actually managed to get married.

peggyundercrackers Wed 11-Sep-13 08:15:13

yes I would have taken a gift - its expected where I live, its what everyone does if the people have a party however if you don't have a party then people don't expect gifts.

Osmiornica Wed 11-Sep-13 08:16:29

I had an engagement party but didn't expect and didn't get any gifts. It was a good excuse for a party and getting all our friends together. I've never been to a family one though so not sure if I'd have taken something.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 11-Sep-13 08:16:49

Good point Max,

I went to an engagement party just over 3 years ago for my friend and her new fiancée.

Since then I have met a guy, married him and am now pregnant with our first baby.

My friend has still not got round to getting married.... hmm

Writerwannabe83 Wed 11-Sep-13 08:20:05

The term 'getting engaged' doesn't seem to mean much these days. I have known people be engaged for years and years, no intention of setting a date or anything like that....so I ask? What was the point? Perhaps they just wanted a Grabby Party....

I love that the em whoever came up with it!! grin

firesidechat Wed 11-Sep-13 08:26:45

If a friend or relative just announced their engagement then I wouldn't get a present, but would get a card.

If they went to the trouble of having a "do" and I was invited then I would buy them a present. It seems like the right thing to do.

firesidechat Wed 11-Sep-13 08:29:42

Oh, I probably ought to add that I don't think I've actually been to an engagement party, so it's all a bit academic really.

wigglesrock Wed 11-Sep-13 08:32:01

I've always brought something small to an engagement party. I've only been to a few, not everyone I know has them. When I say small I mean like a £10 photoframe. I got engaged 16 years ago and didn't have a party but I was surprised to get a few presents mostly from my Mums friends.

I don't think engagement parties are tacky and if they are they are exceptionally less grabby than housewarming parties.

flowery Wed 11-Sep-13 08:47:36

I think an engagement party at a hotel is a bit over the top.

I think engagement presents are over the top and unnecessary.

However I think if someone invites you to a party to celebrate an event, you bring a gift.

Kerosene Wed 11-Sep-13 08:50:34

I think a card is more than sufficient, particularly for people you don't know well. Assuming it was a Friday night thing, you were invited on what, Wednesday? That's not a great deal of time to actually get out to the shops and buy something.

Short notice, acquaintances rather than friends, complaining after the fact? Sounds grabby.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 11-Sep-13 08:52:06

wiggles - do people actually expect gifts at house warming parties?? Jesus! grin That is mental!!

Taking a bottle of wine is one thing, seeing as you are probably going to be drinking it yourself anyway, but to buy the people a gift? I would never do that smile

wigglesrock Wed 11-Sep-13 08:55:54

Yup, those bloody orchids in pots were solely invented for it smile

SockQueen Wed 11-Sep-13 08:57:04

I've never got anyone an engagement gift, and nobody got us one, though we did get lots of lovely cards. YANBU.

CaptainUndercrackers Wed 11-Sep-13 08:58:57

Engagement parties and presents seem a bit old fashioned to me. It wasn't the couple that mentioned the lack of gift though, was it? It was one of their parents. I suspect there's a generation gap thing going on - the parents still expected gifts as that's how it was done 'in their day'. I bet the couple didn't mind at all about the lack of gift.

jacks365 Wed 11-Sep-13 09:01:28

Writerwannabe I'd class a bottle of wine as a gift. It's still something you give.

flipchart Wed 11-Sep-13 09:01:50

I would have taken a card and a bottle of champagne tbh.

All those saying no time for a present and they only found out 3 days before the event, well in 3 days MOST (OK not all before you jump on me) can find the time to go to Asda, Tesco, whatever or pass an Offie to get a bottle.

Whether it was expected or not is irrelevant, I would have felt uncomfortable turning up with just a card to a celebration.

Hegsy Wed 11-Sep-13 09:08:31

We had an engagement party, it made more sense I worked 2 jobs at the time so trying to arrange time off for celebration drinks with our different groupsi.e work colleagues who enjoy a piss up, my parents who love going out for meals etc, inlaws who do nothing social EVER hmm was a nightmare, it just became easier to organise a party. Anyone that asked we told them no gifts, we still ended up with loads and we were very appreciative but one of the favourite things we got was a card that had been made with our names printed and pop out decoration(cannot remeber what its called!) a lot of time and effort clearly went into it and we still have it now.

OP YANBU I'd rather have a nice thoughtful card than engagement 'tat' anyday!

festered Wed 11-Sep-13 09:47:18

It's a bit short notice to arrange a gift.

galletti Wed 11-Sep-13 09:52:31

I would have taken a gift to the engagement party.

However, I would never expect a present/comment on anyone who did not bring a gift.

flipchart Wed 11-Sep-13 09:59:11

festered What? Too short notice to nip into Tesco express and buy a bottle of champers!!
Don't be daft, nobody saying you have to go out and get a Denby tea set or anything.
I would have just got a token gift.

Calloh Wed 11-Sep-13 10:00:10

I definitely do not think it is the done thing to take a gift to an engagement party.

Engagement parties are often drinks parties, although here there was a meal.

I think it is decidedly infra-dig to expect a present at such a function especially when one would presumably accept that guests may give presents at a wedding. And then to circulate that someone was the only guest who did not bring a gift is really vulgar.


Calloh Wed 11-Sep-13 10:02:45

I would however take a card (as you did) and would write and thank them for inviting me to a party as I would to any hosts of any wedding or party to which I had been invited.

MotherofBear Wed 11-Sep-13 10:16:08

What kind of gift would be acceptable to give at an engagement party?

I wouldn't have thought of giving a gift, I would have a made a card and taken that. If the party had been hosted at their house, I would have brought a bottle of something, but not to a party at an hotel.

YeahWhat Wed 11-Sep-13 10:21:51

I would have taken a card and, possibly, paid for some drinks or a bottle of wine or champagne at the hotel. I wouldn't have bought a present and it wouldn't have worried me if I didn't get wine or champagne at the hotel.


I have recently got engaged and it never occurred to me that people might give me presents. we got lots of lovely cards instead. the only present we got was from an old friend of my mum's who sent me a tea towel in the post because "a new bride can never have enough tea towels" which I thought was brilliant! smile

celticclan Wed 11-Sep-13 11:51:09

When we got engaged I was really surprised when the gifts started rolling in, I wasn't expecting any. We announced our engagement at a family gathering for my 21st birthday there was no separate engagement party.

A few of my relatives invited us to their engagement dinners (guests paid for themselves), I bought them each a small gift. Perhaps it was a little rude of you to go empty handed but it was ruder of your relative to tell people that you didn't bring a gift.

flowery Wed 11-Sep-13 11:57:58

"If the party had been hosted at their house, I would have brought a bottle of something, but not to a party at an hotel."

Interesting - I would have thought the opposite. A hotel do is more of a big deal and more formal and more expensive than a gathering at home, so a present more appropriate there imo.

Not that presents should be 'payment' for attendance at something in any way, just that it feels more appropriate to give a present in those circumstances really.

WentOnABearHunt Wed 11-Sep-13 12:21:57

not unreasonable at all!

i do think that facebook invites to 'formal' events are though!

gosh, i would never expect a present! my OH and I dont even want presents for our wedding later in the year - we just want our friends and family to come and have fun!

Maryann1975 Wed 11-Sep-13 13:24:40

When we got engaged, MIL was annoyed as we didn't want a party in the grotty social club round the corner from her house. A lot of her friends children had already had engagement parties and she thought we were missing out on gifts from all her friends when she had bought for all their children.
We didn't have a party and missed out on countless tea towels etc because of this. I'm still not convinced we missed out. We had a lovely wedding though, which is more than BIL who did have engagement party and then separated before the wedding date was even booked.

cantthinkofagoodone Wed 11-Sep-13 13:32:54

You can give a gift if you wish but this isn't necessary. It was very bad mannered to mention it to someone that you hadn't bought a gift and is indeed grabby.

I can understand a wedding gift to set you up for married life but don't entirely understand the point of an engagement present, unless its champagne or something.

We did receive engagment presents and vouchers from DH's family friends but they always send gifts and I've never met them.

Summerblaze Wed 11-Sep-13 13:38:46

I had an engagement party. I was only 19 and we weren't planning on getting married for a few years so we had a party. We did get presents which was lovely but not from everyone. I was not one bit bothered as they came to celebrate with us. Most who didn't buy us a gift for our engagement bought us a wedding gift.

However, I would always take something to any party even if its just a bottle of wine or chocs.

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